resolutions

*The new year is a time to look back at past decisions and make new goals for an improved version of yourself. Many New Year’s resolutions will fade after a few months; however, if you start early, you may have a better chance keeping them throughout the year. Here are some New Year’s resolutions to begin today:

Train for a Race

A 5k or 10k race is an achievable goal that can be measured through weekly progress. You can train outside with the guidance of a planned route you’ve created or at a gym. 24 Hour Fitness, which has locations nationwide, has many top-of-the-line cardio and strength machines that are easy to use. Become an efficient runner by lessening the risk of injury through a balanced workout that includes cardio and strength.

A number of helpful tips on the Runner’s World website will help you train for your first race. The site is a good resource for shoes and gear, nutrition tips, motivational techniques and a training schedule, as well as providing a list of races in your area.

Kick a Bad Habit

Everyone has vices that can be reduced or eliminated through measurable actions and greater awareness of consumption. If you are a smoker, purchase products that will aid you in your journey to stop smoking. Set yourself up for success through the use of reasonable measures and a solid support system. For example, your first goal can be to cut your intake by a quarter, then by half and if you wish, you can stop completely. Talk with your doctor about your goals and join a group of those who have quit smoking.

If your alcohol intake seems like it’s over-the-top, create a journal or calendar to record your alcohol consumption. Awareness of your consumption will help reduce how much you drink. A friend or accountability partner will help you stay on track with your goal.

No matter which unhealthy habit you wish to kick, consult your doctor before you begin.

Take Care of Debt

Debt reduction requires consistent payments and more conscientious spending. Download Mint, an app to help track your purchases and bills. You can create financial goals on the app and keep track of your debt progress. Mint will send you notifications whenever you’ve surpassed your spending limit in a certain area — clothes, entertainment, food, etc. — and will also notify you when you have a bill coming up.

Mint keeps your financial information safe and secure with a 128-bit SSL encryption and physical security standards similar to those of a bank. Mint is also monitored and verified by TRUSTe, VeriSign and other agencies of online security.

Help Others

Be more mindful of others who are less fortunate than you. You can give back in a number of ways without making large monetary donations, for example, by signing up as a volunteer at a local food bank or homeless shelter. Your volunteer work will help support these important institutions and provide crucial necessities for families and individuals in need.

You can also download the app, Charity Miles, which helps you raise money for a charity whenever you walk, run or bike. Bikers earn up to 10 cents per mile, while walkers and runners earn up to 25 cents per mile. Funding comes from corporate sponsors.

You can choose which charity will receive your funds; these include Pencils of Promise, Feeding America, DoSomething.org, Red, Stand Up To Cancer, Autism Speaks, Habitat for Humanity and more.