New year, new you. It’s the message on every other TV commercial, magazine cover and lips of self-help gurus.
The new year indicates to so many that it’s time to get started on all those goals that were pushed aside throughout the old year: Read more, eat better, quit smoking.
But it can all be so overwhelming. You can’t be expected to do it all.
We spoke with some local experts to help get you started on some of those goals.
Step 1: Go to the library.
If you don’t know what you like to read, ask a staff member for help. The library has prepared reading lists for different genres such as romance, mystery and Christian, says Michael Clegg, associate director of the Allen County Public Library. If you have a favorite author in mind, a librarian can point you in the right direction.
We have staff members who can say, If you like Peter James, you are probably going to like Agatha Christie,’ or some other mystery writer, Clegg says.
Step 1: Find help
Quitting smoking is easier to do with a support system, says Kathleen Gerhart, coordinator of the Tobacco Intervention Program through the Lutheran Health Network. She says it’s important for people to do something more organized than waking up one day and saying, I want to quit smoking.
Gerhart suggests finding a support group or smoking cessation class – for example, Lutheran offers the Tobacco Intervention Program, which is 12 weeks.
Too many people go it alone, and it’s a very hard addiction to deal with yourself, she says. Don’t go it alone.
Step 1: Go to VolunteerFortWayne.org
The website VolunteerFortWayne.org lists a variety of volunteer activities, which is ideal for people who want to volunteer but are unsure what they want to do, says Jean Joley, executive director of the Volunteer Center in Fort Wayne. The website offers lists of one-time events, for those who don’t want a commitment; and long-term volunteer activities, for those who want to stick with a particular group.
According to the Volunteering and Civic Life in America report from last year, the most common place for Hoosiers to volunteer is religious groups (more than 40 percent), Joley says. This would be something like volunteering at a church or faith-based group soup kitchen. Second is education (more than 13 percent), which would include opportunities such as tutoring or mentoring students.
Step 1: Keep track of what you eat
The first step to eating healthier is to assess what you’re doing wrong, says Sue Delagrange, a Fort Wayne registered dietitian. And the best way to do that is to keep track of what you eat.
My phone has been ringing off the hook since the day after Christmas because they don’t know where to start, says Delagrange, who also specializes in sports dietetics.
Without keeping track of what you eat, it’s easy to underestimate how much you eat and overestimate how much activity you have, she says. Plus, because everyone has different eating habits, each plan should be tailored differently. Consider the difference between men and women.
Most women don’t eat enough protein, but we love our carbs, Delagrange says. Most men don’t have a problem with protein but eat too much fat.