12/29/2011 12:21 AM
Just days away from the beginning of a new year, there’s no doubt that people everywhere are pondering their 2012 resolutions. Here are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions and some ways you can effectively work them into your life!
1. Weight Loss
This is probably the most common resolution, and judging by the obesity issues in America, I’d say people aren’t putting their goals into action. Losing weight doesn’t need to be about crazy fad diets or mutilating yourself at the gym. In fact, it SHOULDN’T be about those things.
Take it a day at a time. Make little changes each day to better yourself. This gives you the chance to ease into a new routine. Instead of giving up all sweets and treats on Jan. 1, try limiting yourself to one treat each week. Rather than going from sedentary to running 10 miles, start with a distance that is comfortably challenging for you and work your way up.
While taking baby steps into a healthier lifestyle will make for a smoother transition, it will not warrant immediate results. Set reasonable goals for yourself and keep those expectations at a healthy level.
2. Quit Drinking Alcohol
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink once in a while with friends. If you’re an alcoholic this obviously doesn’t apply, but for the average person on a mission to kill bad habits, it’s all about moderation. My rule of thumb for things like this tends to be that if you try to cut something out of your life entirely, it will make for an undeniably noticeable jolt in it.
Having a glass of wine with dinner or a beer during a football game is social behavior, and isn’t putting your health in jeopardy. Why not permit yourself a certain amount of outings each week or month rather than sacrificing the habit altogether. Like I said about weight loss, keep the goals reasonable.
3. Get Out of Debt
Getting out of debt is a tough one. Pretty much everyone out there is dealing with some level of debt. Whether it is student loans, credit cards or mortgage payments that have left you in the hole, there are always things you can do to pull yourself out.
One of the first things you want to do is catch your debt before it hits collections. Usually it doesn’t take months of not paying a bill to realize you can’t afford it. At the first sign of struggle, contact your creditor and see if there’s an adjustment that can be made to lower your monthly payments to a more affordable level. They would rather get some of the money back than none at all, so see if they can help you.
Before you acquire any new bills (memberships, extracurricular activities, etc.), calculate your income, deduct your current bills and make sure there’s enough money left over to pay for the additional habit or hobby.
And of course, having a budget for yourself is essential to keep you out of financial turmoil altogether. If it means writing down every day you will be making payments on a calendar, do it. It will be well-worth the time you invest in the long run.
Let’s be honest. Most people would love to spend hours each week donating their time to a good cause and making the world a better place, but work and stress and just daily distractions get in the way.
Just because you say you want to volunteer more doesn’t mean you need to become the next Mother Theresa! Scheduling one weekend morning a month to lend a hand at church or a homeless shelter isn’t that tough to do, and once a month is likely more than you volunteer right now. Stick with your goals to help out, but don’t overload yourself. The last thing you want to do is take something that’s supposed to make you feel good and turn it into obligation.
This one is pretty simple. Most apartment complexes have bins to dispose of recyclable materials right near the trash cans, and many neighborhoods allow you to set out recyclables with your trash. Give up a little of your time to contact the Home Owner’s Association or apartment complex office to get the details!
There’s no reason to be disappointed in yourself at the end of 2012. Just keep your resolutions attainable and your expectations reasonable and you’ll be set for your most successful year yet! Happy New Year!
Sources: USA.gov, FTC
Photo Source: SXC