January is over now – the time for hibernation is past. The days are getting imperceptivity lighter. The sun is rising fractionally a little more to the east every morning now. Its time to shake off the winter covers and get moving again.

Its a little early for New Year it not falling on the 21st March of course (Bloody Pagans – Ed) but I’ve formed a few resolutions that I intend to keep this and every year from now on.

1. ‘Spend less than you earn’ – So obvious it’s almost painful, yet it’s taken me till recently to realise this is an effective way to some sort of freedom. I’ve put it in quote marks to show these are not my words. They appear all over the Financial Blogoshpere so any one could lay claim to them. It doesn’t matter anyway as they are simply a distillation of the Micawber Principle, viz:-

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

2. Invest the Rest – notice I say ‘invest’ not ‘save’. Saving is merely deferred spending in that you have a bit more control over when the money leaves your hands. Its better to have some savings rather than none of course, as a bit of unallocated cash in reserve gives you some power and control when faced with life’s little quirks. But savings on their own aren’t going to free you from the yoke. I’ll explore this area in detail another day. Investing on the other hand may bring freedom closer, as investing is intended to achieve greater returns on your money, albeit at great risk of losing every penny so allocated.

3. Reduce the amount of Stuff in your life. A personal bugbear of mine. Not only is the unconscious consumption of tat draining your wallet and the planet’s limited resources, but so much of it comes either with built in obsolescence, or requires constant feeding in the form of subscriptions, updates or maintenance. Better to reduce the amount of stuff in the first place. All this drains your energy. You can extend this to relationships as well if you like – better to have a few deep meaningful real relationships than constantly reacting to the trolls that follow your internet profiles.

4. Look after what you have. Having reduced your Stuff to a few well-loved well used things, look after them. Something I have not been a shining practitioner of in the past. Find out how they work and how to keep them working.

5. Don’t rely on someone else to fix it for you. Get stuff sorted sooner rather than later. There’s an axiom in the business world about doing small jobs straight away, then getting them out of the way so they don’t clog up your brain. That goes for all aspects of life as well. Anticipate problems. Plan ahead and always, always have a Plan B.

6. Look after yourself. I realised I haven’t taken a single pill this year. Not even an aspirin. I appreciate I’m lucky enough not to have something serious wrong with me, of course, and I hope to continue that as long as I can help it. I think looking after your body is better than any medicine. Keep positive and a sense of humour. Keep active, everyday. Get some fresh air, even this time of year (clue – wear extra clothes), look after your teeth, your back, your insides. Don’t eat processed food – you never know what’s in it. Cut down on the booze and caffeine or at least switch to fewer servings of the decent stuff. Above all take time out for yourself.

That’s probably enough to be getting on with! Now, must go and lie down – they’re threatening snow again…

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