Advice About New Year’s Resolutions

new year's resolutions, new year's resolution, new years resolutions

Recommit to Your New Year's Resolutions

As we ring in the new year, millions of people make resolutions to change their lives for the better, hoping to lose weight, quit smoking, spend more time with their families or make other life improvements. The Web can aid you on your journey, with advice, resources and inspiration that will help you follow through with—or recommit to—your New Year's resolutions.

Advice About New Year’s Resolutions

The act of making New Year’s resolutions has existed for over 4,000 years, but so has the act of breaking them before springtime. For many, the reason for this failure is not a lack of willpower but a lack of proper preparation and resources. This section provides general advice about choosing and accomplishing resolutions, and helps to keep you motivated along the way.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Believe it or not, January might not actually be the best time to start fulfilling your New Year’s resolution. WebMD has an article encouraging you to wait until spring.
  • It's helpful to have good role models to follow when you're trying to achieve a goal. Bill and Jim Germanakos are twin brothers who starred in the third season of the reality television show The Biggest Loser. They each lost approximately half their weight, a total of 350 pounds, over the eight months of the contest. To learn how they did it, visit their Web site, Weightlosstwins.com.

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Get in Better Shape

Getting into better shape is the most common New Year’s resolution. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain muscle, lower your cholesterol, or improve your athleticism, these Web sites can help you meet your health goals well before you’re ready to make next year’s resolutions.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Before you resolve to lose weight, consider whether your current weight is a healthy and reasonable one for you. The number on the scale can be deceiving; by using the tools listed below, you can use some basic calculations to determine whether you should try to lose or gain weight, or simply make some improvements in the quality of your diet.
  • To be sure that you are choosing a sound diet, look for the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential behind the name of the creator of your site or, at the very least, the designer or supervisor of your diet plan. Some MDs have nutrition training and experience, but do not assume that all MDs are qualified to provide nutrition information and advice. Look for background and credentials on your site and verify them using other sources.
  • Do not start an intense exercise routine or make a drastic change in diet without first consulting your physician. Use the tips on these Web sites merely as suggestions or loose guidelines; each person has specific health considerations that Web sites can’t take into consideration.

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For diet and nutrition information ...
To find a qualified nutrition professional in your area …
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Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking improves the health of your entire body and saves hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars a year. This section shows you the benefits from quitting smoking, helps you find a cessation method that’s right for you, and guides you through the quitting process.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Quitting cold turkey or gradually cutting back may seem like the cheapest and easiest way to stop smoking, but cessation Web sites discourage these approaches because they don’t often work. Research shows that fewer than 10 percent of smokers succeed at quitting cold turkey. It’s generally recommended to combine at least two approaches (counseling and nicotine replacement, for example).
  • Be sure you talk to your doctor about your choice to quit smoking, even if you aren’t seeking a prescription drug. Nicotine replacement therapies, such as the patch or gum, could interfere with medications you’re taking. Your doctor may also have other resources to share.
  • Though the Web doesn’t have a comprehensive, centralized list of local smoking cessation programs, check the Web site of your nearby hospital or city or county health department to see whether it offers classes.

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For an overview on smoking cessation …
For reasons to quit smoking …
To determine the best method for you …
To get started with quitting …
To learn more about techniques used to quit smoking …
For information on nicotine replacement therapy …
To find help and support while quitting …
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Get Your Finances in Order

To celebrate the New Year, the Babylonians would lower their debt by returning a piece of farm equipment they had borrowed during the year. Even if you haven’t borrowed any farm equipment lately, you too can use New Year’s to lower your debt and get your finances in order by using the recommended sites in this section.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Easily make your own budget using any offline spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel. Excel has tools that allow you input formulas into cells, get the sum of rows and columns automatically, and even make charts of your spending.
  • Many credit card companies will provide you with an end-of-year (or -month) summary of what categories you spent money on: for example, groceries, clothing, furniture, electronics, or restaurants. Having information about where you’ve spent money in the past can help you to determine a reasonable plan for the future.
  • Personal budgeting software can be customized based on your unique expenditures. For information on online budgeting, check out PersonalBudgetingSoftware.com, where you'll find articles like this one, which discusses why (and how) to get an "Online Budget Makeover".
  • To fully understand how debt is related to credit, you should familiarize yourself with the different ways in which the term “credit” is used. You can buy things on credit (such as using a credit card), but you may also have heard the term “credit” applied to your ranking as a desirable (or undesirable) borrower, such as with your credit score. Our findingDulcinea Credit Web Guide can help you understand the difference between the two.

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For financial budgeting tips …
For financial budgeting software …
For information about debt …
To understand and improve your credit …
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Continue Your Education

Just because you’re out of school doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. The Web is full of educational resources that can assist you in gaining knowledge and getting a degree.  Hare are sites for virtual classrooms, educational podcasts, learning foreign languages and musical instruments, obtaining a GED, advancing in your career, and finding online colleges.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Educational podcasts are easy to access, entertaining to listen to, and usually free. Search for a specific topic or head to a site that gives a sampling of what is available and current.
  • Some language-learning Web sites offer complete programs and others let you learn a few words or phrases at your own pace. Choose the one that suits your needs.   
  • The following sites each list dozens—possibly hundreds—of colleges that offer distance courses. Make a checklist of what you are looking for in an online school so that you can easily narrow down these exhaustive lists.

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For a free virtual classroom …
For educational podcasts …
To learn a foreign language …
To learn a musical instrument …
For information on the GED …
For career advancement …
For information about online colleges …
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Become More Religious or Spiritual

If you want to spend the upcoming year getting more in touch with your spiritual side, let the Internet be your guide. There are Web sites to help you understand the beliefs and teachings of your religion, and others to help you find a nearby place of worship. The section also has specific sites for Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Mormonism.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Once you've visited a site that has information about a church or volunteer organization, you might want to make a phone call to get more information before you simply show up at services for the first time.

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For general religion resources …
For Christianity …
For Catholicism …
For Judaism …
For Islam …
For Buddhism …
For Hinduism …
For Mormonism …
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Spend More Time With Your Kids

Saying you’ll spend more time with your kids is the easy part; the real challenge is figuring out what to do with them during all that extra time. If you’ve resolved to use the next year spending as much time as possible with your children, you can make it happen with the help of the activity ideas in this section.

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Get More Involved With Charity

The holiday season inspires many to help people around them and make the world a better place. The Web can help you carry the spirit of the holiday season through the coming year by showing you opportunities to donate your time and money to charities and those who need help.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Although most of these sites need volunteers to give time and specific resources, like care package materials, all of the organizations in this section can also benefit from financial contributions. If you don’t have time to offer, make a tax-deductible donation instead. Most organizations in this guide allow you to make donations by credit card online with just a few clicks.
  • There are thousands of causes and organizations out there. If you're feeling stretched thin, remember that there are other ways to help besides donating money or volunteering. Check out the community Web sites to help connect others with your causes.
  • When using your credit card to make a donation online, check the security of the site by looking at its trusted privacy policy, making sure the site address starts with “https” (the “s” is for “secure”). The organization might be nonprofit, but cyber-thieves certainly are not. For more information on using your credit card securely online read the findingDulcinea Internet Security Web Guide.

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To help military members and their families …
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Help the Environment

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be just about bettering yourself; you can also resolve to make the planet a better place to live. These sites show you products and behaviors that can reduce your ecological footprint and help the environment.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Benefit from green incentive programs. Check the Web site of your local utility company to see what tax credits or rebates are available for your eco-friendly investments. Your power company’s Web site can also be a good source for energy-saving tips.
  • Replacing your burnt-out standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to reduce your energy usage (and costs). It’s often best to save the money and fuel on shipping by buying CFL bulbs at real-world hardware, home, or discount stores instead of online.

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To assess your ecological footprint …
For general guides to green living …
For sustainable food and eating green …
For environmentally friendly transportation …
For energy-saving and Earth-friendly products …
To buy carbon offsets …
For local environmental organizations …
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