New Year’s Resolution: Living Without Television

What to Do when the TV Goes Off

After spending a few years in college learning about art, advertising, and the media, I quickly decided that I no longer wanted television controlling my thoughts and my life. I turned the TV off and haven’t gone back to it since.

For over a year, my husband and I lived in a tent in Hawaii. We were looking for adventure and wanted to make a fresh start. That year without electricity or running water went by peacefully without the need for a television. All we had to do was find activities that appealed to us.

There are many fun things that you can do instead of watching TV. You could do some of the obvious things such as read library books and play cards. There are video games, of course, but if you are uninterested in TV, you are probably not very likely to want to take up another bad habit. Instead, try some of the following ideas to stay busy.

Audio books are one of my favorite pastimes because I can listen to them and get other things done at the same time. I can sew, cook, clean, paint, and even do handcrafts and other hobbies while listening to great stories. Audio books tend to be very expensive, but you can check out as many as you like for free from your local library. I enjoy listening to the classics that we did not read in school. I have discovered that they are famous not because they are boring (a fact we thought we knew in high school), but because they are wonderful! Audio books make work go by faster and make tedious tasks enjoyable.

Take up a worthwhile hobby. Many hobbies can also bring in money. Many people say that there are things they wish they could do but have never tried or did not have the time. Sewing, quilting, woodworking, model building, art, photography, jewelry making, knitting, weaving, spinning, toy making, pysanky, soap making, cooking, dollhouse miniatures, and even writing are all great creative hobbies that can bring in a little extra cash.

If you enjoy working in the earth, you could take up gardening. Gardening is hard work, but is also very rewarding, especially if you grow your own food. Start with what is easy and work your way up. You will be so proud of the results.

Have you ever wanted to take up a sport? What about fencing, boxing, surfing, bicycling, or skateboarding? Perhaps you have always dreamed of learning how to ride horses. You could always take lessons or rent a horse to ride in your spare time. There is also hula and other types of dancing. Dancing is great fun and preferable for those who are not very fond of exercise.

I could never name every great activity in this article, but perhaps I have given you a few good ideas on how to live without a TV. You may also be interested in some of the following activities:

Work out/exercise

Volunteer to clean up the roadside

Get a metal detector and go treasure hunting

Learn something new

Go to a zoo, museum, or art gallery

Work on a puzzle

Start an aquarium or build a pond

Write a novel or write poetry

Start a home decorating project

Make handmade toys for children you know

Watch a movie

Start or join a band

Bake yourself a treat or learn to cook

Go for a long walk with your dog

Play board games with friends and loved ones

Go camping

Go out on a date or meet someone new

Go fishing

Sell some of your things on Ebay

Look for shells on the beach

Go swimming or waterskiing

Catch up on all of the things you have been meaning to

Write letters to friends and family

Do arts and crafts

Check out educational films from your local library

Seek out community activities

Go back to school or take classes on the side

Do crosswords and word finds

Organize your photos into albums

Listen to music

Take a walk in the park

Go hiking or spelunking

Go sightseeing in your town

Write up a family tree and learn your family history

Join a local theater and act in a play

Learn to make your own beer or wine

Find ways to better yourself

New Year’s Resolution – Replace that Chair with an Exercise Yoga/Training Ball

It has been over a year since I replace my expensive, “ergonomic “, desk chair for your basic eight dollar exercising ball at Target (or anywhere else that sells it $6 to $12). I can highly recommend it to anyone that sit on their butt for hours each day and starting to see or becoming health consciously aware that your stomach, love handles or butt is getting bigger every day.

It all started when I was sitting on my super expensive chair at the office. I read some articles about how there a new trend of people was switching their chair for an exercise ball. There was a teacher who brought 30 exercise yoga balls for her students in an elementary class. She saw vast improvement in focus and a lot less slouching in her students. Then I began searching for other articles and found several research papers on how sitting on a yoga exercise ball instead of a chair help improve your core muscles, leg muscles and your back. You are also losing calories as you are constantly using your legs to balance yourself on the ball.

I approach the change with a lot of dedication. However, I did not do a radical change as I kept my old chair and the new yoga exercise ball. This is not for everyone and it is something you have to get your body adjusted. It is recommended you try sitting on the ball 30 minutes at a time and rotate with your old chair. After a month or so, I donated my chair to someone and have been sitting on my exercise ball full time.

It is important that you keep yourself sitting properly on the exercise ball (sitting down, two legs on the floor and back straight). Anything else like slouching or legs crossed will not give you the benefits of sitting on an exercise ball. In the beginning, you will have to remind yourself to sit up straight and allow your core muscles to do the work. Eventually, you will see improvements in your back and your posture.

Another advantage of changing your chair is that it becomes your very own personal exercise machine and a great way to take a quick break. There are several great exercising methods that use the ball like sit ups, or just bouncing up and down. It is great for people that do not have the time to go to the gym after work or need a break for the creative ideas to flow out. You can find quick workouts on the internet that uses the exercise ball. My favorite is just bouncing up and down because it is a good workout for the legs and core muscles, and really fun.

Your ball should be properly maintained such as making sure nothing sharp is on the floor. You should clean the ball every now and then and do not let the ball get deflated too much. You should not sit on the ball for more than an hour at a time. Get up and stretch your legs before sitting down again. This is by no means a full body workout. It is just a better way to sit on your butt if you have an office job that requires long hours of sitting on your butt.

New Year, New You, Gets Me Every Time

They started before the left over Thanksgiving turkey had a chance to congeal in the fridge. Before the shortening days of fall had adjusted my circadian rhythm, telling my internal clock that it was time to rest up. Even before I had switched to my winter pants, yes pants.

I could hear them as the fridge door came shut during a commercial break… “Order your Abdominator 5000 today for only three easy payments of $19.99.” As I grabbed a bag of Orville’s Butterlicous Popcorn out of the microwave, “Why put off the ‘new you’ until next year? Just take two pills….”

Really, in November? I remember when my mom and her friends would talk about losing a little of their winter fluff in late February, “I simply must get back into my shorts.” What had started with the necessity getting back into last year’s clothes, had somehow evolved into a million dollar machine. Everybody is pushing to get a piece of that fitness pie. I think even Santa’s elves are cashing in by working part time at Wal Mart, because if you checked on Christmas Eve, the aisles and end-caps of that mega mart were filled with last minute gift ideas, but somehow magically they switched to jump ropes and yoga mats by the morning of the 26th.

Can I get a show of hands of how many of you have an abandoned elliptical machine now serving as a clothes hanging station in your spare bedroom because you bought into this post holiday fervor? They get us every year with that new must have weight loss gimmick and yet we gladly return annually in hopes of finding that magic elixir.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand capitalism and everyone’s aim to cash in on our desire to make amends for our holiday indulgence, but the massive psychologically based commercial attacks are getting a bit much for me to take. It is natural to put on a little weight during the winter months, right?

The human species has had centuries of conditioning that tell us to build our reserves and seek more rest as the cold and wintery months approach. Ancestrally those that did not heed this warning to insulate for winter risked exposing themselves to illnesses and possibly even death from pneumonia…. at least that is what I tell myself.

You see there is a little secret I probably haven’t shared with you. I am yo-yo dieter and exerciser extraordinaire. I have been on and off that wagons so many times that the wheels are getting wobbly. My long founded bought with the winter weight loss roller coaster makes Oprah Winfrey look like the picture of consistency.

It is with that struggle in mind that I can no longer take the indictment by the sleek and slender, demanding that I should change my evil ways. I really do not need some well oiled Adonis, fresh from finishing a 30 minute workout, telling me this is the year that we make the “new” me. Come on he isn’t even breathing hard.

Our growing nation does need to get focused on our collective health or lack thereof. Each generation is getting exponentially bigger; this is a trend that must be reversed. My beef is with the commercial and almost subliminal way this need is fed to us at possibly our weakest time.

The ad guys know that we buy into that dream, which is what makes them big bucks. That is also what keeps me on the yo-yo. Set a goal that is unreachable, work, fail, quit, repeat.

The possibility of molding myself into a Greek god has long passed, if it was ever there. This year I am going to take a more rational approach to improving my health and well being. Instead of setting my sights on running a marathon, I will try to walk five times a week. Instead of completely giving up carbs, I will try to cut out late night snacks. Instead of giving away my winter pants, you know the ones that are a couple inches bigger than my summer ones; I am going to keep them, because nothing kills your will to be healthy quicker than tight pants.

A Parents Resolution for Their Kids

Introducing Art and Entertainment

For this upcoming year I want to engage my children in the arts. I believe that by introducing my children to the arts it will open their imagination and allow them to broaden their horizons to include more than playing video games and hopefully pique their interest to create a new hobby or possibly a profession.

Exploring arts and entertainment I feel will allow my children to witness creative and entertaining ways to let their imagination run wild. According to MaryAnn F. Kohl’s article “The Importance of Art in a Child’s Development: Children develop life skills through engaging in art activities. Such skills include: Communication skills; by using non verbal images to relay what they might be feeling, problem-solving skills; by discovering the “how and “why” and showing children that a problem may have more than one resolution, social and emotion skills; by showcasing individuality and accomplishment, fine motor skills; such as holding a paint brush or controlling the glue being squeezed out, self-expression and creativity; by not only the artwork itself but in the manner of creating the art can be a direct expression of your child’s feelings at the time and also allows freethinking, experimentation and analysis. Not only does visual art stimulate the brain, but also musical and art in motion go a long way in developing young minds. According to the Science Daily’s article “First Evidence That Musical Training Affects Brain Development In Young Children”: Researchers have found the first evidence that young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year compared to children who do not receive musical training.

Here in Birmingham, AL we have many options that are great for children. The Birmingham Museum of Art is open most days of the week and is free to the public, and also has a special kid’s hands on room. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a free and beautiful outdoor space that lends itself to local photography and artists alike, and actually offers photography classes throughout the seasons. The Birmingham Ballet has a wonderfully talented company of dancers and has performances throughout the year, including a yearly performance of The Nutcracker. The local Children’s Theatre is a wonderful way of introducing the world of dramatic acting to young children by acting out all of their favorite fairy tales and musicals.

I pledge this year to start taking back my weekends and using them to promote the arts and spending time with my family.

New Year’s Resolutions

Why Do We Make Them

New Year’s Resolutions are a tradition with a long history. It could date back to the time of Julius Caesar, who started the practice to honor the god Janus.

What exactly is a resolution? It can be a formal expression of your intent, a decision or determination. It’s a promise for the New Year.

But why do we make resolutions? Many of us don’t make it to the end of January before we’ve given up on them. Most won’t make it past February. So why do we keep making resolutions we know we won’t keep?

One reason is the hope of a new beginning. The New Year offers us a chance to start over and make changes. We know there are things we would like to change in our lives and the New Year marks a new beginning. We can start our new life with the New Year.

Self-improvement is another reason we make resolutions. We want to get fit, quit smoking, lose weight, or make more money. But we’ve been putting it off, thinking we’ll begin next week, next month. The New Year gives us a starting point to prepare for the changes we wish to achieve during the next year. We know the New Year is on the way. If we’re going to begin something new, this would be the time. Think of it as the starting line for a race. You know that once you’re at the starting line, the challenge is on. It’s time to give all you’ve got to reach the finish line-next New Year’s Day.

And part of it is tradition. It’s what we do on New Year’s Day. We’ve grown up with the idea of resolutions for the New Year. We talk to our friends about the resolutions we’re going to make, or ask what their resolutions are for the coming year.

Many of us begin to think about our resolutions while we’re still Christmas shopping. We start to prepare mentally for making our resolutions. What do I want to change about myself, my life, my income, or my job? How can I make things better for my family in the coming year?

Making resolutions is a good thing. It shows that we believe we have the ability to make changes in our life. Making resolutions can get you closer to achieving your goals. It’s a first step along the path.

So go ahead and make those resolutions. Make them achievable, make them real, and make next year an awesome year for you and your family.

New Year Resolutions

New Year Resolutions.

January first – what a thirst I have.
Gave up the booze this morning,
what a yearning I have
for a cigarette, how can I forget
I gave them up too.
I know what I’ll do,
I’ll have a coffee and some toffee.
Oh no they’re not allowed,
I vowed not to partake.
How I hate new year resolutions,
I know the solution,
I’ll start them tomorrow.

New Year’s Resolutions I’m Sure to Keep

The tail end of 2018 was, in a word, disappointing. If I were to compare it to anything, I’d have to say it was like Rafael Nadal’s tennis career in 2018: it started off with one hell of a bang and ended in physical, mental, and familial pain. However, I’m going to attempt to walk the same line as my favourite tennis star and end last year with a positive glance towards this year’s future.

As with Rafa, the biggest disappointment was always my performance and my lack of confidence going into everything I did –something that’s just not keeping in line with my motto to always go for it with everything, no matter the inevitable outcome or the way certain situations seem to be sucking the life force out of you. As I am writer and not an athlete, I didn’t have the added pressures of expectation from a world-wide multitude to appease; however, no one is ever without her exterior forces pressing relentlessly on her psyche. As that minute –yet staggeringly incorrigible– pressure built up in my life, I began to crumble mentally and emotionally, leaving my creativity halted and my goals for literary domination on the back burner until I could get myself together. And thusly we come to the first of my resolutions: damn the rabble! I’ve worked too hard for far too long to break myself from the vice grip of expectation to regress to the high school mentality that I must please everyone around me. My focus should always be what is best for me, and me alone.

Emotionally, I was in a place that no one should ever be. No matter you experience with depression –personal or vicarious– it’s not a good look. Quite frankly, there were moments when getting out of bed was an impossibility. There were a number of reasons why interaction with the outside world was just not an option, none more potent than the ever imposing figure of filial piety. My family and I are close –perhaps a little more than necessary. As such, the amount of strain that pulls on one’s personal life is augmented with the presence of an all encompassing family dynamic. And this brings me to my next resolution: get out of the house. That either seems incredibly insensitive or a resounding “duh” moment. Getting one’s self out of the clutches of her family isn’t as simple as it seems. If you’re incapable of holding dominion over your own finances, things are constantly floating among the clouds. But this year, despite having limited fiscal provisions, I shall be released from the bedsheets and walk amongst the living…away from my family.

Rafa stated that his batteries needed recharging, that his ran out towards the end of the year –which is more than understandable considering the top four tennis players all seemed to have lost a little steam in lieu of the relentless charge of some unexpected competition from the latter half of the top eight. In that regard, there’s nothing could be truer. My batteries were not only spent, I kept throwing them in the fridge until I drained the very last inch of life stitched within the alkaline. I was mentally, physically, and emotional destroyed towards the tail end of 2018, yet found myself always competing for something –money, notoriety, even creative integrity. My final resolution: take a break every now and again. This may actually be the hardest one to keep, but I’m going to try my damndest. I’m only happy when I’m constantly working and writing; however, after nearly 52 weeks of non-stop travelling, working, and bidding for projects my energy was non existent.

Basically, I took a long and hard look at the mistakes I’d made last year and realised it was all based on my inability to look out for myself. This year will be different. It must be different for the sake of my health and for the sake of ending this year at the top of my game, no matter what the outcome. I wish you all the best of luck for the New Year –you as well, Rafa. Give ’em hell!

New Year’s Resolutions: Be Happy and Safe

It’s that time of the year again. .. the holidays are over and the new year is almost upon us. This is the time of year when people start making resolutions for the coming year. People will be making resolutions to loose weight, to quit smoking, to save more money, to keep in touch with family and friends better, and so on and so on.

The tradition of New Years resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C, Janus, a mythical king of early Rome, was placed at the head of the calendar. Janus had two faces and could look back on the past events, and forward into the future as well. Janus became a symbol for resolutions and Romans looked to him for forgiveness from their enemies. They also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year. January was named after Janus as well. At midnight on December 31st, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the next.

Did you know that New Years hasn’t always been on January first either? It also doesn’t begin on that date everywhere today either. Only cultures that use a 365 day calendar celebrate the New Year on January first.When Julius Caesar developed a better way to reflect the seasons with a 365 day calendar in 46 B.C., that’s when the New Year came to be January first. Although the date for New Years is not the same in every culture, it’s always a cause for celebration and customs to try to ensure good luck in the coming year.

I make a couple of resolutions every year. By the end of January I have broken them. This year about 100 million Americans will make New Year’s resolutions. It has been studied and studies have shown that about 60% of people actually have still kept their number one resolution two months later. I was assuming that I just don’t have the will power, but there are a few things that I found out I could try to do to help me keep my resolutions this year! In order to have a fighting chance at keeping your resolutions, the first thing you need to be sure of, is that you have a strong initial commitment to make a change. You also need to make sure that you have some coping strategies to deal with problems, should they arise. Last but not least, keep track of your progress. The more you keep track, the better you will do with your resolutions. There are also some sure fire ways to fail with your resolutions too. Not thinking about your resolution until the very last minute is a big one. Also, reacting on New Years Eve, and basing your resolutions on what’s bothering you at that moment in your life will likely lead to you not keeping your resolutions. One other thing…don’t ‘frame’ your resolutions as an absolute either. None of the phrase, “I’ll never do [that] again this year.

No matter how you celebrate the New Year, or how many resolutions you make this year, be happy and safe, and even if you mess up with your resolutions, try again, sooner or later you’ll get it!

New Year’s Resolutions for a Happier You!

We all make New Year’s resolutions, but for many they are forgotten by the end of January. So how do we keep these yearly goals fresh throughout the year, and also obtainable?

Things to Remember:
If it’s worth making the goal in the first place, then it’s worth printing and posting it where you will see it everyday.

Keep your goals within your reach. Everyone wants to be a millionaire, but make it something you CAN achieve.

Be flexible in your goal-setting. Stating, for example, that you want to buy a new car, but not stating the specific make, model, and color.

Really read your goals monthly, and be honest with yourself if that goal is still important to you, and still achievable. Make any necessary modifications.

Modify your goals as needed. Maybe what was important to you at the first of the year, becomes not as important by April. Maybe something arises in March, that you want to add to your goals for that year.

Always remember that life happens! We don’t always have control over everything that comes up in our lives, or obstacles that arise that delays us in reaching our goals.

Here are my New Year’s Resolutions that I keep every year, that really have made me a happier and better person:

1.) Be the best that you can be at everything you attempt.
2.) Keep a positive attitude at all times.
3.) Strive for success, and don’t let set-backs discourage your attempts.
4.) Take time to enjoy life and have fun.
5.) Give all your love, loyalty, and respect to your partner.
6.) Continue to make a difference in everyone’s life that you come in contact with.
7.) Change “I want to” statements into “I will” statements.
8.) Remember that you don’t need to hear in order to effectively listen.
9.) Always put things into their perspective and relevance to the big picture.
10.) You are only human, and bound to make mistakes along the way. Don’t beat yourself up for it!

I have found, over the past few years, that my resolutions really keep me grounded as to what is important to me. It’s like learning the difference between “needs” and “wants”. We all WANT a lot of things, but we only NEED a few basic things in life to survive.

New Year’s Day Menu: A Healthier Beginning While Keeping with Tradition

We all need as much good luck, wealth and prosperity that we can get with trying to stick to all of our New Year’s resolutions.

Start the New Year off the Southern way. This means eating black-eyed peas and collard greens for good luck and cabbage for prosperity. The traditional Southern New Year’s Eve menu is bursting with yummy butter and heart clogging cholesterol. We do not want to start off the New Year breaking our resolution to eat better.

Instead make Southern Beans and Greens and Grilled Cabbage from dLife.com. dLife is a site devoted to those with diabetes. The recipes are low in sugar, carbohydrates and fat so even if you do not have diabetes eating as if you do is beneficial to your health.

To boost your luck the Southern Beans and Greens combine black-eyed peas and collard greens in a thick concoction of bursting flavor. A serving size is a little over a half a cup with 165 calories, 34 grams carbohydrates and 5 grams of protein. To further reduce calories and fat use low-fat vegetable broth and fresh vegetables. Other versions are 310 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates and 17 grams of protein.

If cabbage increases prosperity then make sure to include dLife’s Grilled Cabbage. This recipe makes 8 servings with 30 calories, 7 grams carbohydrates and 1.5 grams of protein. Grilled Cabbage is a delicious dish even without all of the butter used in similar dishes which contains 131 calories, 14 grams carbohydrates and 3.4 grams of protein.

You do not want to spend all New Year’s Day in the kitchen! Both recipes can be made in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

If cornbread is a must then choose Lower-Fat Cornbread with 60 calories, 11 grams of carbohydrates and 2.8 grams of protein. Compare this to other recipes with 284 calories, 39 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of protein.

Finish off dinner with Tiramisu Bites made with sugar alternative and low fat whipped cream. Classic Tiramisu contains 468 calories, 47 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of protein. dLite’s Tiramisu Bites significantly reduces the calories to 10, .7 grams of carbohydrates and .2 grams of protein. The key with dessert is to indulge with restraint. Always skipping dessert can lead to overindulgence later.

New Year’s Day is not complete without a few cocktails and dessert. Stick with your New Year’s resolution of eating and drinking healthier by watching what goes into your drinks and limiting the size of your dessert.

Stay away from alcoholic beverages with cute names, chocolate and sugar rims. Add-ins can increase the calories in your glass to over 1000. Save calories by mixing your alcohol with diet sodas, light juices, tea and even coffee. Another alternative is to order vodkas infused with natural flavors.

If none of the recipes sound appetizing – feel free to visit the site and perform your own search. You are sure to find something that wets your appetite.

Have a Happy and Healthy 2019!