A fresh start; it’s what we all think when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st of the New Year. The next day often includes sleeping in, but it is also when our wheels start turning on what this year’s resolutions will be. In most cases, resolutions stick around just as long as that live Christmas tree. This year we want to help you change that, with some helpful tips and tricks, to make those resolutions stick ’til the ball drops in 2017.
New Beginning One – Getting Healthier
The number one resolution on everyone’s mind; to get more trim, and stay healthy throughout the year. It’s always easier said than done, especially with our busy lifestyles. Here are some ways to keep you on track, even with a few splurges here and there!
With so many things filling up our days, from meetings to soccer practice, it’s easy to see why many of us fall right into the frozen or box-dinner trap. A great way to break this cycle, is with meal-planning and prep. Eating right is a main key to staying fit, trim, and healthy; so incorporating one morning or afternoon to this, will keep you moving (and losing) in the right direction.
An easy process
Plan for 5 to 6 days of eating-in. By reducing your restaurant visits, you can also control exactly what goes into your meals, and your body. Pick a few of your favorite cookbooks that lean towards the healthy-side of cooking. One great series, is from Weight Watchers; by using spices and herbs, they kick up the flavor, and keep your buds satisfied. You can find many of their choices, on WeightWatchers.com or Amazon.com.
Select your favorite recipes, for either all three meals of the day, or just for dinners, depending on your schedule (don’t worry, we have your breakfast and lunch covered, with easy recipes on OsceolaWoman.com). Make a food-itinerary for each day, including the name of the cookbook and page of the recipe, while writing the ingredients down on your shopping list. Once your days are filled, you’re done, and can hit the grocery store to fill up your cart with your healthy choices! Check out some easy recipes for snacks, breakfast, and lunch, on OsceolaWoman.com.
Head home to prep any major work for the weeks dinners, and your lunches and snacks, and you can rest assured that your healthy week is covered, no matter what life throws at you!
Don’t skip breakfast! Breakfast gets your metabolism going, and keeps hunger at bay. It truly is the most important meal of the day.
Meal planning at your doorstep: Check out Blue Apron, a food delivery service that takes the meal planning out of your hands with ingredients and recipes delivered right to your front door.
Move it to Lose it!
Eating healthy is important, but making your body move, is another key ingredient to fitness success. Don’t worry about going crazy; implanting three to four days of exercise, for 30 minutes to an hour a day, can help you reach your weight loss or fitness goals! Here are some key tips to help keep you moving!
- Make a schedule, one week at a time. Write your work-outs for the week in a fitness journal, and then go back to check-it off and comment on your progress. It’s a great way to see how far you can go. Even print out pics of yourself along the way, to visualize your changes. Make sure to write your goals along the way, so you can treat yourself (see below) for your hard work!
- Change it up! Don’t stick to one work-out. Change things up, each week or after a month. This can keep those work-out boredom blues away, and surprise your body with new techniques that will accelerate your progress. Check out your gyms class schedule, or pick up a new home DVD; you’ll never know what work-out you may fall in love with!
- Lose the guilt. Missing days (or a week) WILL happen. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Fitness is a journey, and a lifestyle. Missing a day, doesn’t mean you have to over-compensate the next time, or mean that you have to quit either! Just work it back in, and keep moving with your new healthy life.
All this effort, doesn’t have to go without a sweet, sweet reward! There are several ways to make sure you pat yourself on the back, but we like the money-jar system! Each time you do something healthy, throw a denomination of your choosing in a jar. For example, each time you complete a work-out, put a dollar in your healthy-jar. Then, when you reach a goal, say losing 15 pounds, empty it out and buy yourself a new piece of clothing, or a spa treatment. You truly worked for it!
Also, make sure you do give yourself that occasional treat. By skimping out on all your cravings, you could fall into a downward spiral. If you are wanting, say chocolate, get yourself a small bar, and indulge. However, the key word is occasional. Learn to satisfy your sweet tooth in other ways, too. Some great alternatives include fruit or nuts, which will keep you wanting less of the “good stuff.”
Quitting Smoking There are ways to really quit, this time! Check out the boundless resources at TobaccoFreeFlorida.com for getting on the road to better health!
New Beginning Two – Healthy Finances; Getting out of debt and saving more
Money isn’t everything, but having to worry less about it, sure does help! Make your financial plan, by taking control of your money, one step at a time. We love Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. They are designed to help you out of debt and stress and into a life of saving and giving. We’re all in different places with money. Start right where you are and get where you want to be. Know-how is 20% of the equation. Behavior change and self-discipline make up the other 80%. You can do it! Just follow the steps.
Here’s The Process:
Step 1:$1,000 to start an emergency fund: An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life you can’t plan for. Whether there’s a plumbing issue and everything but the kitchen sink is draining, or your brakes are squealing at every stop sign, you can be ready!
Step 2: pay off all debt but the house: List all debts but the house in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first.
Step 3: 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings: This step is all about building a full emergency fund. It’s time to kick debt for good, with 3–6 months’ worth of emergency savings. Sit down and calculate how much you need to live on for 3–6 months (for most that’s between $10,000–15,000) and start saving to protect yourself against life’s bigger surprises like the loss of a job. You’ll never be in debt again—no matter what comes your way.
Step 4: invest 15% of household income into retirement: Now it’s time to get serious about retirement. With no payments and a full emergency fund, put 15% toward the retirement of your dreams. Between your 401(k), Roth IRA, and Traditional IRA, you have a lot of options. Find the fit that is right for you. The money you were using to attack debt can now help build your future.
Step 5: college funding for children: College tuitions and housing expenses continue to rise. Don’t let college sneak up on you. Saving now will put you ahead of the game when your kids graduate from high school. Two smart ways to save for your kids’ college are a 529 college savings fund or an ESA (education savings account). These are both tax-advantaged savings vehicles that let you save money for your kids’ education expenses.
Step 6: pay off home early: It takes the average family five to seven years to pay their home off early. Just imagine life with no mortgage. There’s only one more debt standing in the way of freedom from all debt! Apply all the extra money toward paying off your home. Not only are you paying off your home early, you’ll be saving tens of thousands of dollars in interest fees.
Step 7: build wealth and give: This is the last step and by far the most fun. It’s time to live and give like no one else! Build wealth, become insanely generous, and leave an inheritance for future generations. You know what people with no debt and no payments can do? Anything they want! Now that’s leaving a legacy.
Want to learn more? Check out Dave Ramsey’s book: The Total Money Makeover
CONTENT COURTESY OF DAVERAMSEY.COM
This plan not for you? Check out page 9 for more money-saving tips, and investment opportunities from Edward Jones.
New Beginning Three – Reducing Stress
We all know the feeling of being overwhelmed. If you’re constantly on the go; take time for yourself this year with a few of these ideas.
Plan a Vacation
Sometimes all we need is a week (or even a long weekend) to recharge our batteries. Lucky for us, we live in the cruise capital of the United States. We have plenty of ports to choose from, but the hot one now seems to be Port Canaveral, voted North America’s best home port by Cruise Critic. With a new terminal and plans in the works for The Cove, a 250,000 square foot marketplace, this port is pulling in some fantastic cruises!
The one to watch for, is Norwegian Cruise Line. NCL will be bringing its largest ship, The Epic, this November, and will be offering seven, four, and three day trips to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. And, the cherry on top, they are more affordable than you think! Weekend cruises start at $249 a person. And this ship is jam packed with elegance and adventure; from Cagney’s Steakhouse, the SVEDKA and Inniskillin Ice Bar to an adult-only Beach Club and on-board bowling! Check them out at NCL.com.
Learn to say no
We don’t have to do it all! The simple act of saying no, can really take some of the load off of our shoulders. The guilt that comes with saying no to simple requests such as making cookies for your kid’s class, or giving someone a ride to the airport, will subside in time. If your plate is full enough, make sure that you prioritize what you take on. You deserve a relaxing night at home after a hard day at work. Try leading with some positive sentiment, such as, “I appreciate you thinking of me” or “I really enjoyed doing it last year, however” which will make you feel less guilty, and really show that you’re unable to help at the moment.
Remember the Balance
Work, activities, and day-to-day chores take up almost all of our time. It’s easy to see relationships and ever-important alone time suffer, when we don’t make them a priority! This year, remember the balance. Make a monthly schedule for your house, and remember to include the three important things — time for you, time for your spouse, and time for a family day.
Time for you is essential to help relax. Choose your favorite hobby and concentrate on that during this special down time. Maybe it’s shopping, going to a yoga class, or seeing a movie – it’s time just for you! Time for your spouse is often the one left out. Make sure to mark that calendar with a big red heart each month for a date night (page 21). If you are in need of a sitter, check out Care.com; which will allow you to search from listings of trustworthy and background-checked sitters in your area! Make sure to choose something new each month, which will keep the excitement and anticipation of that night going throughout the year. Time for the family. Put away the phones, and make a family meeting this January. During your sit-down chat, make a list of things and places you want to do and see. Put them in a jar, and then each month, pick one out to put on the calendar. Make sure everyone gets to put in their ideas, and keep them all within budget to reduce the stress of any financial burden.
New Beginning Four – Getting Out, and being more social
Sometimes we all need to break out of our shell. If you’re feeling the need to get out into the community, here are some great ways on how to do just that.
Join a Club or Take a Class
Focus on what makes you tick, for example, your favorite hobbies! Got a green thumb? Check out a local gardening club. Love cooking? How about a cooking class! Here are a list of local organizations that will make getting social, more fun:
4-h Clubs 321-697-3000
Community Choir 407-791-5215
GOFAR- Greater Osceola Fitness & Running Club 407-361-7068
Heel & Toe Square & Round Dance Club 407-339-1499
Motivators Square Dancing 407-892-9872
New England Club 407-892-9069
Osceola Airboat Association 321-231-1960
Osceola Community Orchestra 407-738-9643
Osceola County Camera Club 407-965-7444
Patchers of Time Quilters 407-846-6257
St. Cloud Garden Club 321-373-7649
The Nature Conservancy 407-935-0002
The Woman’s Club of St. Cloud 407-957-1845
YMCA Osceola 407-847-7413
Giving back by volunteering does double duty for resolutions. It allows you to meet others in the community who share similar interests, and also fulfills the need to help others. Check out our recent online article of places to give back in Osceola: OsceolaWoman.com/osceola-giving-guide-2015-charities-area
Looking for Success?
Read tips on how to achieve success, from Florida Technical College CEO, David Ruggieri, on page 30.