From fitness to finances: tips for New Year’s resolutions – Williston Daily Herald

Posted: January 5, 2020 at 5:46 am


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With the new year comes new attitudes for many, whether its to get in shape, work toward financial security or just clean up the house.

New Years resolutions are easy to make but not so easy to keep. Four out of every five resolutions will meet with failure by mid-February, according to author and speaker Joseph Luciani, a clinical psychologist and expert on the subject.

Unrealized resolutions can even be harmful, according to the American Psychological Association.

In addition to the post-holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions by February, March or even late January may increase your anxiety, the association says.

With that in mind, some local experts offer advice on how to approach fitness, money and organization goals in 2020.

More than 50% of New Years resolutions are fitness-related, but 88% of those resolutions ultimately fail, according to a study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman.

Finding a type of exercise thats enjoyable is the first step to making a long-term commitment toward better health, according to Miranda Klatt, owner of Fun Fit LLC in Mandan.

She recommends trying several different types of fitness classes during the start of the new year, when many gyms are offering deals to newcomers.

You might try something that youve never done before and fall in love with it, she said.

Klatt recommends that people view exercise not just as a means to lose weight, but to better their entire selves. People who enjoy exercise tend to naturally start eating better in order to improve performance, and they also start to look at other aspects of their health, such as spiritual and mental wellness, she said.

To those seeking advice on how to get started on a health and fitness regimen, she offers a simple yet powerful cliche.

Just do it, she said.

If your New Years resolution includes investing for retirement, starting out with a workable plan can be an important first step.

Pick two or three straightforward goals and stick with them, said Joe Heringer, financial adviser with American Trust Center.

That advice is especially important for someone who is just out of college or perhaps starting over on a retirement plan. Anyone at one of those stages should pay down debt, establish a budget and build an emergency fund that would cover six to 12 months of living expenses.

Investing for retirement takes discipline, but there are a number of options that can help a person even someone new to investing succeed, Heringer said. A target date retirement fund can take away some of the worry and decision-making. Using a persons age and projected retirement date, the fund is adjusted as time passes, going from higher risk at a young age to lower risk as the person nears retirement.

Contributing to that fund or any fund for that matter might best be done automatically. Setting up automatic transfers from a bank account to the investment account will help investing become a habit and also help a person avoid the highs and lows of the market.

Consolidating can be key for an investor who has more than one employer 401(k) after switching jobs over the years.

The fewer accounts, the better, Heringer said.

He also suggests portfolio reviews every six months or annually, to monitor progress and provide an opportunity for changes. The stock market was strong in 2019, for example, so an established investor might find during a review that the stock portion has grown more quickly than expected and the portfolio is out of balance.

To be successful at investing whether its a resolution or not stick with sound investing and saving principles and stay away from get rich quick schemes, Heringer said. Any financial decision should be based on facts, not emotions.

Form a long-term strategy and stick to it, he said. When you go through the rough times in life, remember why you formed the strategy.

Whatever that strategy is, time is an investors best friend.

The sooner you start, the longer the power of compound interest can work for you, he said.

The foundation of long-term investing habits starts with a good first year, Heringer said.

Stick with it through a year, form good habits, then readjust, he said.

Professional organizer Laura Suchy of Mandan has a message for people looking to organize their homes in the new year: start small.

Start with something easy like a linen closet or a utility drawer in the kitchen, said the owner of Kick the Klutter, who works primarily with families in Bismarck and Mandan.

Tackling too big a space or beginning in the wrong spot like an attic or garage where families tend to store more sentimental items can be overwhelming and discourage a person from continuing.

Its best to create a home for each individual item to get it off a countertop or work space, and make it a point to return items to those places so they dont float around, Suchy said. A utensil drawer organizer might be a good option for organizing smaller items such as nail clippers, but she warns not to go overboard purchasing new containers and organizing supplies before first getting rid of unnecessary items.

Make sure you always have an outgoing area for things that are leaving your life, she said.

As families purchase new items, they should make an ongoing effort to donate or get rid of older ones they no longer use, she said. People should be deliberate about the items they opt to keep out in the open.

You need to be able to look around your space and appreciate what surrounds you, Suchy said.

If, say, a mom or dad wants to keep the house organized as a New Years resolution, enlist the help of each family member in the process so each takes some responsibility, she said. Family members should talk together about how to create a system that works for their home.

Suchy suggests that families consider hiring a professional if theyre struggling to figure out where to begin or how to get started organizing. People who cant afford to pay for such a service can invite a friend over to help them see their space from a different perspective, she said.

Some of her clients want a picture perfect house, like the kind photographed for magazines or on Pinterest or Instagram. Thats often unrealistic, she said.

Decluttering a space is just one step in staying organized. People also need to change habits and grow accustomed to putting items back in their place after use.

Any step toward getting better organized is a step in the right direction, Suchy said. Make a long-term commitment to create a routine for yourself.

Tribune writers Travis Svihovec, Amy Sisk and Bilal Suleiman contributed to this story.

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From fitness to finances: tips for New Year's resolutions - Williston Daily Herald

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January 5th, 2020 at 5:46 am

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