I can't believe that 2009 is going out and 2010 is coming in. I am sure you have already made a few New Year's resolutions, but I wanted to give you 10 tips to help you be your best in 2010...and beyond...
1) CHANGE YOUR DIET...Don't go on a diet. If you go on something, it is just as easy to go off of it. Not to mention whatever you consume is your diet, so if you go on one, what were you doing before that, hmmm. So, what you really want to do is change your diet. Include more fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats and low fat dairy. Avoid saturated fats, sodas, highly processed foods, fast foods, "junk" foods and anything with a lot of calories but little nutrients. Notice I didn't say eliminate, only avoid these foods. The ones I mention first you should choose more often, and save the others for special occassions or treats.
2) EXERCISE AT A LEVEL COMFORTABLE FOR YOU...this means don't over do it. Make sure it is safe with your doctor first and that no medical condition poses a threat to your health. Then choose an activity that fits your age, weight, height, schedule, lifestyle, budget, and most importantly your personal preference. Don't choose something you won't enjoy because it will be hard to stick with. Pick something you can do easily, but has room to push yourself further. The idea is to improve in your fitness level and flexibility, but not to overextend yourself. If you don't exercise right now, walking is a great place to start. If your knees hurt, trying swimming (community centers often have an indoor pool).
3) DONATE...anything. Just remember that even if you have little, there are still people out there with even less. You don't have to donate money, it can be food, used clothing or furniture, and even time. If you can't afford something of monetary value, remember your time is just as valuable. Helping out where ever it is needed will ultimately bring you reward. Don't forget, even donating a dollar here and a dollar there can add up for someone. If 1,000 people in a town donate $1 each, a family could have rent and heating paid for the month. Little bits add up to a lot and everything you donate is appreciated.
4) GO BACK TO SCHOOL...not necessarily for a degree, but just for personal enrichment. It doesn't even have to be a tough subject. It could be art history, ceramincs, jazz music, native American history, eastern religions, logic, creative writing or even public speaking. Choose something you have always thought would be interesting but never got around to studying. If you are looking for cheaper options for courses, check out your local community college. They usually cost less, but the educators are just as good. If you were considering going back for a degree, start now. Why wait until fall? You are just in time to enroll for the spring semester. Even if you can't apply in time to be admitted, many schools let you start taking classes as a non-admitted student. Start off with the core classes and if you have to fill out an application later, at least you have a jump start in the program.
5) DRIVE SAFELY... wear your seat belt, drive the speed limit, don't talk on the cell phone, and always pay attention. Even though you may be a good drive, others are not. This means your life can be in the hands of someone elses poor decisions. Always be on the look out. If you notice someone driving unsafely, pull over or get out of the way. There is no need to speed (ok, a few miles over the speed limit is one thing) just to slow down, and trust me you will always need to slow down for something. Enjoy the time you have in the car. For many people this is an escape from the office or the home and offers some quiet time, or time to sing obnoxiously loud in your car.
6) CHANGE SOMETHING...maybe your hair cut, the color of your bedroom, the landscaping in front of your house, maybe your mailbox or your nail polish. Whatever it is, big or small, make a change. Bring a new perspective to your everday life.
7) IT'S WHAT IS INSIDE THAT COUNTS...I don't know how many times I have had young college students tell me they can eat what they want, they have a fast metabolism and they look fabulous. Great, that's what's on the outside. A greasy hamburger is still a greasy hamburger to your arteries. Although you may look great on the outside and your BMI is within a healthy weight range, it doesn't mean you are healthy on the inside, which is where it counts. If you haven't been to the doctor recently, schedule your yearly check up. Get standard blood work done to make sure you are healthy...the kind that you can't see based on the outward appearance.
8) OH YEAH...IT'S WHAT IS INSIDE THAT COUNTS...now I am talking about you and how you treat others. Next time you go to gossip about someone, think about how you would feel if someone said that about you. Is it really your place to tell someone about someone elses life? Sure, it is fun to be on the inside of everything, but at what cost does this come. If you have ever lost a friend over gossip or rumors, then you know what I am talking about. Treat others with respect and compassion. Never underestimate the power of kind words.
9) RECONNECT WITH OLD FRIENDS...ok, I won't lie, facebook is great for this, as is any other form of social media that connects friends. But you can connect anyway you feel comfortable with...snail mail, email, the phone...any of these work. Do you ever think about distant family members, high school friends, college friends, camp friends or even as far back as elementary school friends. They are out there and chances are they would love to hear from you (let's face it, you are all great people, who wouldn't want you back in their lives!).
10) MOST IMPORTANTLY...Make it to 2010! Seriously, you can't be a better person in 2010 and beyond if you don't play it safe tonight. If you plan to drink, make sure you have a designated driver. If you plan to drink, make sure you eat something before you party. If someone offers you drugs, think about the possible consequences. If something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't, which means it is probably time to head out from where ever you are. Never travel alone, keep friends near by. If you plan to stay in, practice safe habits there too. Don't leave candles or the fire place burning unattended. Turn off the oven or stove when you finish cooking. Ok, ok, enough of my rules for safety...most importantly, have fun and don't forget to tell your loved ones that you love them.
See you all in 2010!!!