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Color of Money: Start your new year with these money mantras

Michelle Singletary on

WASHINGTON -- I don't care that the success rate for New Year's resolutions is low. I make them anyway.

I like the fresh start of hope.

This year, I have three major resolutions: Get more rest. Eat healthier. Stress less about my retirement accounts.

Folks, I don't know about you, but I'm tired all the time. I wake up tired. This is probably because I get an average of about five hours of sleep per night -- and that's being generous. So, for 2018, I'm giving myself a bedtime. No more late-night television shows. I'll just have to watch Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" in the morning.

I've also resolved to lose weight. My former brick-house body has morphed into a condominium after three kids and too many potato chips and fast-food meals because I was too tired to cook after working long hours or volunteering.

And, while my finances overall are in great shape, I'm overly obsessed and stressed about having enough money for retirement. Last year, I sometimes checked my 401(k) several times a week. This is not good. Watching the stock market's up and down swings so closely put me on edge.

 

Once I've decided on my resolutions, I try to figure out a way to stay on track. One year, I picked a theme song. Listening to it regularly empowered me to do better. This year, I'm choosing quotes.

Here's my inspiration for getting more rest: "Our sleep is not empty time." (Arianna Huffington, "The Sleep Revolution.") Huffington says, "Today much of our society is still operating under the collective delusion that sleep is simply time lost to other pursuits, that it can be endlessly appropriated at will to satisfy our increasingly busy lives and overstuffed to-do lists. … The combination of a deeply misguided definition of what it means to be successful in today's world -- that it can come only through burnout and stress -- along with the distractions and temptations of a 24/7 wired world, has imperiled our sleep as never before."

I have sent emails at 2 or 3 in the morning. I don't expect the recipient to respond; I was just getting work out of the way. But I was trading much-needed rest for extra hours to do more.

For eating better, my quote is: "Eat to live, and not live to eat." (Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanack.") I'm going to try a more plant-based diet.

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