Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

The quickly-approaching new year symbolizes a fresh start for many of us.  A time to reflect on the past year (or years) and to set new goals for ourselves.  I hope your list doesn't look like this:
I think all of our resolutions kinda end up looking/feeling this way as reality sets in.  So I wanted to write a post about some of the most common New Year's Resolutions and how we can achieve them.

Top 5 most common resolutions:

1) Lose Weight & Get into Better Shape
This has been my resolution for as long as I can remember making resolutions.  I wrote a little about it here.  This year I found an amazing program that has helped me shed 115 lbs since May.  You are welcome to visit my website here for more information.

Regular healthy exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight.  
It can also help:
*Prevent heart disease, strokes, diabetes and other chronic diseases
*Boost your overall mood
*Lower high blood pressure
*Reduce stress
*Strengthen muscles, bones and joints
*Improve metabolism and increase your energy level
*Strengthen your immune system while decreasing CRP levels and inflammation
*Help prevent depression
*Increase bone density and help prevent osteoporosis

You can learn more about diet and exercise in my favorite health book, here.

2) Stick to a Budget and Get Out of Debt
This is a hard one!  Most people find it very difficult to stick to a budget.  It does take hard work (and lots of self-discipline) in the beginning.  The good news is, the longer you stick to it, the easier it becomes! 

Some tips on budgeting: 
*Create a budget that is realistic and based on your everyday needs  
*Don't take drastic steps to cutting your budget - do it in baby steps
*Get serious about want vs need  
*Be honest with yourself (and your spouse)

Here is an interactive budgeting worksheet to practice on.  I'm sure there are others, just do a google search!

Now let's talk DEBT:
Ok peeps, Christmas is over, time to put away the credit cards!  Make a resolution to stop charging everything - if you can't pay cash for it, you don't need it!  Keep a diary of all money spent (cash, check, debit, etc).  Once you know where your money is going, you can prepare a realistic budget (see above).  Then you can allocate a percentage of your monthly monies to paying off debt.  You'll be amazed at how quickly you can do it when you stick to it!
One of our favorite financial managers is Dave Ramsey.  He will whip you into shape in no time! ;o)

3) More Quality Time with Family & Friends
Family...isn't it about...TIME?  Love those commercials!  It is so true - we are as busy as we let ourselves become and if your priorities are not in line with your values, then something(s) has to suffer.  I think all-too-often it is our family.  They are the ones we love and rely on, but also the ones we justify taking away from (spending less time with) in order to fulfill other obligations.  Make a resolve to take action and do something EVERY DAY that will improve your relationship with your family.  Making families stronger and healthier is an important part of building relationships and strengthening our communities and our world.  And f'rills, it matters...for eternity.
My favorite website on families can be found here.
PS - Do you date your spouse?  YOU SHOULD!  Here is a fantastic article with some great ideas!  Now go surprise your significant're welcome!

4) Quit Smoking/Drinking
While neither of these vices are ones that I have dealt with personally, I have loved ones who do and I understand their struggle.  Much the way an obese person deals with food, it is an addiction and it's very hard to control!  Quitting smoking and/or drinking can be one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it will also be one of the most worth while. 

Here is a list of websites that have some helpful tips on quitting smoking.
And here is a link to a great alcohol addiction treatment plan.

5) Get Organized
I have always struggled with this one!  I want to be more organized and have good intentions to be so, but as time wears on, I get lazier and lazier about sticking to a routine.  I'd like to think it's been a lot better in the last few months (you can verify with Mr. Charming...or not)!  I do love to find things to help me get organized; from bins and baskets to electronic devices and calendars (and shiny new schedules)!  Below are a few of my favorite organizational websites (there are way too many to choose from)!  Enjoy!

Whatever your resolution(s), I hope you find 2012 to be a wonderfully successful and fulfilling year!  I sure am looking forward to it!

Happy New Year!

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