10 things you must do in 2014
Experts and entrepreneurs spell out exactly what you should be doing this year. Starting today!
Quit smoking. Check.
Join the gym. Check.
Drink less. Check.
Most new years begin with the usual set of resolutions and we're sure you have your list too (which you can share here).
Experts -- career counsellors, life coaches fitness experts, financial advisors, travel consultants -- spell out what should be on your agenda in 2014!
1. Career: Take charge of your life
Career coach Amit Bansal, who heads PurpleLeap, which works with colleges to make students employment-ready, says young people, when they are in school or college, rely on their parents to guide them. At work, they expect the company to train and chart a career path for them.
"The only time many of us really think about ourselves is when we want to look for a new job opening," Amit says. "That is the time when we start thinking about training or educating ourselves and preparing for the new challenge."
- "Training should be an ongoing process. It shouldn't be something you do in spurts, only when you realise you have to start something new."
- "This year, resolve to take charge of your life. Take ownership of it and take the responsibility of carving out your own path."
- "Read more books."
- Meet more people. Network."
- "The responsibility of your life is on you and you alone."
- "Know what you are good at, what you like doing and what you want to do."
- "There is no better time than now for introspection."
Image: Only you are responsible for your life, says Amit Bansal. Take charge of it. Now!
Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters
2. Fitness: Don't start with a bang
Getting back into shape is one of the most popular New Year resolutions but it's really important to not be gung-ho about it, says celebrity fitness trainer Abhishek Sharma.
Sharma has trained several movie stars including Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor among others.
"Everyone wants to start out with a bang -- hit the gym, lift weights -- and expect quick results," he says, "It doesn't help anyone if you jumpstart into a rigorous routine.
- "If you haven't been working out, your body will need time to get used to a new routine. So don't overdo it."
- "Start by walking and doing some simple freehand exercises that use only your body weight. Do not use heavy exercise machines. Not just yet."
- "Intensify your workout only about two weeks into your new routine."
- "Set a goal. Mumbai Marathon is coming up. You will be tempted to run it. DO NOT attempt it if you haven't ever exercised before."
- "Your closest goal should be at least two months away. It could be something less glamorous -- like running 5km at a stretch, or going for a trek -- but something that will keep you focussed during the training."
Fitness trainer Abhishek Sharma is also the author of Fitness on the Go (that can be purchased here).
He has written this extensive four-week routine for you, our readers!
Do also read another four-week workout designed by Brinda Sapat exclusively for Rediff.com.
Image: Take things in the gym one step at a time before you injure yourself badly.
Photographs: Yiorgos Karahalis/Reuters
3. Health and well-being: Find ways to stay motivated
Senior dietician and fitness expert Namita Jain agrees.
Much of what she says about diets has to do as much with life as with staying fit.
"Start by making small changes, she says, "In the first week, focus on something as simple as drinking water. In the following week focus on eating more fruits and vegetables; in the following week limit your junk food intake and so on and so forth."
She admits that it can get difficult to stay motivated but says that it isn't very difficult.
- "Results are a great way to stay motivated. The moment you see a rise in energy levels and stamina and drop in the weight, you will want to do more."
- "Keep going back to that paper (where you've listed your goals). Review your goals and ask yourself if you're happy where you are. If you aren't, start over again."
- "Prioritise your life. Decide on what is important and single-mindedly focus on that."
Namita Jain is the author of several diet and fitness books, one of them is The Four-Week Countdown Diet, in which she tells you how to ease your body into a new diet.
Image: Find ways to keep yourself motivated
Photographs: Dadang Tri/Reuters
4. Life: Get out of your comfort zone
A lot of us want a lot of things but only a few are willing to work towards achieving them," says Malti Bhojwani, a Mumbai-based life coach.
In the 12 years that she has been in the business, Bhojwani has consulted several corporations and educational institutions and is the author of Don't Think of a Blue Ball (that can be purchased here).
- "To achieve something new you should be willing to risk stepping out of that safety zone."
- "This will involve rocking the boat. It will not just make you but also the people around you uncomfortable."
- "By stepping out of your comfort zone you will compel others to around you to do the same, something they may not like."
- "Your smoking buddies may not necessarily be taken in by the idea of your attempts at quitting smoking, for instance. They may want to draw you back."
- "It is easy to be mediocre and stay where you are. Getting out of the comfort zone requires a great amount of effort."
- "Always remember what you really want will always be outside of your comfort zone."
Image: Leap out of your comfort zone. There's no better time than now.
Photographs: Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters
5. Career: Know that grooming can make all the difference
You don't need to be an industry observer to see how Kangana Ranaut has grown from an awkward girl to an articulate young lady.
"While there is no substitute for hard work and sincerity, how you present yourself is equally important," says Chetna Mehrotra, a well-known corporate trainer who counts IBM, Emirates, American Express and the Government of India's Ministry of External Affairs as her clients.
What you say is important, she says, but equally important is how you say it.
- "Your appearance, body language, vocal presentation etc play an important part in how people perceive you."
- "Learn to look the part you're playing."
- "Create a certain image and maintain it. Let this image not be a fake one. Let it be a projection of the best of you."
Image: From a gawky misfit to a Vogue cover girl, Kangana Ranaut has come a long way. She is seen here on the latest cover of the fashion Bible
Photographs: Cover of Vogue, January 2013
6. Finance: Set aside some money every month
It doesn't take a lot for the money to disappear from your salary account, says financial consultant Nisreen Mamaji.
- "This might sound pretty basic but it makes a lot of sense to create an Excel sheet of your expenses."
- "Break down your expenses and see where you can create investible surplus. You'll be surprised to realise that there will always be scope to put away an amount, however small, at the end of each month."
- "Invest whatever little surplus amount you have to achieve your short-term goals."
- "If you want to buy a car or plan a wedding, know that it can be done without taking a loan if you simply start working backwards!"
Image: Go back to the basics and list out your expenses. Start setting aside a small amount every month.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
7. Finance: Plan for your retirement and emergencies
Most young folks rarely ever think of retirement. It is a far-off concept that they'd rather not worry about. Even so it is important to factor in that while planning your savings.
Nisreen Mamajee advises:
- "It is crucial to plan for your retirement."
- "Invest in a 15-20 year plan that will be your safety net for the time when you retire."
- "Start small but start nonetheless."
- "Life is unpredictable. Factor in job loss or disability."
- "Keep some amount for emergency expenses."
- "Medical policy is the first and the most important of the investment in this case."
- "Besides that, try and keep an emergency corpus of about six months of your expenses in a liquid fund that will earn you interest and can be liquidated at a short notice without any loss of principal."
Image: Start planning now so you can lead a comfortable retired life.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
8. Travel: Go forth and explore the world
Travel isn't just a list of places that you need to tick off, says Lakshmi Sharath, a popular travel blogger who also writes for Rediff.com.
"It is a way of life," she says
- "Travelling is not about taking pictures of yourself before monuments. It is about learning new things."
- "There is nothing quite like travelling. It can only make you a better person."
- "Travelling opens doors to different cultures. You meet new people; you shed your inhibitions. You lose yourself and embrace new things."
- "Travelling makes you humble; it gets rid of your lethargy. It teaches you to be flexible because it is only while travelling that you realise that however much you plan, things are bound to go out of control."
Running out of ideas of places to visit? Here's Lonely Planet's list of the top destinations for 2014!
Image: Go on, explore the world.
Photographs: Rafael Marchante/Reuters
9. Social awareness: Strive to bring about a change
Most of us approach social problems with a patronising mindset, says Neha Juneja, Co-Founder and CEO of Greenway Grameen Infra, a social start-up that works in the clean cooking space.
- "Social problems cannot be solved with a patronising mindset."
- "Such acts of charity essentially make only oneself happy. It doesn't matter if what you've done really makes a difference to the other person's life."
- "If you really want to bring about a change, approach the issue with the mindset of serving the people rather than making yourself happy."
- "The moment you approach them as consumers rather than recipients of your charity, things change considerably. That's when you start genuinely listening to their problems and offering solutions."
Image: If you want to bring about change, approach with the mindset of serving people says Neha Juneja. Seen here is a picture from Source For Change, India's first all-women rural BPO that started operations in 2007 and has empowered hundreds of women.
Photographs: Courtesy Source For Change
10. Be responsible: Vote wisely
This is the year when the worlds' largest democracy will go to vote and choose the women and men who will lead us for the next five years.
"In a country that has more than 65 per cent of its population below the age of 35, this is clearly the election in which the youth will decide its own future.
"So it isn't just important for you to vote but also vote wisely," says Malvika Bhatia, head of recruitment and talent management at knowyourvoteindia.org, a non-profit organisation that works towards addressing voter apathy amongst India's youth.
- "It is time we realise that politics has a huge impact on the issues that affect us every day and know that we can make an informed decision of who can be in power."
- "It is crucial for us to get out of our complacency, make an informed choice and exercise our basic right when time comes."
- "We are a country with a large number of young people who have so many different ideas. Know that we can make a difference in the way this country is being run."
- "So this time around, rather than choosing to stay at home, instead go out and vote!"
Image: This is the election in which the youth will decide its own future. Vote wisely says Malvika Bhatia.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters