The year is almost over, but that doesn't mean it's too late to make a change or do that thing you promised yourself you would do back in January but never got around to doing. Even if your New Year's resolution didn't make it past February 1, that doesn't mean you can't pick it back up again. Think of the last couple of months of the year as plenty of time before the finish line—and since it's later in the year, attempting to turn over a new leaf won't feel as intense or pressurized as at it does at the beginning of the year. Even if you're reading this now and have a week left until 2020, that shouldn't stop you from making a change. You can even say you're getting a head start, or doing a trial run for next year's resolution.
If you don't feel like redoing your incomplete resolution, there are plenty of things to check off your list wellness-wise if you haven't done so already. We're talking medical appointments you've been putting off, that workout class you thought about doing but never signed up for, and using up those remaining vacation days.
Below, we've compiled a checklist of things you need to do before the end of the year. They range from health-focused tasks to lifestyle changes. Take your pick, or for extra credit, do all of them. Whatever you decide, just remember it's never too late to start over.
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While there have been reports in recent years that the annual physical might not be necessary for healthy people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still says regular check-ups are important so you can discuss with your doctor what screenings and tests you may need, any issues you've been experiencing, or questions you may have. And if you haven't been in years, then it's even more important to go. It goes without saying that if you have a history of health problems or are experiencing symptoms, you should see your doctor no matter what.
While you might not need to get a pap smear every year if your last test result came out negative, it's recommended that you still should schedule a "well woman" visit, to get a pelvic and breast exam, among other things. Plus, depending on your age (and your risk level), you may be due for a mammogram. This is the perfect time to ask your doctor questions about sexual health and/or other gynecological issues or concerns.
The American Dental Association says that there's not a one-size-fits-all dental treatment, so for some people that might mean once or twice a year, while others might have to go once a year. Talk it out with your dentist about the frequency in visits, but a safe start would be at least once a year.
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If you wear glasses or contacts, this is something you should do regularly. And if you have an existing eye condition, or a high-risk of developing one, you should get checked regularly, too. The frequency depends on your own personal situation and what your doctor recommends. The Mayo Clinic recommends getting a comprehensive eye exam every five to 10 years if you're healthy, have no symptoms of vision problems, and are in your 20s and 30s.
It's a good idea to get a skin screening yearly, especially if you're at risk for skin cancer or have other skin conditions. As for other specialists you need to see regularly, it depends on your health history.
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Or other health savings accounts like an HSA and HRA, if you have them. For some you only have access to those funds through the end of the year, so you'll want to use up the money before you lose it. Depending on your particular plan, you might be able to use the funds to pay for over-the-counter medications and other drugstore items.
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You might have made a resolution to be more active this year, but life got in the way and now you're more sedentary than not. Don't worry about that, just make a point to get out of your chair, sofa, or bed and move. "I would tell people to forget about broken New Year's resolutions or failed summer diets, and realize that anytime is really the best time to start," says Zoe Rodriguez, a Plankk Studio instructor. "Just do it! Getting started can be as easy as finding ways to get more steps into your day, like taking the stairs when you can or getting a walk in at lunchtime during the workday."
It's so much harder to get outside during prime resolution time, January. If you live in a place that sees freezing temperatures in the wintertime, you know you'd rather be inside than trudging through the snow. Before the weather turns chilly, get out there and enjoy the fresh air—whether it's a hike, walk around your neighborhood, or even just stepping outside for five minutes.
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If you haven't worked out because you haven't felt motivated, or if you feel like you're in an exercise rut, maybe it's time to rethink your routine. Rodriguez suggests choosing go-to workouts that are simple but effective. "Life is unpredictable and setting aside an hour or more for workouts that require a commercial gym isn't always feasible," she says. "Find workouts that you can do in a short amount of time that you can perform in the comfort of your home with minimal equipment. You will be amazed at the amount of stuff you can do and the results you can achieve without ever stepping foot in a gym!
This can help you get back on your healthy eating plan. "Healthy eating habits are often one of the first things to fall by the wayside when we get busy," Rodriguez says. "Weekly food prep will ensure a healthy nutrition intake and save you from unnecessary stress and blood sugar drops on days when you lack the time or energy to cook."
Or if meal prepping isn't your thing, find something else that will help you eat healthier, whether it's using an app, or just being more aware of labels.
Maybe you said you would cut back on drinking, or that you would quit smoking. Whatever you want to change, work on it now.
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Check in with yourself and see how you're doing—and try to be really honest with yourself. It might help to talk to a friend or family member, too. If you're feeling anxious, there are some natural remedies that can help. Or, if you find that you're being hard on yourself, there are some things you can do to practice self-love. Depending on your situation, you might find that seeking professional support can help.
Journaling can help you manage your mental health. But, really, you can do whatever makes you feel good mentally, whether it's meditating, or breathing exercises, or something else.
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Going on vacation can do wonders for your health, but a recent survey found that only 28% of Americans will use all of their vacation days. If you find that you have some extra days, why not take a weekend trip, mental health day, or a last-minute big vacation?
Read more always tops the list of New Year's resolutions. It's not too late to head to the library or bookstore, or stock your cart on Amazon for the latest best sellers and classics.
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It can be as simple as checking your credit report, finally researching those investments, or meeting with a financial advisor. It all depends on your money situation, but doing something about your finances will make you feel so much better (and can help future you).
Maybe you said you would take up knitting, or you pledged to learn how to be a better cook or wanted to learn a new instrument. If you haven't gotten to it yet, now's the time. It could even provide you with some stress relief.
If you're feeling unhappy or unfulfilled at work, it might be time to rethink your current job. Talk to your boss about that promotion or raise, revamp your résumé, look for open positions—whatever it is, make some moves to make work more enjoyable.
Clearing out the clutter and getting organized will make you more productive and can sometimes help with anxiety or stress. Get ready to welcome the new year by getting a head start on organization.