“I only spend $ 40 a month on coffee drinks now. I have my budget on a spreadsheet,” commented my older daughter and coffee lover.
My daughter’s goal in 2021 was to spend less money on coffee, so spending $ 10 a week was an improvement. Paying rent and other expenses outside the home has made her more financially savvy.
At this time of year, many people set some kind of goal or “decision”. Some goals are related to finances, career aspirations, nutrition, fitness or a variety of other topics.
But extreme New Year’s resolutions tend to be short-lived. If you want to set a goal, try this activity. Write down a specific goal, three reasons why you want to reach the goal and five ways to make it happen.
My goal is to get more exercise in the new year. During the pandemic, I unfortunately became quite sedentary. I used to walk across campus for meetings in all kinds of weather and sometimes on icy paths. Now, almost all of my meetings are held by Zoom from my desk, even in the summer.
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The tunnel, which previously allowed me to go from building to building indoors, has been closed for many months for repair.
I started eating my lunch at my desk instead of going to the next building. My former lunch group eats according to their own schedules instead of meeting to eat together, as we used to do.
I have many excuses, right?
I know my sloth-like antisocial behavior is not good for me. I even stopped carrying my pedometer. The little electronic device made me feel guilty with its incessant reminders of the number of steps I was given.
On a positive note, I walk up the stairs to the third floor every day when I arrive. Some days it is very tempting to take the elevator. I volunteer to get the mail every day, so it’s a few more stairs. To clear my head between tasks, I sometimes walk in the hallways.
In the coming year, my goal is to get more physical activity. I have some good reasons why we should keep fitness as a goal. Physical activity strengthens our muscles and helps us maintain our weight or even lose a few pounds. Regular physical activity helps reduce our risk of chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
If getting more physical activity is among your goals, consider these tips based on the health recommendations from www.choosemyplate.gov.
Explore physical activities that suit your abilities and interests. See “Stretching Toward Better Health” at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/health-fitness/stretching-toward-better-health to learn how to stretch while sitting.
Build your physical activity level slowly. This will help prevent injury and may motivate you to continue.
If you are hoping for a health benefit, do moderate physical activity that will make your heart pump for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, but not all in one day. Spread the activities out over the week and aim for 10 minutes of activity at a time. In the Midwest winters, walking indoors or cross-country skiing are great ideas.
Aim for strength training twice a week. Try sit-ups or push-ups or use resistance bands. Even full cans of food can serve as weights.
Make active choices throughout the day. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator and opting for a 10-minute walk during a work break can help achieve fitness goals.
Try different activities. Many online fitness options are available, or take out the old DVDs and put them in and exercise with them.
Plan your workout time and find a buddy to motivate you. Maybe exercising in the morning or in the afternoon hours works best for you and your fitness buddy.
Set a goal. Set your goal on a mirror or refrigerator as a reminder. You can even set a timer on a phone.
In winter, you may be tempted to take a walk with a hot beverage. A cup of plain tea or coffee without added sweeteners has only a few calories. If you want a homemade special drink, try this tasty tea blend recipe from North Carolina’s “Eat Smart, Move More” website. It is cheaper and less caloric with 45 calories per serving. cup than many of the hot specialty drinks.
1 cup fat-free powdered milk
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla flavor in powder form, non-dairy
1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons crushed cinnamon
1 teaspoon crushed cloves
1 teaspoon crushed cardamom
Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time until the mixture is the consistency of fine powder. To make tea, stir two heaped tablespoons of chai tea mixture into a cup of warm water.
Makes about 48 servings. Each serving has 45 calories, 1 gram (g) of fat, 9 g of carbohydrate, 1 g of protein and 10 milligrams of sodium.
Julie Garden-Robinson is an NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist and Professor.