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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first of a series that will continue over the next few months.

Every New Year’s Eve, millions of Americans resolve to get healthier (e.g., lose weight) and wealthier (e.g., increase savings). This is not surprising because health and personal finance “issues” affect millions of people. 2020 brought a year of challenges to many, especially with the health concerns brought on by COVID-19.

Through the struggles and challenges of COVID-19 during 2020, many people have had time to reflect on their personal health and wealth. What do you think about your personal health and wealth and what are you planning to do about it?

Widely reported issues in recent years include an increasing incidence of diabetes, more overweight and obese adults and children, low household savings rates, and high household debt. Many people are overweight and have few financial re-sources and they are looking for a way to both live healthier lives and achieve financial security.

Almost everyone, except for the most desperately ill and poor, can do something to improve their health and finances. That’s where a “small steps” approach is so useful.

Anything you do to improve your health and/or accumulate wealth is a step in the right direction. No step is too small to get started and you can never be too early or too late.

Over the next few months my articles will discuss 25 strategies that can be applied to health and personal finances. The articles will discuss these strategies, including tips for goal setting and creating action steps you can apply to your life. Think of these strategies like a menu in a diner or Chinese restaurant. You can’t possibly try everything so you’ll pick strategies that mesh best with your income, goals, and lifestyle.

Take time to celebrate small steps along your path to self-improvement. Research has shown that people don’t need to lose a massive amount of weight to see improvements in health. A modest loss of just 5 to 7 percent of body weight (10 to 14 pounds for someone weighing 200 pounds) helps a lot. Ditto for small financial improvements such as saving $2 a day, plus pocket change. In a year, you would have about $1,000 saved…compared to nothing, if you do noth-ing. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Rachel Lockwood is the Family Consumer Science Extension Educator with Pittsburg County OSU Cooperative Extension Service. For more information related to this topic or related FCS programs contact Rachel at 918-423-4120, email Rachel.lockwood@okstate.edu or on Pittsburg County OSU Website http://oces.okstate.edu/pittsburg/ or find Pittsburg County OSU Extension Center or Pittsburg County OHCE on Facebook.

Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local governments cooperating. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other legally protected status and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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