You can improve your life in 2016
Sick of hollow new year’s resolutions, and determined to change things? S’thembile Cele asks the experts how
As each year goes by faster than the last, many parents are unprepared for how much time their children need from them. Parenting expert Nikki Bush says to make the time you have with your children count, make eye contact with them and really listen when they speak.
“Make a date with your child, whether you go out for a burger or milkshake or whether you play together at home. Diarise a set time and stick to it,” she says, adding that you need to “unplug” during your “date” and switch off cellphones and computers – even lock them away.
“Play games together, such as simple card and dice games, or do a fun activity, like taking a swim together or a walk to the park. Even lying on the grass watching the clouds counts as quality time.
“Today, there is a generation of children who are desperate for a sense of belonging and togetherness. So no matter how much or how little time you have with them, make your presence felt and make it count,” she says.
On the romance front, clinical psychologist Khosi Jiyane says successful relationships need work. “Start the new year knowing that relationships are never final but an ongoing work in progress,” she says. “Your partner is a guest in your life, and could leave.
“The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. It has to be nurtured for you to enjoy successful relationships with others.” Personal finance expert Maya Fisher-French says this is the year to take control and stop playing the victim when it comes to managing your money. “If you keep track of it, you can control it,” she says. “The key is to take ownership.”
This is easier said than done, especially during the festive season, when you want to pay for your friends’ last round of drinks.
But there are a few secrets you will find useful in saving a couple of Randelas. This has to do with budgeting, setting financial goals and dealing with debt.
“If you are in debt, start getting rid of one store card at a time. Sort out the payment on one first, then tackle the next. You won’t solve all your problems in one day, but you can tackle one debt at a time,” says Fisher-French.
“Also, take out a savings plan for yourself or for your child’s education. Review your house and car insurance rates. Rates have been coming down and it is likely you are paying too much.
“Look at how much you spend in banking fees; how can you reduce them or do away with some altogether?”
Fisher-French says that once you own your finances, you will see results within three months. “The key is to know how much you get, how much you spend and where you spend it. Write it down. Some expenditure will be cringeworthy, but bite the bullet. Find out where your money is and take control.”