Top 10 New Year's Resolutions

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a mix of sun and clouds today and tomorrow with daytime highs around 14C or 15C. It's going to cool down after that-highs will be around 11C for the rest of the week-but we're still not expected to get any rain or snow for the foreseeable future.

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and just as importantly, looking 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. So, we make resolutions. Here are the ten most common ones...

Recent polls suggest 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 a favorite restaurant or take the family to apopular Pittsburgh places for family fun. Don't forget-family comes first!

2.  Fit in Some 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 the Peace Marathon?

3.  Tame the Bulge

Over 60% of 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. And don't think we're ok here in Japan. Sure, it's not nearly as epidemic as it is in the States, but it's a growing problem. Twenty years ago, only 3% of the population was obese, now it's almost 20%!

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!

5.  Enjoy Life More

Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of people, 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! You don't have to move out of the city or join a commune; 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. 

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. 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? For most people it is, and this is the worst time of year to get in debt back home. Lots of people must want to break the debt habit, because this is on the top 10 list. It makes sense though...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. There are a plethora of culture centres in Hiroshima that offer a wide variety of "lifelong learning" courses. 

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. Or if your time is really in short supply, maybe you can at least find it in you to donate 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, being organized makes your life less stressed.

And there you have it, the top 10 most common New Year's Resolutions...which one or ones are on your list this year? I still haven't decided...

Have a great day!

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