Taking Care of Yourself & Getting Organized in 2022

Dec 29, 2021

Big news, Team! You don’t have to wait until January 1 to start taking care of yourself! Because that’s what personal finance work really ought to feel like: self-care, not a punishment. There are only two days left until the New Year. If the significance of that date helps you get organized, great! But it can also be important and liberating to decouple our goal start dates from the first of the month or even the year. Why not get started today? Let’s take a deep breath, fix up a mug of whatever your favorite warm drink is, and let’s get into it:

Figure out YOUR 2022 goals.

As we head into the New Year, there’s probably going to be a big old flood of information and suggestions about what you *need* to do to live your best 2022 life. And great! Cool! Thanks for the suggestions, World. I think sometimes too much info can gum up the works, though. What are your individual goals for 2022? Are you focused on crushing debt more than you are about saving for a particular project or investing? That’s okay! Maybe go through your IG feed and see what you can do to specifically curate the best possible social media advice to suit your needs. To quote a great post on @thebrokeblackgirl (whom you should totally follow), “Avoid information overload to avoid confusion.”

Don’t be afraid of New Year’s Eve FOMO.

If you’re like me, the holidays can be pretty overwhelming financially. Between gift giving and increasing friend/family outings, my budget is always out of whack in December. Sometimes our brains create a “free-for-all” mentality around the holidays before a Culturally Recognized “Reset” on January 1. But you’re doing your future self a big favor by continuing to be mindful about spending and experiences during this chunk of time. Did you have a really spend-happy Christmas? Awesome! Maybe spend NYE at home with a cup of cocoa and a favorite streaming service. Avoid the literal AND financial hangovers!

You don’t have to buy That New Shiny Thing to solve all your problems.

Okay, if you have a second, please enjoy one of my favorite CollegeHumor sketches of all time. If you don’t have time, no worries! Let’s break it down:

There’s a lot of pressure at the start of the year to BUY in order to earn your “new start.” But this can lead us to subscriptions and memberships which we’re not even using in a few months, you know? And no shame, we’ve all been there. But, for example, if you’re thinking exercising might be a new or renewed goal for you in 2022, why not give yourself a month of walking in your neighborhood or watching free YouTube fitness videos before committing to a gym membership? Maybe you’re looking to organize your living space this year! Try starting by getting rid of things you don’t currently use before you start investing in new fancy kitchen items. (I understand the temptation, though, believe me.)

Get back in touch with your “Why.”

I know it’s that weird liminal space between holidays and it can be really tempting to give up on goals until January 1. But I think there’s a middle ground. Like, yeah, it’s colder and darker out there, so it’s so okay to get your fancy holiday coffee drink an extra day this week, but also remember: Past-You made your goals for a reason and none of those reasons were to deprive or punish you. Past-You doesn’t have it out for Present and Future-You, so do yourselves a solid and get back in touch with the “why” of all your finance goals. 

Extend the timeline.

Look, I personally don’t do my best thinking when I’m still in a haze of gingerbread cookies and post-holiday ennui. So, don’t put pressure on yourself to have everything figured out by January 1. See what it would feel like to take the entire month of January to slowly and deliberately get clarity on what you want to accomplish this year and what sort of plans you can make to get yourself there. 

In short: Happy almost New Year, friends! You are magical and worthy of all your dreams. Fix a snack and go for it.

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