New Year’s resolutions made easy


Resolutions don’t typically work, because making drastic changes are a set-up for failure. Small changes over time are the way to go, so we’ve reworked those so-called resolutions to make sure they last all the year through.

New year resolution to-do notes |

Can’t lose weight?

Get off the treadmill! Fitness expert Jim Karas says that if weight loss is your long-term goal, then there is only one way to achieve it, and that is with strength training. Incorporate a workout regimen likecalisthenics into your routine, and introduce weights into the program for more of a challenge. If you weren’t a gym member in 2013, you won’t need to be in 2014 — your body and a few dumbbells are all you need.

Eat like the Greeks
Apple |

They invented the alphabet and democracy, and they also created a healthy way to eat. A Mediterranean diet consists of mostly plant-based foods, fish and poultry, uses olive oil rather than butter and favours herbs and spices over salt for flavouring. The Mayo Clinic reports that an analysis of over 1.5 million healthy adults maintained that a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease and cancer-related deaths in addition to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. You’ll look and feel like a goddess in no time!


Track your progress by monitoring what you’re ingesting with a food journal, and tape it to the fridge.

Be cheap

Saving seems nearly impossible with all the expenses that add up, but skip out on that latte at least once a week, and put that money in a jar. Save your receipts, see where your money is going, and assess where you can make cuts. But best of all, plan out your spending with a budget. Financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “Spend every dime on paper before the month begins.” You’ll have a clear idea of where every dollar needs to go and realize there might be a little left over for your rainy-day fund.

Get social (and save a life)

Not online, but the old-fashioned way — surround yourself with friends and family. Make it a point to spend time with those who matter to you. According to Scientific American, the health benefits of social relationships and increased contact with loved ones include a decreased risk of death in young women with breast cancer. So stop saying you should hang out, and have Siri block off a day and time in the ol’ iPhone.

Become a frequent flyerRoad map |

Make like George Clooney in Up in the Air, and start earning travel rewards by travelling. The excuse of no money, while valid, is still just an excuse. Don’t wait for the right time, because there will always be a reason not to do something. So start packing, because your vacation awaits thanks to SheKnows’ thrifty travel tips. But first, head to the bank, open up a savings account specifically for travel, and arrange for a portion of your paycheque to automatically be deposited.

Turn off the TV

Have you been PVR’ing a show just because you’ve been a fan forever, but you’re not really into it? Give up one show, and gain 30 to 60 minutes each week. The more time spent in front of a screen means less physical activity, which increases your chances of becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. A recent study found that those who watched more than two hours of TV a day ate more (and usually not carrots, but the other C-word: chips and other processed snacks). The average Canadian spends 30 hours a week watching TV, which makes cutting back to 29.5 entirely doable.

Try something new

The unknown can be daunting, but once you commit to an idea, you’re halfway there. Been meaning to try yoga but just can’t muster up the courage to attend in all your spandex glory? Then buy a DVD, and sweat it out from the comfort of your home. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Jefferson sounds much like a yogi to us.

Volunteering decreases depression

Spend time helping others, and reduce your risk of depression. Volunteering keeps you social and interacting with others while developing a strong support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you fall upon tough times, say the experts at Go on down to your local soup kitchen, animal shelter or retirement community, and see how you can lend your skills and be of service. Better yet, grab a friend or the whole family, and band together to do good.

Reading equals more brain power

Maybe you can’t get away right now, but you can go on an imaginary journey. Read your way to an exotic location. Draw a bath, light a few candles, and escape from the every day. Not only does reading do wonders to calm the mind, but researchers claim it helps to preserve those brain cells and memory into old age.

Mandatory date nightRose |

Perhaps you once scoffed at the idea of having to make time for each other, but with the kids’ after-school programs and weekend activities, once a week is unrealistic. The first Friday of every month (or any day of the week that’s convenient for you) is now your designated date night. Go with your partner to a new restaurant in the city, and enjoy alone time, talking about adult things with your spouse.

We would like to wish you all the best for the coming year, and hope this list helps you be bold and get noticed in 2014.

More ways to be bold in 2014

Your get-ahead plan at work
New tricks to try in the bedroom

Simple ways to show your love

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Top 5 NYE Extravaganzas

Given the world didn’t end a la Mayan Calendar conundrum, plan a night to remember and ring in 2013 in style; whatever your style is.

nyemask6Masked Avengers

Should auld acquaintance be forgot? In memoriam of Gossip Girl, throw yourself an outrageous Upper East Sider a la scandalous TV series. Or, head to Toronto’s upper east side for some masquerade fun at Yorkville’s Club V. Come for the free mask, stay for the midnight champagne toast (F.Y.I.: FREE masquerade masks for the first 400 people). Completing the Gossip Girl/NYC experience is the live countdown from Manhattan’s Times Square.

Bloor-Hot-Docs-cinema-320x213Bowl the night away

In complete contrast to a girlie Gossip Girl evening, this one’s more guy-centric, and aptly named THE DUDE’S NEW YEAR’S: THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Usher in the new year with a screening of the Coen Bros’ cult classic at Bloor Cinema. A Lebowski-themed party, filled with White Russians, AND bowling await you.

Skyfall_11_hLet the sky fall

Celebrate the 23rd Bond story, and have a Skyfall soiree in honour of the longest-running film franchise in history. Here’s hoping your party is a smashing successful like this film was at the box office this year. The heavily anticipated installment in the bond series drips with luxury, and sets the tone for an evening of extravagance. Tell your agents to come dressed as Bond, James Bond, or one of the many bodacious Bond girls. Naturally, you’ll serve shaken, not stirred vodka martinis while Adele sings in the background.

Side effect: Your get-together will get everyone geared up for TIFF Bell Lightbox’s Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style which debuts in January. It’s only the largest and most comprehensive exhibit dedicated to the British spy.


Mackenzie House (AKA the home turned museum of William Lyon Mackenzie: TO’s first Mayor) is hosting a Hogmanay! You know, the Scottish word for the last day of the year, and the celebration of the new year? It’s perfect seeing as Scotsman Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Syne is synonymous with NYE. Traditional Scottish music, food and festivities are yours to enjoy by candlelight.

P.S.: Pre-registration is required.

cake5Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake

Have your cake and drink it too. With a wide selection of sweet (& cheap) drinks to choose from, it doesn’t have to be your birthday to take advantage of these deals. Cake has some calorie-rich group rates that should not be over-looked, including mixers, party favours, cake platters, and much more!



Resolutely Making Resolutions

It’s a new year, time to start afresh. It has become tradition for many to make drastic changes after the clock strikes midnight.

“Diet begins in the new year!” Sound familiar? Band-aid solutions do not last. As adhesive wears away, your resolution will too. Aim for small adjustments to make sure resolutions endure throughout the year.

Get active. Not to sound like Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod from Body Break but, keep fit and have fun. As opposed to saying you need to drop 10 pounds immediately, make getting healthy and working out part of a regular routine. Sign up for a yoga class. The relaxing yogic breath will come in handy once you receive your holiday Visa bill.

Go to the doctor. Be it gyno, dentist, eye doctor, don’t shrug it off. Make an appointment. In conjunction with the prior resolution, making sure you are in good health and physical condition goes hand in hand with any exercise routine.

Quit.. Something. Nix that bad habit today! I did say quick fixes don’t work, so stopping cold turkey may not be the best way to quit. Whatever it is, cigarette smoking, biting your nails, etc. ease out of it. Nicotine patches seem to do the trick, or that awful tasting nail formula.

Start something. If you’re working on the above resolution, you’ll have loads of time to contribute to this new venture. Always wanted to go sky diving? Or, master French cuisine (no, not poutine). Take a class. Get yourself out there. Try something new. Experience the unexperienced.

Volunteer. You’ve always said you’d like to. Go to a homeless shelter, an animal adoption center, or a retirement community. Pay It Forward. (It’s not just an excellent movie; it’s something to live by.)

Make time for family & friends. Don’t say, do. “We should get together!” Sometimes, it’s just a line to aid an awkward good-bye, but if you care about the person you’ve just laid that line on, follow through. Set a date. Choose a time that works for the both of you and your get-together will not slip through the cracks.

Think happy thoughts. Do not focus on that pile of bills or mounds of homework. Shift your thinking to positive things. Regale. Daydream. Try not to do too much of this at work. An exotic beach background on your computer may put some pep in your step. It works better if you actually have a vacation booked or planned for the near future. If not, just be thankful for what you do have. Count your blessings. You’re healthy, (hopefully that doctor appointment went well) and you should be happy. If not, keep reading!

Carpe Diem. Make it count. I am not saying to Eat. Pray. Love. your savings away, but live in the moment. And, it does not have to cost a cent. Appreciate things as they are happening. Often people perpetually live in the past or focus on events to come and today is forgotten. The present is a gift, so take hold and seize the day.

Be not doomed by debt. Think twice before you swipe. Even on something small like your daily cup o’ joe on the way to work. I’m not much for math, but multiply the amount of pumpkin spice lattes and the times you hit up Starbucks each week by 52 and you’ve got yourself a last minute deal on a trip down south, my friend.

Smile. If resolutions aren’t your thing, then at least give this one a shot. It does not take much effort. It is very likely you go around looking grumpy most of the time. Not only will that frown lead to premature wrinkles, but with a smile, you’re making the world a much more beautiful place.

Choose one, do ‘em all, or partake in none of the above. If you’re already a pretty perfect version of yourself, then why have you continued reading this far? Have I still got your attention? Make a change today. Think globally, act locally. Walk to the corner store instead of taking the car. There, you’ve just contributed to society and the environment (and your health; see top of list). Any effort is a good effort. Make 2011 the very best year. (Especially, if you believed what you saw in the film 2012; times a tickin’.)