The holidays are over and it’s time for the New Year and the overwhelming burden of New Year’s resolutions. More often than not, your New Year’s resolutions barely survive through January and you end up promising yourself that next year will be better.
Let’s be honest — we’ve all been there. Instead of putting effort into failed resolution attempts, use these tips and Columbia’s resources right at your fingertips to conquer 2016 like a champion.
KICK-START YOUR 2016 FITNESS PROGRAM
January is a great month for gym owners because resolution-makers arrive in droves on a mission to get in shape. This year, be a little more intentional and a little less impulsive about your fitness goals and you may find yourself enjoying healthy new habits by summer rather than looking for excuses to avoid pool parties.
According to Nutrition.gov, having a nutritionally balanced food plan is important before you even start your weight-loss journey. Visit the University of Missouri’s Wellness Resource Center at wellness.missouri.edu/fitness.html to learn about fitness and nutrition, and download healthy recipes.
Get City Support
Use your community resources. Columbia’s Activity & Recreation Center offers a variety of specialty classes. An annual membership at the ARC grants passholders access to the pool, gym, game room, indoor track, training zones and a variety of group exercise classes. Plus, the city’s parks and trails are open year-round and offer free fitness opportunities for all you self-starters. Visit www.gocolumbiamo.com/ParksandRec for more details.
According to the American Society for Nutrition, we often confuse our thirst for hunger. Drinking water consistently throughout the day will keep you from unnecessary munching. It is also beneficial to replace unhealthy beverages you may drink throughout the day with water (and if you’re feeling fancy, try adding a lemon slice). Splurge on a nice, reusable water bottle and take it with you everywhere!
Find A Partner
There is strength in numbers, even if that number is two. The American Heart Association encourages people to seek a friend with similar goals to exercise with and maximize motivation. Having somebody with you during your fitness journey can encourage you to stay committed to your resolutions. There will always be a friend ready to give and receive support on the road to better health.
Don’t let yourself use the excuse “chips are easy” any longer. The Obesity Society notes that high-calorie and high-fat foods trigger cravings for more of the same unhealthy foods. To avoid this, spend 20 minutes one day a week and stock your fridge with precut fruits and veggies. By making healthy snacks just as easily accessible as any junk food in your pantry, you’ll never have to make excuses again.
Don’t put off your spring cleaning until spring. Lighten your load and free yourself from clutter to give yourself a fresh start for the New Year.
Ask For Help
Do you have anxiety that keeps you from letting things go? The University of Missouri’s Counseling Center Web page provides information to help you understand your anxiety, which may be holding you back from getting organized. Go to counseling.missouri.edu/resources/anxiety.php for some background on the condition, then visit with a counselor or your physician about how you can break away from the anxiety that has a hold on you.
It’s More Than 1 Step
Organizing can be overwhelming, especially if you plan on organizing your entire home in one weekend. It’s not a one-step process. Author Marie Kondo’s international bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has redefined the process of decluttering for devotees all over the world. Step 1 on your road to a tidy life may just be a trip to the bookstore.
One Person’s Trash …
… is another person’s treasure. Don’t let your unwanted stuff go to waste. Get it out of your hair without throwing it out. The Salvation Army, Goodwill and the Assistance League’s Upscale Resale shop in Columbia take lothes, furniture and household items.
Salvation Army: 23 E. Walnut St., 573-443-2786
Goodwill: 1405 Grindstone Parkway, 573-442-4050
Upscale Resale: 1729 W. Broadway, Suite 1A, 573-445-4803
According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, maintaining an organized external space leads to a happier mind. Once you have completed the brunt of your organizational work, try not to let clutter creep back into your life. Stay on top of your new organized space by keeping things where they belong and maintain the peace of mind you worked so hard to achieve.
SPEND LESS & SAVE MORE
If your resolutions include getting smarter about your spending, you’re not alone. There are plenty of ways you and all those other budget-minded resolution-makers out there can improve on your money-management skills.
Find The Deals
Consumers saved $3.6 billion in 2014 using coupons, according to a report released by NCH Marketing Services Inc. Columbia restaurants, stores and bars are always promoting special deals. Grab the coupon magazine from the grocery store before you start shopping, or check the website for the restaurant or bar you plan to visit for any specials they’re promoting. There are phone applications galore to help you find and organize coupons, which will mean less clipping and more saving.
Visit the University of Missouri Extension’s Money Matters Web page at www.missourifamilies.org/money for an abundance of free financial planning resources and information. This website provides financial calculators ranging from loan rates to retirement spending. Get your spending under control with this free online tool.
Stay In & Cook
If you’re looking for an alternative way to spend time with your loved ones without breaking the bank, check out Michael Pollan’s New York Times bestseller, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. This book explores the social, economical and health benefits of cooking your own meals.
Save Cash On Coffee
Are you a compulsive $4-cup-of-coffee buyer? According to America Saves, cutting out expensive coffee drinks over an entire year could save you up to $500. Buy the fresh coffee beans at your favorite CoMo coffee shop and brew your own coffee at home. You won’t miss out on your favorite cup of joe in the morning, but you will save some cash!
Don’t Waste Energy
According to the Alliance to Save Energy, the No. 1 reason to be energy efficient is to save money. If you are a city of Columbia utility customer, you can sign up for a free energy audit through Mid-Mo Housing. This audit will provide tips for the best possible energy and water efficiency for your home or business. If you are interested in this audit, sign up at www.midmohousing.com.
SPEND TIME WITH LOVED ONES
Family time is precious time and all too often, it competes with work responsibilities, sports teams, dance lessons and all the other obligations that keep families moving in opposite directions. If spending more time with family and friends is at the top of your resolution list for 2016, read on.
Learn To Say No
According to the Mayo Clinic, saying no is invaluable to stress management. Even if you really want to help someone, but you know you would be jeopardizing dedication to your priorities (especially friends and family), saying no is OK sometimes. It may be easier to say no than to struggle to get through your own to-do list while also taking on somebody else’s.
Make It A Routine
The Family Resource Association credits time together as being the key to healthy and happy families. To avoid missing out on time with family, plan to dedicate a specific evening or time during the weekend to family activities. For inspiration for local family activities, check out Inside Columbia’s calendar in every issue or online at www.InsideColumbia.net.
According to Mental Health America, having a healthy work/life balance is an attainable goal. By setting manageable goals, you’ll likely accomplish more throughout the day. Be sure to include goals that will allow you to spend more time with friends and family on a regular basis.
Don’t Be Stressed
The American Psychological Association claims that the more stress you feel, the more stress your family feels. If this is a problem in your life, take a time-out to visit the University of Missouri Extension’s website at www.extension.missouri.edu to find an abundance of tips and resources for creating balance in your hectic life.
Dinner’s A Winner
Nonprofit organization, The Family Dinner Project, encourages families to take advantage of the opportunity to reconnect by eating dinner together. For more information about the importance of family dinners visit www.thefamilydinnerproject.org/resources/faq. If you don’t feel like cooking, check the websites of your favorite restaurants in Columbia to see which ones deliver!
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
When you ring in the New Year in 2017, say “Happy New Year” in a different language, or volunteer to be the musical entertainment. Take this year to master a new skill or explore a new hobby.
According to the Linguistic Society of America, bilingualism is the norm for most societies in the world. Whether you want to get ready for a trip abroad or enhance your career skills, mastering a second language is a great place to start. The Daniel Boone Regional Library has a number of self-help books on foreign language. You can also check the Columbia Area Career Center’s course offerings at www.career-center.org for any foreign-language class opportunities.
Become A Musician
Maybe you played an instrument when you were young and want to pick it up again. Maybe you never learned how to play an instrument and have decided that now is the time. Whatever the reason, check out the Community Music Program, the University of Missouri School of Music’s outreach effort. Community members can register for private or group classes with instructors from the School of Music. Details are at www.music.missouri.edu/communityprograms/communitymusic.html.
Become A Coder
Health information technician jobs are projected to grow more than any other occupation in the next eight years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you want to learn a practical skill that could potentially lead to new career opportunities, or if you just want to learn something unlike anything you’ve ever learned, then the Columbia Area Career Center has the perfect opportunity for you. Participate in a classroom-based, instructor-led coding program by enrolling through www.career-center.org/adults-courses/health-occupations/medical-coding.
Become A Gamer
Get in on friendship-building games like bridge, bunco or canasta by becoming a member of the Columbia Newcomers & Neighbors club. Groups meet once a month for good conversation and the chance to brush up on their card game skills! Find a group that interests you at newcomers.columbia.missouri.org/interest-groups.
The Columbia Art League offers various art classes to people of all ages. Learn how to do something new by checking the spring program/class list at www.columbiaartleague.org/learn.html.
KICK BUTT: STOP SMOKING
You don’t need a lecture; you know smoking is an expensive and unhealthy habit. What you don’t know is how to kick it in the butts for good. Here’s where to find help.
Make A List
The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion advises making a list of all the reasons you want to quit smoking. Make multiple lists if you need to, and always keep it in a visible place. If you are ever feeling weak about your ability to quit, reread your list for motivation and to hold yourself accountable.
Identify The Triggers
Smokefree.gov says it’s helpful to be aware of any triggers that may cause you to light up. If smoking was a way for you to deal with stress or anxiety in the past, it may be helpful to find an alternative way of dealing with these emotions.
Join A Support Group
According to the American Cancer Society, the social and emotional attachments to smoking can be just as difficult to overcome as the withdrawal symptoms. There are numerous free support groups throughout the city to assist you in your journey to be smoke-free. Visit www.secondhandsmokesyou.com/smoking-cessation/Columbia-MO/services.html to find the best support group for you.