Where do you live and why — and is this the year for change?  

A New Year brings a clean slate, a fresh start and a sobering perspective: The gluttony has ended. The blooms are off the poinsettias. And the number on the scale is real. What better time to take a wide-eyed inventory of, well, everything in our lives — our finances, our health, our careers, our relationships and our homes.

You know what I’m going to say next: It all starts at home.

January is the perfect time to reflect and reassess how and where we live. That’s right, before you head full throttle into 2024, ask yourself: Am I living where I should be? Have my home and I outgrown each other? Is this the year to make a change?

I pose these prompts because my new book on rightsizing came out this week, so the subject of house fit is front and center. (Another book? What more could this woman possibly have to say?) After writing my last book about converting everything you own into a meaningful legacy (when you die) and the books before that about downsizing (as you grow older), I needed to cheer myself up, and talk about living, about making the most of right now.

So, as we begin a new year, let’s look at whether you are living in the home and the place that is the best fit for you now by considering the following questions:

Why do you live where you live? Do you live in your town because you were born or grew up there? Did you land there because of a job you no longer have or don’t need to commute to? Is your home near schools your kids no longer attend? Or do you live in the house you have because it was what you could afford when you bought it, but maybe not now? A yes to any of these doesn’t mean you should move, but should prompt you to at least ask: Would you choose the same place again today, or is this place holding you back from a better life? Does your home still fit who you are?

Where else would you want to live? Where we live influences how we live in major ways. The question of whether somewhere else would be a better geographic, personal or financial fit is worth asking. Would you like to live closer to family or friends? To never have to shovel snow or drive on ice? To experience four seasons? To be able to walk to good restaurants and shops? To live near water or mountains? To enjoy a lower cost of living? You might not get all that in one place, but consider what matters most.

What does your dream place look like? Imagine a home that is the perfect combination of location, size, furnishings and affordability. It’s close to what and whom you love. It makes doing what you enjoy most possible. It’s neither too big nor too confining. It supports you without your having to struggle to support it. Now hold onto that vision as you explore whether a home other than the one you’re in is a better fit.

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