Common New Years Resolutions (and Solutions!)

Healthier, Happier Hampton Roadsians in 2012

The new year represents a time of new beginnings and new selves. Out with the frumpy, disorganized bunch we were in 2011, and in with the new, hip, beautiful people that are to appear sometime within the year. The gyms will be packed with likeminded folks looking to get in shape, the nicotine patches will be slapped on, and those filing cabinets you purchased are finally being put to good use. Sadly, within just a couple months, we notice that there’s no wait to use the treadmill, the habit you’re trying to kick has instead kicked you, and your handy file cabinet is now being used as the space where all unwanted mail gets piled the end of the day.

This year can be your year to change—not just for a few months, but for good.  Here are some suggestions for making 2012 the year to kick all the negative habits and kick into high gear for transforming into a healthier, happier Hampton Roadsian.

1 - Resolution: Exercise more. As the most common resolution, this one can also be the most common to desert. We start out with good intentions, but as the year progresses, our progress sometimes declines.

Solution: Maybe you just haven’t found the workout that’s right for you. Hampton Roads provides a variety of activities that make exercising fun while spending more time outdoors or out of your regular comfort zone. Check out the January issue of Hampton Roads Magazine for our extensive guide to getting in shape, and learn exciting ways to exercise such as biking the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, joining an unconventional running club or dancing the calories off.

2 - Resolution: Eat healthier. The turkey (and leftover turkey sandwiches), Christmas cookies and New Year’s booze has caused you to pack on the pounds and feel lethargic and gross. Beginning a healthy eating routine is tough to begin and even tougher to maintain. Sometimes all it takes is one weak moment of indulging in a 790-calorie KFC Chicken Pot Pie (nope, not exaggerating), and your motivation is out the window.

Solution: Don’t make impossible goals for yourself, and don’t try to lose weight too fast. Avoid temptation to the best of your ability, but don’t deprive yourself everything delicious; otherwise, if you do slip into a bad eating habit, you’re more likely to want to make up for all the goodies you’ve been missing. Portion size is key; if the office gals are going to Just Cupcakes for a Friday afternoon treat, eat half your cupcake and save the rest for later rather than shoving two in your mouth consecutively. While you’ve got our January issue handy, read about the most delicious salad options in Hampton Roads as well as an experience with the Flat Belly Diet—a great way to jumpstart your way into healthier eating!

3 - Resolution: Quit or reduce smoking/drinking. It’s great that you’re striving to be more fit, but if you’re still puffing away or pounding the shots every night, you’re causing serious harm to your body—even if you look good doing it. Quitting an addiction can be even harder than dieting because your body physically craves the substance you’re giving up, and depending on how long you’ve been a smoker or drinker, you could experience headaches, anxiety, insomnia, irritability or even depression.

Solution: Take baby steps. First, try to limit your intake of tobacco or alcohol. If you’re a pack-a-day person, try to make the pack last a week and substitute your normal cigarette breaks for taking a brisk walk or having a stick of gum. Instead of consuming your usual beers after work, switch to a single glass of red wine. Don’t try to tackle the task alone. Form a support group within your existing family and friends to help you give up smoking, or click here for a list of AA groups in your area.

4 - Resolution: Be more organized. There’s hardly nothing more annoying than misplacing something in your home and knowing that if you were just a little bit more organized, you’d be able to find that bill/birthday gift/favorite scarf in no time. You can clean your house and even start a fancy filing system, but in no time, laziness can prevail, and your filing system could quickly become the “piling system”—piles of laundry, mail and random junk lying around.  

Solution: Do more throughout the week to stay on top of things rather than waiting until the weekend to tackle everything at once. Amy Volk with Simplified Living came on the Hampton Roads Show to share four simple tips on maintaining an organized home. Follow these tips to lessen the amount of organizing you’ll have to do during the weekend.

a. Make your bed each morning to set the tone for a tidy home.
b. Put things away. When you use something, put it back. When you buy something new, find a place for it, and when you take off dirty clothes, put them in the hamper rather than piling them on the floor.
c. Do a five-minute cleanup each night. Keep a basket in a central location in the house; then every night, set the timer for five minutes. Everyone gathers items they'’ve left lying around and puts them in the basket.
d. Deal with the mail. Toss junk mail immediately instead of letting it pile up each week.

5 - Resolution: Start a new hobby. Watching TV in your spare time can be so relaxing, but it’s nice to enjoy an activity that enables you to feel productive. Just be sure not to start off with something too involved if you don’t have a lot of extra time to give (starting a blog—fantastic; aiming to write a thousand-page novel and having it published by the end of the year—overzealous).

Solution: If you’re interested in starting a brand new hobby, sign up for a class! D’Art Center and Peninsula Fine Arts Center offer classes and workshops in painting, crocheting, ceramics and more, and the classes can be suited for people of all ages. If you want to brush up on your writing, The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk offers classes in comic book writing, children’s book writing, memoirs, screenwriting—anything you need to start the year off with great new intentions.