Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, according to a study out of the University of Scranton. Are you one of them? Whether you already have some in mind or need a place to begin, our experts will help you make the most of some of the most popular resolutions.
Many of us want to brush up on the classics or read the latest bestseller before it becomes a blockbuster movie, but it can be tough to find time to sit down with a book. That’s okay, said Rocky Vang, Fresno County Library’s community relations analyst. Small changes can still yield big results.
“If you read just 15 minutes a day,” he said, “you’ll have read over a million words in one year.”
The first step, he said, is “to come into any library and get a library card. Once you get that, you’ll have access to all materials in the library.”
If you find getting to the library to be a challenge, Vang recommended using its free downloadable resources. Library cardholders are able to access e-books, audio books and magazines via tablets and e-readers without leaving home.
The Clovis Regional Library hosts various book clubs and storytimes for bibliophiles of all ages. Their Read With a Dog program allows kids to work on their reading skills as they read aloud to a therapy dog. The Clovis Classics book club, for adults and teens, meets to discuss a different classic on the first Wednesday of each month.
Learn something new
It’s never to late to learn something new. Maybe you’ve decided to go back to school to receive your high school diploma or learn a new trade. Or perhaps you’ve decided 2016 is the year you’ll finally learn Spanish or take up yoga. Clovis Adult Education offers a variety of courses for a variety of needs, said Kevin Cookingham, director of Clovis Adult Education and Clovis Online schools.
Community education courses are fun opportunities to learn new skills. With 170 such courses in areas like fitness, computer skills and music, there is definitely something for everyone.
The schools’ academic courses for adults include GED, ESL and citizenship courses as well as career tech education classes.
“We’ve had students get their high school diploma in their 50s, even in their 90s,” Cookingham said.
See? It’s never too late.
Run a 5K
Getting fit is always a popular resolution but let’s face it, it can be hard to find the motivation to get out of bed for that early morning jog when the mornings are cold and you’ve stayed up half the night watching your latest Netflix obsession. Setting a goal, like running a spring 5K, might be just what you need to stay on course throughout the winter.
“Start with ground zero and then build up,” said Farshad Oreizi, an Ironman Certified coach who has trained more than 600 people to run half and full marathons through Team in Training and Destination Adventure Racing, a Clovis-based running club. “Start with walking, then fast walking, then slow running and eventually you’re running fast.”
To go along with that, Oreizi suggests cross training that will work the glutes and lower back.
“That is the engine of running,” he said. “The stronger we are, the faster we will get.”
For those new to the sport, especially, he recommends running in a group. It’s safer than running alone, and fellow runners who share your goals will provide additional motivation.
Just remember, the journey to fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. Doing too much can result in burnout and even injury.
“Moderation, moderation, moderation,” cautioned Oreizi. “Start with something and build up. Don’t go out there and try to run the fastest mile.”
Update your style
It’s possible to update your style without breaking the bank, said Teresa Pries, owner of the Old Town Clovis boutique Revival 23. If you’re adding to your wardrobe, think classic, not trendy filler pieces that will look outdated in a few months.
Some of the styles on her radar include bootcut jeans that can be worn with boots now and heels in the spring. “Get great pieces that are going to last,” she advises.
The same goes for jewelry: “A nice crystal bracelet is something that’s going to last you years to come. Statement pieces are great but you’re not going to wear them in the summertime when it’s hot.
“We want to help people be intentional about their buying,” she said. “We do a lot of timeless pieces that are going to take you from winter through spring and not be trendy, so next year you can wear them again.”
Take control of your finances
Trim, a San Francisco-based startup, wants to help you cut unnecessary or forgotten recurring expenses from your budget.
Many people are good about scanning their monthly bank and credit card statements, said co-founder and CEO Thomas Smyth. Trim is not for them. Rather, he said, “it’s useful for those who have something on their credit or debit card they’ve intended to cancel,” or “ people who don’t review their finances and don’t have a sense of what’s on their credit card and would benefit from just having a list.”
Through a secure connection, Trim’s software analyzes your account statements to identify monthly recurring charges (think Netflix, gym memberships and streaming music services). Users can then authorize Trim, via text message, to cancel any subscriptions they no longer use or need.
Trim aims to simplify personal finance management. “People make good financial decisions when they’re easy to make,” said Smyth. “People should look for New Year’s resolutions that give them the most bang for their buck.”