How Not to Go Overboard This Year

For years, I used to make elaborate lists of things I wanted to accomplish each year. The idea was to totally reform my life in 12 months. Of course, while some people can manage it, there are plenty of others who cannot. Indeed, my various goals, in various aspects of my life, were so numerous and so unrealistic that I often lost heart by March, and gave it up.

Now, though, I’m more about not going overboard in any area of my life. From setting goals to getting too bogged down with things to do, I try to keep a happy medium. Here is what I do to keep from going overboard — and it can work for you, too:


Figure Out What’s Most Important

Your first step, no matter what you want to do in life, and what your focus is, is to figure out what’s most important. Stop and prioritize the things in your life. The items most important in my life are my family, my career, helping others, my health, travel, and self improvement. I’ve got a few items that I think are “nice” and that I’d like to do, but these aren’t priorities. I rank these other items lower, and don’t fuss if I don’t get to them. I know that my family is very important, so, rather than trying to cram in one more thing, I consider the impact on my family, and it’s easier to drop something that is going to push me over the edge.

Learn to Say No

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your sanity is to learn how to say no. Sometimes you just have to say no. Say no to one more expensive purchase. Say no to one more pointless meeting. Sometimes, I have to say no to a trip, or to a lunch date because I have something else more important going on. It can be hard to say no — especially if you are used to feeling “busy” — but learning to say no can keep you from going overboard in your life.

Be Realistic

While it’s important to stretch yourself, you also need to be realistic. You probably won’t be able to pay off $40,000 of debt in the next six months. It’s probably too much to go from setting aside $200 a month for retirement to maxing out your 401(k) contribution in the coming year. It’s just not going to happen. Instead, you should be realistic about what you can accomplish. Set reasonable goals, and have reasonable expectations for yourself. You’ll feel better about your progress, and you’ll save yourself from going overboard and getting burned out.

It’s good to strive to improve, and to have high expectations for yourself. However, you don’t want to go overboard and stress yourself out. This is especially true if you want to maintain good family relationships. When you are stressed from going overboard, it impacts those around you, and can cause strain in your relationships.

Do yourself a favor this year. Step back, and avoid going overboard.

About the Author

Miranda writes about financial topics for several web sites. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds, and her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger, is available on Amazon.