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How to keep your New Year's resolutions

Ahhhhh, a new decade. Time to put 2009 behind us and dive into 2010, a year that promises fresh starts and plenty of potential. This year, you can be fit, fabulous and philanthropic. But let's be realistic: New Year's resolutions are hard to keep. Maybe it's because we set the bar too high or because they're just not fun. Here are some ways to meet the most-often made resolutions. This could be your year!

Get fit

For those of us who need a little kick in the behind, there are fitness boot camps. Believe it or not, some people willingly get up at the crack of dawn to push themselves to the extreme — and they've got the weight loss to show for it. Camps can be found all over town, some coed and others geared for women. Just search online for "fitness boot camp" and your city, and you'll find a few options. Now, go! GIVE ME 20!

Learn something new

Colleges and universities across the region offer continuing education courses, and the University of South Florida has a huge selection, including salsa, business, technology, language and history classes. You can learn about Lowry Park Zoo's animals (with a class that meets at the zoo!) or take an educational tour of Ybor City. Check www.outreach.usf.edu/conted for more information.

Quit smoking

Nicotine patches, support groups and good old fashioned stick-to-it-iveness are soooo 2009. How about electric cigarettes? Or laser therapy? At South Tampa's Laser Therapy Stop Smoking Center, all you need to do is just sit in a chair and a laser will release endorphins, nature's pain reliever, which will help you quit, the company says. Of course, it'd probably be cheaper to just run a mile on a treadmill. Hey, that would also knock out goal No. 1.

Reduce stress

Maybe those mini Zen rock gardens work for you, but for the rest of us, there's yoga. Check your local studio to see if it has a free night, such as the Lotus Room in Tampa on Thursdays. For a more creative option, try Kayoga, a mix of kayaking and yoga, hosted by the Yoga Energy Studio in St. Petersburg. Not into downward dogs? Yoga can still teach you something: Pause for a few deep breaths throughout the day.

Get organized

Wouldn't it be nice if life looked like the cover of Martha Stewart Living? Well, that domestic diva has an army of people working for her, and in 2010, you'll have someone in your court: Tampa businesses Ready to Get Organized and Clutter Free Bug are offering free organizing workshops the second Wednesday of each month in Westchase. If you can't make it, Marie Sanders of Ready to Get Organized offers a tip: Do 10 minutes of clutter clearing each day. Grab a garbage bag and a box for donations and focus on one area. In a month, you will have done five hours of organizing.

Take a trip

A big trip abroad sounds grand, but to save money, consider adding some day trips to your schedule in 2010. Bring a camera, and it'll make for a memorable year. Local stops could include the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, a boat ride in Tarpon Springs, a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright collection at Florida Southern College in Lakeland or a trip to see the manatees at TECO's Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach.

Volunteer

That warm holiday feeling doesn't need to fade. There are plenty of ways to volunteer all year round, whether it's at a food bank, homeless shelter or other nonprofit. Visit www.guidestar.org for a listing of local charities.

Keep that resolution

• Make just one resolution.

• Avoid previous failed resolutions, which might just frustrate you.

• Share it with friends who can hold you accountable.

• Be specific in your plans.

• Work toward minigoals, which will seem less daunting.

Source: Stephen J. Kraus, author of Psychological Foundations of Success

How to keep your New Year's resolutions 12/27/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 28, 2009 7:58am]
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