Mid-life Without the Crisis

It really isn't the destination, but the journey. May be cliche, but it's true.

Monday, January 31, 2011

January Is Over???

Can you believe January is already over?  It seems like just yesterday we were writing our New Year's Resolutions, hanging up our 2011 calendars, and making plans for the brand new year.  And here it is one month gone.

So how are your resolutions going?  Honestly, mine are not going so well.  Between aches, pains and the weather, I'm getting nowhere fast.  I'm hoping February will be a little kinder so I can make some progress.

I did want to point out a few good links for those who are still reaching toward keeping a resolution or looking to check something off the bucket list.  I hope you find these helpful as we move into another month.
  1. Fitness.  Not everyone likes to get outside to work out and many people can't afford a monthly gym membership.  Did you know you can access workouts online for free (or nearly free)?  There's a whole website devoted to exercise called Exercise TV.  You can find mini workouts, full-length routines, and even fitness plans.  (Thanks for the info, Carrie!)  Or if you are a Netflix subscriber, you can access hundreds of workout videos.  Some can only be obtained in disc format sent to you, but there are some you can stream to your computer. 
  2. Healthy food.  It's not always easy to eat right.  Especially with birthday parties, Super Bowl parties, Valentine's Day, or just a normal weekend get-together with friends and family.  All these activities can really tax our efforts to stay on track.  But here are a couple of sites that can help you get back on the wagon, or keep you on it.  First up is Cooking Light's site.  The site focuses on great tasting food without all the fat and calories.  They currently have up lots of great ideas on how to trim down those Super Bowl favorites.  Another site I really like is Jamie Oliver's.  You may not know Jamie, but he is a chef (first known in the US as The Naked Chef because he strips recipes down to their basics.  Get it?) who is dedicated to helping people eat healthfully and encouraging schools to feed kids better.  He is all about good food made from fresh, preferably local, ingredients so you know nothing artificial or unhealthy is going into the finished product.  He has a great newsletter.  (I think if you sign up right now you can get a voucher for Naked Wines, a group of winegrowers with similar passions to Jamie's.)  Definitely check out his great site.
  3. Languages.  I know lots of people have "Learn a language" on their bucket list.  Okay, first of all, you need to pick a language.  Some people think they need to have a reason to learn a specific language, like for work or family.  But actually, it's perfectly fine to pick one just because.  Got your language in mind?  Swahili?  Gaelic?  Lithuanian?  Okay, now head over to Live Mocha and get started.  This is a free website for learning languages.  They use the same principles found in expensive programs, but it's all online and it's free.  They do have some courses you can buy, but for the general interest learner, there is no charge.  In addition, it is a cooperative community where you are graded by speakers of the language you are learning and, in turn, you help those who are learning English.  It's a lot of fun and so easy to use.  I've already completed Swedish 101 and am going to start 102 soon.
  4. Learn something new.  Studies have shown that learning helps keep our brains resilient and less prone to Alzheimer's and other debilitating brain disorders.  So consider learning something new.  A quick glance at my local community college's website shows 3 continuing education courses this week:  quilting, floral arrangement and digital photography.  Check with your local college or university to see what continuing education courses they have.  These are usually short, free or inexpensive courses that teach you the basics of a skill, craft or art.  Or maybe you want to take something more academic, but don't want to actually attend school.  Consider taking free online courses like those listed here.  You can download courses to your mp3 player or computer.  How neat!  I may download Ancient Greek History.  Or if you want a short, informative lecture, check out my favorite learning site TED.com.  The site is full or short lectures on everything from politics to music to art to humor.  It's an amazing site.
So there you have it.  A list of lots of great places to go to get started on your resolutions and/or bucket lists.  And all from the comfort of your computer chair.  What sites do you use to help you reach your goals?

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