New Year’s Resolutions Old and New

Top 10 New Year’s resolutions – and some ideas on how to keep them this year.

1) Learn something new.
2016 resolution: Learn to play the piano.
What happened: You realized you’d have to buy a piano and gave up.
2017 resolution: Learn to speak Italian.
What will happen: You’ll find a terrific program online (check out and and reward yourself for completing it with a trip to Italy.

2) Exercise.
2016 resolution: Go to the gym at least three times a week.
What happened: You went to the gym three times.
2017 resolution: You’ll start walking briskly/and or climbing stairs for 10 minutes every other day (in condo hallways or at a mall if the weather is bad) and gradually build it up to 30 minutes.

3) Drink much less alcohol and much more water.
2016 resolution: Booze on weekends only and 2 liters of water every day.
What happened: No booze on Jan. 1 but back to drinking on Jan 2. Water? What’s that?
2017: Until Valentine’s Day, you’ll choose just one drink on weekdays (one cocktail, a beer, glass of wine or after-dinner drink ), then extend that to weekends only, then set a two drink limit on each day of the weekend. Long weekends are negotiable. At the same time, you’ll drink one glass of water every day, and every month, add another glass of water until, by summer, you’re drinking 6 glasses of water a day

4) Answer emails, pay bills on time, be punctual.
2016: Do all of the above
What happened: Nothing
2017: Begin by answering at least one email by the end of the day and paying one bill on time at the end of the week. Set a watch ahead by 7 minutes and consult your watch, not your smart phone for the time. Prepare for appointments as if they were 15 minutes earlier.

5) Find or dump a partner/spouse (or do both, but not simultaneously).
2016: Start a whole new life.
What happened: You checked out, despaired, and went back to watching Big Bang Theory
2017: Do everything possible to salvage a relationship that’s not working, try to communicate better, see a family therapist. If nothing works, get your ducks in order to prepare for a clean break. Do the spade work for digging up a new partner. Read and talk to people about how to navigate online dating, then post a killer of a profile and picture on sites for older people and niche sites that suit you. Be honest (well, almost; everybody shaves off a few years.)

6) Lose weight
2016: Start by losing 10 pounds, then lose another 10 pounds by summer.
What happened: You put on seven.
2017: First you’ll get rid of everything at home or at work (or in the glove compartment of the car; we know who you are) that is both fattening and irresistible to you. That means everything, even the cookies in the emergency cache. Then you’ll join Weight Watchers or decide to stick with a diet that’s proven to work (The Fast Metabolism Diet is a winner) even if it’s one you devise for yourself. You’ll commit to it for four weeks straight with no cheating whatsoever. You’ll keep reminding yourself that you can do anything if it’s just four weeks. Then re-evaluate.

7) Stop smoking.
2016: Cold turkey.
What happened: Cold? You’re talkin’ cold? It’s frigid smoking outside in the snow.
2017: You’ll read everything you can find about how smoking can kill you. Sign up for reputable smoking cessation programs, for example, the one offered by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. Call the Smokers’ Helpline (1-877-513-5333), a service of the Canadian Cancer Society.

8) Spend more time with family/friends.
2016: You made arrangements to have lunch or coffee and conversations with friends or cousins you haven’t kept up with as much as you’d like and planned to keep it up all year long.
What happened: U txtd 2 cncl.
2017: You’ll invite them to your place because you can’t keep making excuses for cancelling an invitation to visit your home.

9) Spend less money.
2016: Buy nothing that’s not needed.
What happened: The definition of need changed.
2017: You’ll put a dollar limit — $10, $40, whatever your budget calls for — on the purchase of all tchotchkes. You’ll pay cash for everything but groceries and household expenses until your credit cards are paid off. You’ll play Solitaire or some other game online instead of going to the shopping sites.

10) Eat healthier, cook more.
2016: Make soups and stews with lentils, beans and other good stuff and freeze so there’s always something homemade and healthy available.
What happened: Lean Cuisine.
2017: Set aside a few hours once a week, on weekends if necessary, to cook, starting with simple recipes and not too many ingredients. Make sure you have all the ingredients on hand.