How to sort your life out in 2019: January life hacks
The Christmas tree dumped by the bins looks exactly like you feel. A broken, dying husk, compared to the vibrant and dazzling individual of mid-December.
You've just found a half-empty can of beer in the bathroom. It's as flat as the festive cheer.
It's probably raining.
2019 feels impossible to tackle in your current state.
So whether it's a new job or new relationship, our crack team of experts explain how to win the next 12 months.
Remember that promise you made about this being the year you were definitely, without a doubt, going to pull your finger out and get a new job? That was 2013.
Oh, but it's hard to look for another job when you're already working, you tell yourself. Again.
"Think about what do you want to be different. What do you want more of, what do you want less of?" asks Corinne Mills, joint managing director of Personal Career Management.
She says "just because it's a different job, it doesn't mean it's right".
Here are Corinne's top tips.
- Ask for advice and tell your boss you want to progress - it could lead to more opportunities without having to leave
- Put the hours in. If you want to get a new job, it takes time. Do research in your lunch-break, get your CV in order, work in the evenings
- DON'T apply for jobs if you haven't got the skills or experience - you're wasting your time
- DON'T just say things like: "I'm a great team player" - prove it. Use your CV to give examples of why you're a perfect match
- Pick a few jobs you really want and spend time making great applications. Don't just fire off loads without thought
If it's more cash you're after, Corinne says make sure you find out your "market worth". Do a search for "salary survey" which will show you average rates for what you do. That way, you can go to your boss with evidence of why you deserve a raise.
You can't even look at your credit card(s) without feeling slightly sick and clammy. Once again, Christmas has taken a wrecking ball to your finances and left your account in tatters.
You wish one-click ordering had never been invented.
So it's back to basics.
"When people are exercising, they count the calories in and out - your finances are exactly the same," says Colin McDermott who runs the personal finance blog dumbfunded.co.uk.
He says it's never been easier to keep track of how much you're spending, thanks to new tech.
"There are banking apps that show your spending in real time.
"Barclays recently introduced a 'blocker' that you can set up to stop you spending on things like gambling or online shopping," Colin adds.
Try to start saving towards a rainy day fund.
"If you lose your job, or you have to spend lots on your car, you've got enough cash to tide you over for one or two months," says Colin.
But don't just sit there waiting for a new job.
"There are loads of ways you can start making money in just a matter of minutes," says Colin.
'If you've got an interest, jump on it and you could soon be earning," is his key bit of advice.
As an example, he mentions apps that pay you just for uploading photos of job adverts you spot while out and about.
"Start blogging about what you love, use social media and streaming," Colin suggests. Advertisers could come knocking.
Your love life
You counted down to the new year, looked in your partner's eyes and then felt awkward as the elephant over in the corner of the room started trumpeting.
Or maybe, you looked around at all the happy couples and tried to work out why you still have to pull a cracker on your own.
DON'T PANIC. It's totally normal to feel weird about your love life at this time of year.
"They don't call it the January blues for nothing," says relationship therapist Clare Prendergast.
"We're stuck inside the same building for days, with the same people, who we're supposed to love. And it's hard," she points out.
Normalise the situation, don't jump to conclusions.
"Give yourself time," suggests Clare. "Get back in a routine, do some exercise, start eating vegetables again."
If things in your relationship still don't feel right, maybe it's time to have a chat - but Clare warns about steaming in.
"Don't just pour out all of your anxieties. Talk about what this relationship means for you, where do you see this going?"
If couples think they've got things tough - it can be a rubbish time of year to be single too.
"We tend to think about relationships as something we have with another person - and actually we're not fit for that until we've cultivated the relationship with ourselves," says Clare.
"Spend January thinking: 'I matter, I'm a catch.' Be lovely to yourself, that'll make you feel better.
"There's nothing wrong with being single. For some people it's required so they can work out what their priorities are, who they are, what they're about."
FOMOMG (Fear of Missing Out On My Goals)
We can all say we're going to skateboard backwards up Everest.
Actually doing it is an another thing entirely.
You're probably going at it all wrong, according to life coach Ali Campbell.
"Get clear on what you actually want - not what you think you should want," he says.
Ali suggests breaking it down into three categories.
- Something you really want to be - this could be an emotion
- Something you really want to do - like a physical activity
- Something you really want to have - a possession
"Most importantly, write them down. That's how you commit to them. But don't share them with others, keep your goals private," insists Ali.
Just as important - don't give yourself a timescale. You're just adding unnecessary pressure.
"Most people massively overestimate what they can do in a month and massively underestimate what they can do in a year," according to Ali.
"A year's actually quite a long time. It's far better to aim for small steps over the year than trying to achieve everything in a month."