The strategies that help us manage holiday shopping also help us achieve our goals for the new year. Make a gift list prior to shopping. Spend only what you can afford.
It’s not a bargain if it’s not on your list anyway. These popular shopping tips translate into new year strategies:
Know the end goal. Like a gift list, a goal list keeps you on track. But an effective gift list takes into account not just the items, but what the giver is trying to express through giving them. Likewise, an effective goal list gets to what is truly meaningful in the accomplishment of the task. Losing 10 pounds is a task, but the goal might be to make health a priority in 2009.
Prioritize. A gift budget ensures that you have enough to spend for everyone and that you don’t shortchange one person because you happened to get to them last and ran out of money. Likewise, budget your energy and focus among goals. If 2009 is for making health, finances, and career a priority, make sure you have some reasonable goals within each. If your health plan includes joining a gym, getting a trainer, starting a special diet and reading 10 new fitness books, you might be breaking the bank (and therefore going against your finance goal) or taking too much time from your other responsibilities (and therefore going against your career goal). Be realistic about what you can accomplish, and be prepared to pick and choose.
Remember price, cost and value. The price is set by the retailer. The cost is set by the market (for labor, for parts, etc). The value is set by YOU. Retailers heavily discount prices to attract the impulsive and undecided shopper. These prices may or may not reflect the retailers’ costs, but whether or not they reflect the item’s value is something that you do control. You cannot be impulsive or undecided about your new year goals. What are your values? Make 2009 an expression of what you value. Make it count.
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Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart a career coaching firm for Gen Y professionals. Formerly in corporate recruiting and retained search, Caroline has recruited for Accenture, Booz Allen, Citibank, Disney ABC, Oliver Wyman, Pfizer, and Time Inc. She currently writes career columns for Portfolio.com and Vault.com and teaches Professional Development at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
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