New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. Did your New Year resolutions make our top ten list?
1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
Recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year. Make plans to meet up with friends for an evening of comaraderie at favorite Pittsburgh restaurant or take the family to one of these popular Pittsburgh places for family fun. Work shouldn't always come first!
2. Fit in Fitness
The evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better. Why not make this the time to start getting in shape for one of these popular Pittsburgh Area Charity Walks, Runs or Rides?
More: Getting Fit in Pittsburgh
3. Tame the Bulge
Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year's commitment to shed extra pounds.
4. Quit Smoking
If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you've tried to quit before and failed, don't let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life! Even Allegheny County is trying to go smoke-free, and it's taken them a few tries as well. Locally, there are a variety of free support services, hotlines and smoking cessation classes to help you kick the smoking habit.
5. Enjoy Life More
Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that "enjoying life more" has become a popular resolution in recent years. It's an important step to a happier and healthier you! Consider one of Pittsburgh's holistic healing centers for products designed to bring balance to your body, mind and soul. Or just get out and try something new! Take up a new hobby or try your hand at skiing. Go to a theater performance, or head to the local spa. Pittsburgh offers a wealth of artistic and recreational activities to meet just about anyone's wishes.
6. Quit Drinking
While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available. Pittsburgh Alcoholics Anonymous offers meetings throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. There is also a Pittsburgh group for Parents of Teenage Alcohol and Drug Abusers. There are also a number of treatment-based programs, as well as support groups for families of alcoholics.
7. Get Out of Debt
Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It's a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.
8. Learn Something New
Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you'll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year's resolutions to keep. The Community College of Allegheny County offers a wide variety of "lifelong learning" courses, and local YMCA's offer great recreational training for beginners of all ages. Most local colleges and universities offer distance and adult education programs. Or if the arts are more your thing, places such as the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts offer adult studio classes.
9. Help Others
A popular, non-selfish New Year's resolution, volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help. The Pittsburgh Cares organization makes it easy by connecting volunteers with projects to fit practically any schedule. Or if your time is really in short supply, maybe you can at least find it in you to donate the furniture, clothing and other household items that you no longer need, rather than leaving them out by the curb to fill up our landfills.
10. Get Organized
On just about every New Year resolution top ten list, organization can be a very reasonable goal. Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite someone over on a whim, or your office organized enough that you can find the stapler when you need it, these tips and resources should get you started on the way to a more organized life. Pittsburgh has quite a few professional organizers who can help you reduce the clutter in your life and find peace in your home. Professional Pittsburgh organizer Patty Kreamer even offers a a six-month But I Might Need it Somday! ecourse.