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Experts Say Take Time To Reflect On 2021 Before Looking Forward To New Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Experts suggest taking stock of where things stand when 2021 wraps up before making any resolutions for the New Year.

Though this is the season for not having enough hours in the day, they say find a moment to look back before moving forward.

"The end of year check-in is really important and vital and useful and helpful, especially now, at giving you a direction, a good positive direction to move in for the new year," family and relationship therapist Dr. Jane Greer told CBS2's Mary Calvi.

Greer is one of four experts we asked for advice for an end of year check-in. She said priority number one should be taking care of yourself.

"I think a lot people, I know myself included, have let my annual doctors' appointments lapse," she said.

She said it's never too late to make the call for doctor visits, dental and eye exams, mammograms and other vital check-ups.

"Put them on your calendar so that you leave this year with health care, with attention on yourself and really getting ready for the new year ahead," she said.

"Now more than ever, it's important to pay attention to our relationships," psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere added.

Gardere reminds us this is not only the perfect time of year to focus on family, but to check in with ourselves, too.

"We shouldn't waste the experiences that we've had and that we've learned as we go through this pandemic," he said. "Have a conversation with yourself as to where you find that you have had more joy, more stability, and more of the successes. Then write those things down."

A financial check-in is always important, too. This time of year, it's easy for things to get out of hand, but a look back can help you reign in expenses.

"You don't need to go crazy. Just look through all of your expenses," said New York Magazine columnist Charlotte Cowles, with The Cut. "I personally am always super embarrassed when I look at what I'm spending money on, but it's the best way to know where your money is actually going."

Cowles also reminds us to not let flex spending plans lapse. These funds can be used for things like new glasses and drugstore purchase.

She also adds check in on savings plans, like your 401K.

"See if you can maybe up that a little bit this year, even just by a percentage point. That can make a huge difference," she said.

The end of the year is also the perfect time to take stock of professional goals.

"You want to make sure you acknowledge the things that you have succeeded with over the past year. So that could be preparing a raise, it could be a promotion. That could be something smaller, like starting a project or networking more," Insider leadership editor Brandon T. Harden said. "Then you want to look forward to the next year, use those things that you did well, build upon them for the next year."

He said to make sure to always use your vacation days -- valuable "you time" you don't want to lose.

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