10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Life Before the End of the Year

The new year is on its way, and we all know what that means: People will be planning their New Year's resolutions en masse. Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, they're definitely going to start popping up in conversations soon.

While post-ball drop is the perfect time to set goals in order to improve your life, we sometimes forget that we can change our lives anytime. In fact, why not get started today? Here are some small things that could change your life for the better by the time January 1 rolls around.

1. Defeat negative thoughts

We all think negatively from time to time, but if you are someone who gets into negative feedback loops that just don't stop, it's time to figure out how to get out of that pattern. You can try everything from simply looking for the positive, to talking to someone you trust, to writing those thoughts down in order to find patterns and triggers. You may even want to consult with a medical professional if you try everything and find yourself still stuck. (See also: How to Be a More Positive Person)

2. Check your credit report

Sure, you're supposed to do this every year, but do you get it done? It's an easy thing to put off, even though it's important to know as soon as possible if there are items on your report that shouldn't be there. It usually doesn't take more than an hour to check with all three bureaus. If you find a mistake, contact the bureau and dispute the error. You may also need to contact the creditor who provided the information to the credit bureau. Just like that, you'll have improved your financial future. (See also: How to Read a Credit Report)

3. Ask someone new out for coffee

Getting to know new people can be hard. Make it a goal that, before the new year, you'll find someone you'd like to know better and actually go on a coffee date with them. This can be someone you're interested in as a friend, significant other, mentor, or more. Inviting new people into your life will give you new perspectives and may open doors you never expected.

4. Clean out your inbox

That massive number in the red bubble on your phone is probably stressing you out more than you know. Take 10 minutes every day to whittle it down, and by the new year, you will feel like you have a new inbox, too. You'll also be able to ensure that you're caught up on everything. As a bonus, take the time to unsubscribe from anything you're not actually interested in, so those emails don't keep cluttering up your space. (See also: 5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life)

5. Start a nightly routine

Good habits make us feel better and live better, and nighttime is a great place to start. Begin by setting the same bedtime each night and sticking to it, so you can make sure you're getting all the rest you need. Add in things like setting out your clothes for the next day, tidying up for five minutes, or meditation, and your routine will serve you even better. (See also: How to Fall Asleep When You Can't)

6. Make doctor's appointments

Going to the doctor isn't easy, even if it's just a routine preventive visit. However, these are the visits where you can get questions answered by your doctor and catch ailments before they leave you flat on your back. So if you have appointments you've been putting off, make it a goal to have them done by the end of the year. That way, you'll start 2018 with all the knowledge you need to live well and be healthy.

7. Practice gratitude

Every night, maybe as part of your nightly routine, write down at least three things from the day that you are grateful for. Having a regular gratitude practice can help you feel better physically and mentally. It also makes you feel better about yourself and adds to your mental strength. (See also: 6 Ways to Feel Better About Your Financial Situation)

8. Check your retirement contributions

Are you contributing enough to your retirement fund? Use a retirement calculator to find out. Even if retirement is far in the future, you want to make sure you're ready when you get there. If you aren't contributing enough, you'll have time to make changes to your budget so you can contribute more in the new year. (See also: This One Thing Could Be the Key to Retiring Rich)

9. Keep a list of accomplishments

Most of us have some sort of to-do list, whether it's in our heads or written down. But we don't keep a similar list of the things we get done. Sure, it may not be important to note that you successfully bought cat food today, but getting in and out of the store with three kids in tow is certainly an accomplishment.

This can be especially useful when you are pursuing big goals, because it's a constant reminder that you are chipping away at what you want, even if it doesn't always feel that way. Start your list today, and by the new year you'll be able to see that you've accomplished quite a lot.

10. Set up automatic savings contributions

Saving money is often an afterthought. However, when you set up your accounts to automatically transfer money to a savings account every time you get paid, it gets a lot easier. Even if you only transfer $20 a paycheck, you'll have almost $500 within one year. That's significant and, over time, it can become even more so. Set a goal for your savings and watch it become reality. (See also: How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You)

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10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Life Before the End of the Year

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