These are the top five New Year's resolutions for 2013. Are they on your list?
- Lose Weight
- Get Fit and Healthy
- Get out of debt
- Do good for others
- Spend More Time with Family
There are easy, simple tricks to help you lose weight.
- Reduce the amount of fast food you eat. If you love a burger, eat fast food just a week. As you improve your overall diet, you will discover you crave fast food less.
- Stop drinking soda, even diet soda. The carbonation and sodium causes’ water retention and the artificial sweeteners keep the sugar cravings going. Instead, drink lemonade, flavored water and coffee or tea for caffeine.
- Increase the amounts of fruits and fresh vegetables you eat. Apples are portable snacks, low in calories and high in fiber. Eat one each day.
- Pack a fresh salad for lunch. When making a salad, think outside the box. Use different varieties of lettuce, add fruits and vegetables you love, like strawberries, blueberries, sliced zucchini, celery, snap beans, or carrots. For protein, add cheese, chicken, or 10 raw almonds.
- If sandwiches are your passion, choose lean meats such as chicken and turkey. Add cucumbers, sprouts, tomatoes, jalapenos, or lettuce. Try using pita pockets, flatbreads, and different types of breads. Using mustard saves calories and adds flavor.
- Eat ground flax. Flax is a miracle food that tastes good. Two tablespoons a day is all you need. You can sprinkle it on a salad, in soups, or mix it with one tablespoon of honey and spread it on toast or a bagel. Because flax is pure fiber, be sure to drink at least 16 ounces of water.
- Drink more water. Water not only keeps you full but also helps your body with efficient digestion. Did you know that sometimes when you think you are hungry, you are actually thirsty? The recommended daily amount of water is 64 ounces that can be consumed in the form of juice, coffee, tea, clear soups, and water.
Get fit and healthy
- Set aside thirty minutes each day, or at least four days a week, for exercise. Choose a cardio exercise you enjoy. Try dancing to your favorite songs. 30 minutes of fast dancing burns around 400 calories. Walking in your neighborhood is effective, the changing grades of the streets increase your heart rate, and the street surface changes help you maintain balance.
- Buy some free weights for arm exercises to work your triceps and biceps. Aim for 25 leg lifts or ab crunches each day. Denise Austin has an excellent workout Get Fit Fast that includes 10-minute workouts for arms, abs, and legs.
- Park farther away from the store and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Increase the intensity of your exercise as you go. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, feel good brain chemicals that contribute to peace of mind.
- Relax and read a book or magazine for 30 minutes each day. The concentrated effort of reading is like a mental vacation from your troubles.
- Write down the things that worry you. Make an appointment with yourself to worry for one hour each week. Keep the list going, and keep the appointment. You will find that most of the worries are not worth the time during your worry hour.
Get out of debt
Getting out of debt will take determination, but it is not impossible. The best way to get out of debt is to reduce the amount you spend on necessary goods, like groceries, clothing, and heating and cooling. The trick is to determine what you spend before you begin your savings routine. Set up a monthly budget using the bill amounts you are currently paying. Then look for ways to save on items you need.
- Memorize the prices on groceries you purchase all the time. Then explore the discount grocers and stores in your area. Pick up larger quantities of foods when these are one sale, for example, Big Lots is offering your favorite soups at .50 less a can.
- Shop often at second hand stores, like Once Upon a Child, Play it Again, or others that offer quality kids clothes at discounted prices. Second hand stores are also excellent sources for curtains, sheets, rugs, and clothing in good condition.
- Turn down the thermostat just a few degrees and you can save big.
Do good things for others
This is probably the easiest New Years Resolution of all. One good thing to do is smile. Smiling is cheerful and unexpected. A simple grin can raise someone’s spirits, and help them feel less alone. Donate clean unwanted items to charity. Buy one extra can good and donate this to a local food bank. Doing good does not take a lot of time and money.
Spend time with family
This is one of the simplest resolutions, and the easiest to push to the back of the line. Make this year it a priority. The time you spend does not need to be filled with events, simple family dinners on Sunday, a family movie, or game night, or having your kids go with you on errands are easy ways to improve the time you spend together.
The best way to make and keep your New Years Resolution(s) is to write it down. Tape the list to your mirror to remind yourself. It takes about 21 days to develop a new habit, more if the habit is complex. For example, if you decide to exercise 3 times a week, start by doing your routine 3 days in a row, every Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. After two or three weeks, switch to every other day. After four weeks, you will miss the exercise if you skip it.