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13 New Year’s Resolutions — and How to Keep Them

1. Lose the Weight From wearing a pedometer to surrounding yourself with the color blue, there are all kinds of

1. Lose the Weight

From wearing a pedometer to surrounding yourself with the color blue, there are all kinds of small changes that can help you finally drop those extra pounds. Make a commitment that 2012 will be the year you get rid of what’s weighing you down.

Get inspired here:
50+ easy ideas to help you lose weight
8 kitchen cabinet makeovers for weight loss

2. Get Organized

If your home is making you feel like you’re heading toward an episode of Hoarders, start small: Focus on one clutter-packed zone (even that junk drawer in your kitchen) and get that in order, then move on to the more-intimidating areas (hello, garage!).

Get started with these:
Clutter-busting 101
10 simple ways to stop bedroom clutter

3. Get On Top of Finances

Even if cash is really tight, 2012 can be the year you finally get a sense of control over your money.

Try these first:
6 easy ways to start saving money
9 foolproof tactics to ensure your family’s financial well-being

4. Spend More Time with Family and Friends

A lot of us feel we don’t spend enough quality time with those we love. So pick up the phone or fire up the computer and start arranging experiences that you can do together. Here’s one way: Send an e-mail invite to a picnic in a centrally located park. Everyone brings food and drink‚ and a smorgasbord of catch-up results.

More to try:
The secrets to more interesting dinner conversations
How to break the ice and meet new people

5. Get Fit

Okay, this January you’ll finally say, “No excuses!” Schedule regular time to get active, and stick with it. Handy hint: Make a date today with a pal to walk once a week for 50 minutes.

Get a jump-start now:
How much exercise do I really need?
New ideas for home fitness

6. Quit Smoking

You know all the ways cigarettes hurt your body — that they dramatically increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and almost every other health concern, small or large. So if you’ve still got the habit, this can be the year you ditch it.

Find out how:
25 ways to stop smoking cigarettes

7. Smell the Roses

Lost your mojo? The easiest way to kick-start your joie de vivre is to focus on those little things that give you pleasure. Every day, have a moment where you focus on just a small, immediate enjoyment, like a great song on the radio, a tasty peach, a pet’s licks, your friends’ thoughtfulness, or an unexpected invitation.

Try these:
6 surprising happiness boosters

8. Tackle Your Drinking

If drinking is doing you more harm than good, stop altogether, learn to moderate or get support (such as from Alcoholics Anonymous) if you can’t control your intake on your own. (Those living with alcoholics will also find friends at AA.)

For help reducing your consumption, try:
Cut back on alcohol without giving it up

9. Learn Something New

There’s nothing more esteem-building than getting an additional qualification under your belt. Your career options widen, you meet new people and you exercise your brain. Check out local community colleges, which offer a range of inexpensive courses.

Get started
How to picking up a second language
Top 10 tips for a healthy brain

10. Help Others

Every day, we’re hearing about a new catastrophe in some corner of the globe, so it’s no surprise that “volunteering vacations” are booming worldwide. But you don’t have to head to a far-flunch locate (or spend money) to make the world better — offering your time, or if that’s in short supply, simply donating furniture, clothes and other household items can help someone in need (and make you feel great).

Get motivated:
Meet regular people who are changing the world
How volunteer experiences can help job seekers

11. Land a New Job

Whether you’re itching to switch careers or have recently lost your job, there are plenty of reasons these days to stay current (read: keep your resume updated and don’t stop proving you bring something to the table).

Get going with these:
25 jobs in high demand
10 things career changers need on their resumes

12. See the World (or Even the State!)

Get a new perspective on things — literally and figuratively — by putting yourself into a new environment. And it doesn’t mean hopping on a plane — there are plenty of fresh locales within driving distance from where you live.

Find out how:
5 tips for booking a last-minute vacation
5 ways to make traveling with kids easier

13. Find Your Zen

If even thinking about all these changes starts getting you stressed out, make a vow this year to chill out.

Start getting calm today:
10 ways to manage stress
78 instant stress busters

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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