Ways to give back

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During the holiday season, charities across the US see a large increase in the number of volunteers.  As people get into the giving spirit during the holidays, they find great ways to give back, whether it’s donating their time or money to an organization. Unfortunately, after the holiday excitement has come and gone, charities and non-profits oftentimes find themselves still needing enough volunteers.

So if you’re still looking for a New Years resolution that doesn’t involve a daily commitment, but can provide a lasting impact, we’d like to suggest setting a goal for giving back this year.

Need some help getting started? Here are some great ways to get involved in your community:

  • The gift of time – find a non-profit that resonates with something you’re passionate about, whether it’s doing a craft with local nursing home residents, caring for animals at a pet shelter, or putting together packages for military members overseas. By selecting a cause that’s near and dear to your heart, you’re more likely to follow through and the time you spend there will be even more meaningful.
  • Power in numbers – if your skill set includes event planning and a large network of friends and family, consider serving as an fundraising organizer! Community bake sales, rummage sales, and spaghetti dinners not only bring people together, but they can bring in surprising amounts of money for important causes.
  • Get moving – If you enjoy running or walking, there are a number of opportunities to raise money for charity while enjoying the great outdoors. Check to see if your favorite non-profit hosts a run or search for runs here.
  • Just get giving – If you find yourself time-strapped, non-profit organizations are always looking for financial contributions. This allows them to allocate dollars to the places that are most needed, but may not get as much attention. Websites like Guidestar can help you select organizations that are well-known for their fiscal responsibility.

If you still find yourself struggling to find something that’s a good fit for you, check out Volunteermatch.org, a site dedicated to helping you find local charity and volunteer opportunities!

What are some other ways to give back throughout the year to show gratitude for all of the blessings in our lives?

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Free printable New Year’s game

Are you an experienced New Year’s resolution-maker? We know we are!

Whether it’s an organizational, health, or personal commitment we’ve aspired to, there have been a lot of well-intentioned resolutions we’ve made over the years. Some we had the resolve to keep, but some… well? Let’s just say they ended up de-prioritized. (That feels better than “broken,” right?)

So this year we decided to have a little fun. We took some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions and turned them into a free printable New Year’s game. Print extras and challenge some friends at your NYE get-together!

Free Printable New Year's Game

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

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How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year’s resolutions are made with the best of intentions, but as most of us know, that can-do attitude can falter early. Here are some helpful hints on how to stay focused when trying to keep these popular resolutions:

Spend More Quality Time with Family and Friends

Some simple ways to help you get a bit more “you” back into your relationships can include:

  • Be thoughtful – Remember special days like birthdays and anniversaries or just get better at “sayin’ hi” with an ecard, paper card or handwritten note. Try setting up a desktop calendar to help you remember these days and even preschedule your ecards up to a year in advance.
  • Tone trumps text – Yes, texting is easier and does serve its purpose, but hearing the tone of someone’s voice is always more personal. You may even want to set up a specific time and call it a “phone date”, so that you can talk and not be interrupted.
  • Make a date – Use an online reminder service to schedule a date with your friends once a month—a regular “girls night out” or “meet-up anywhere” strategy keeps bonds strong.

Lose Weight

Resolving to lose weight is an important, but difficult goal for many. Stay on track and motivated by incorporating these tips into your routine:

  • Set realistic goals – the key here is to start slow and make a plan.  You didn’t gain the unwanted weight in a day or a week, so don’t expect to lose it that quickly. Make a specific plan vs. just saying “I want to lose weight.” For example, you may want to lose 5 pounds by the end of January.
  • Say cheese – Take a photo of yourself in the beginning and then repeat every 4 weeks. That way it’s not all about the scale, but about how you actually look!
  • Keep a food journal – Writing down your eating habits allows you to see where there’s room for improvement and where you’re succeeding. It is your proof of effort.
  • Pantry overhaul – Post holidays is the perfect time to clean out the “junk food” hiding in your cupboards and fridge. Replace it with fresh veggies and fruits and ditch the soda for low-sugar fruit juices and water.

Get Fit

So, whether this resolution is in conjunction with losing weight or just about exercising more, here are a few more helpful hints:

  • Move! – Increasing your activity level will burn more calories and boost your energy. Consult your doctor or a trainer to determine the best routine for you.  A mix of stretching, cardio and strength training will deliver good results. And, remember if you can’t get to a gym, simple things like taking short walks or using the stairs more will help move your body towards your goal.
  • Set a goal – This is just like losing weight.  Don’t just say “I need to exercise more”, but set a goal like signing up to run a 5K race in the spring!
  •  Lean on your friends – If you have a buddy or neighbor with the same goals, use them as a support system. Having someone to exercise with will help keep you on track and honest in actually getting the physical work done.

It has been said that every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. What are your resolutions and how do you plan to accomplish them?

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A Happy & Healthy New Year!

stay inspired through exercise - ride a bike!

So, we’ve all heard the New Year resolution to get into better shape, but what if we changed it up a bit and stop putting so much pressure on ourselves… This year, try a new kind of work out that you’ve never done before, and better yet, bring someone along! Try yoga with a friend, spinning with your hunny, Tai Chi with a neighbor – even spend some quality time with your pets and take the dog for a daily walk. Whatever it is, take a chance – maybe try something new and different every week – the possibilities are endless…

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