As we make our way into the second weekend of 2016, reflections of 2015 occurred among us with a resolve to excel further. What do we want to aim for this year, what have we learned in the past?  In our typical crowdsourcing fashion, our team at Funding Societies collated seven of our most compelling resolutions for the year. For your benefit, we are sharing all of these with you!

1. Surround yourself with awesome, high-calibre people

 “You’re the average of the 5 people you spend most time with” – Jim Rohn

For us to truly become better at what we do, peer influence plays a big role. We have consistently found that being immersed in an environment where people are smart and driven rubs off on ourselves. The reverse applies as well. If folks around you are being cynical, negative or simply lazy, the energy spreads contagiously across the peer group. As a result, make this year one of your best by selecting to be part of groups that motivate the best actions from you. Carpe diem!

2. Make time for yourself to do what you love every day

If you are in love with your job and life – days pass by blissfully, the sun seems to be shining perennially, rainy days become wet moments to cherish, irritating colleagues appear cute instead…you get the idea. However, not all of us can easily achieve such levels of happiness on a constant basis. Our frustrations can stem from multiple sources, sometimes all at once!

Frustrations can stem from many places, so can happiness and love. We have to consciously cultivate these, and thus recommend making time for yourself to do what you love. Yoga, running, reading, playing with your kids, meeting someone new, hiking, growing a side project – all of us have some things which simply bring cheer into our lives. Identify these and make time for them every day if possible. The positive energy from activities you love will seep into other areas of your life, and all days will have an element of joy from your indulgence in what you love doing.

3. Rethink your asset utilization strategy

Being steeped in the world of finance, we have observed several trends, largely leveraging technology’s prowess. In this post, we do not want to advocate the use of this-tool-or-that. Rather, at a meta-level, we highly recommend looking at how you can upgrade your investment strategies and consumption of data to inform your investments. Chat groups on your mobile phone, apps which give you real-time updates of your favoured tickers, new robo-advisor investment platforms and even entirely new technologies that have manifested in the form of cryptocurrencies – all of these are worthy of your consideration.

Let’s take a snapshot of today: Your investment portfolio is probably tanking. From the start of the year, most markets have taken a plunge due to China’s economy. While the country’s government strives to enact stimulus plans, you might have observed the sentiment around recovery is not entirely positive for the year. As a result, borrowing from Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits, time is ripe to further sharpen your saw. Should your assets be devoted to stocks these days, or is it an opportune time to re-allocate your funds to promising alternative investments?

4. Automate your savings (and investments), managing expenses in what remains

An age-old wisdom from the book called the ‘Richest Man in Babylon’ teaches us to split our income into many portions to live in a way that guarantee ourselves a good life. In current times, you can literally set up your bank account such that the moment your income rolls in – it is split into your savings, investments and the rest is for your expenses. If you are not already doing this, a good thirty minutes spent deciding what portion you are comfortable allocating to each of these categories will set you up for a sustainable lifestyle.

We encourage you to go a step further: Automate the process. When your income is auto-allocated to the most important categories, and all you see is the amount left to spend for the month, you have taken the first step towards living within your means. Over time, your wealth will grow.

How can we be so sure that your wealth will grow from this new year’s resolution? Read the Richest Man in Babylon (George S. Clason) to find out.

5. Most important investment – your health

In the personal finance industry, we are usually advised to set up our insurance plans for difficult times. We trust you to engage the right financial advisor for this. Our goal is simply to highlight the importance of investing in your health. In addition to having yourself insured, paramount importance should be given to fitness, healthy eating and sleep.

Working out

Firstly, we recommend working out several times a week. Not just a simple workout, but sessions which result in elevating your heart rate, pushing your muscles beyond regular activity and make you feel ‘spent’. All of us have different rates at which these occur based on our physique and fitness levels. But you will know when you get there. Run five kilometres, swim ten laps, play badminton – do something! When you start completing such activities with ease, raise the bar and repeat. This will do wonders for your health as you build endurance and enjoy elevated moods from endorphins released as your body’s natural ‘painkillers’. As you get fitter, you will look better too.

Healthy eating

Secondly, eating well is crucial to your health. Youth is a vibrant phase of life where our bodies are able to recover from many strains quickly. However, the effects of unhealthy eating become apparent as we grow and inhibit this recovery process even while young. Regular meals constituting mostly fried food is likely to result in the commonly known ailments of obesity or high cholesterol while too much sweet food encourages diabetes. The mantra here, at every point in life, is balance. A good meal consists of food from each of the 5 basic categories : Carbohydrates, protein, fat (unsaturated is better), fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. Our suggestion is simple: Be conscious of including these in your regular diet, cut out as much of the unhealthy servings as possible.

Sleep well

Lastly, sleep well. Quality and amount of sleep affect our ability to function optimally. Yet, in the hustle-bustle of life, sleep is the easiest factor to compromise on. This catches up to us, threatening our ability to function if we are sleep-deprived. Hence, listen to your Circadian cycle, and plan to get enough sleep to be able to operate at your peak most days of the week.

6. Travel. You have one life –  experience the world.

We are creatures of habit who tend to develop routines and live comfortably within confines of our rituals. Yet, there is a very real side of us that yearns to grow and experience all the wonders that life has to offer us. Moreover, we develop our outlook based on experiences that teach us new concepts or negate unfounded notions we have. The best way to achieve all of these: Travel.

Get out of your comfort zone if possible by traveling to places that are completely new to you. What we mean – If you are from Singapore, do not just go to countries which are similar in construct. Seek out experiences that challenge your daily reality, make you ask questions and learn. While ‘how much fun you have’ is a perfectly fine metric to judge your travel experiences by, we challenge you to go places where fun is complemented with ‘What changed you for the better?’ . Only you can answer such questions, but we can definitely highlight one of the best processes to get there- Travel!

7. Give back to the society

Finally, one of our biggest insights from our reflections is helping folks around us instills some of the highest levels of fulfillment in our lives. Yes, the obvious way is to help the needy in our society regularly. We should definitely engage in activities that support those who have been served major disadvantages in society. Not only are we able to help make someone’s life better, our own lives get enriched from the blessings and goodwill we cultivate in our societies.

In addition, we should also help regular people around us. All of us are beings with strengths and weaknesses. If you have a particular strength and notice someone in your immediate peer circle who could do with your help, extend it with grace and no expectation of returns. The last is key – such initiatives spark wonderful relationships at best and inner satisfaction at least.

We hope you enjoyed learning from our list of top 7 resolutions for 2016, and we look forward to interacting more with you this year!

With Love,

Team Funding Societies