Kick Off the New Year Right

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsWe are days away from the New Year where we set time aside to jot down lofty goals and intentions, which can be great, but may contribute to someone feeling overwhelmed. Instead of trying to hike the Inca Trail in Peru or take a trip around the Mediterranean, or go vegan we have a few resolutions that you may actually keep.

Read and Finish Several Books
According to the Pew Research Center, the average American reads, “in part or in whole,” a dozen books per year. Well, this year, there’s no need to go above and beyond; just be a touch above average. Vow to be on the “in whole” end of the spectrum by actually finishing all 12 books you pick up this year.

Cook Dinner Once a Week
When you eat out—particularly at fast-food or fast-casual chains—you have precisely zero way of knowing what, exactly, goes into your food. There very well could be unhealthy fats and oils in each dish, all of which contribute to weight gain. By cooking in your own kitchen, you can control every ingredient that goes into your meals—and your body. This year, make dinner at home at least one night a week.

Stand for an Hour Each Day
Spending eight hours (or more!) hunched over a keyboard is—and surely this will shock you—bad for your health. Every second you spend at your desk can increase your risk of depression and slow your metabolism, among other potential consequences. So, this coming year, vow to stand up at your desk more. Dedicating just 10 minutes of every hour to standing up creates more than an hour each day that you’re not sitting.

Increase Your Minimum Credit Card Payments
Falling into a credit cycle where you make the minimum payment each month sure is tempting. We get it: Now’s not really the best time, and you can just deal with it later. But you’re only digging yourself into deeper debt.

The recommended amount of exercise you need per week varies depending on who you ask, but for most of us, the answer is—more than we’re getting now. Try committing to three hours per week, since just two-and-a-half hours can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. If that sounds daunting, consider breaking it up in a way that fits your schedule: Maybe you spend an hour at the gym twice a week, and do 30-minute workouts at home on two other days.

Take Your Coffee Black
A cup of black coffee has fewer than 5 calories. A cup with cream and sugar can have up to 100—and that doesn’t even account for the excess fat and glucose in your diet, which can contribute to heart disease and diabetes. Also, drinking black coffee has tons of health benefits. In other words, the only logical reason to not switch to black coffee is because you can’t stand the flavor. So try switching to a light roast: It’s naturally sweeter—and naturally more caffeinated.

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