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Five Things| New Year's Resolutions worth keeping

Marine Science Center volunteer Sharon Larsen shows off a starfish to visitor Justin Anderson. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Marine Science Center volunteer Sharon Larsen shows off a starfish to visitor Justin Anderson.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

When none of us were looking, calendars everywhere sneakily turned to 2010, leaving us to scratch our heads and wonder where the time went. (Remember Y2K? It’s been a decade. Yeesh.)

Every year, voices heralding “carpe diem” and “what if today was your last?” inevitably crescendo into a flood of harmonious New Year’s resolution cliches. But cliches become cliches for a reason, we at What’s Up suppose, so we’ve decided to (ahem) bite the bullet and give you five boosters to your resolution resolve, one for each of the most popular new year goals around.

No more “someday mode”

Oh, the plight of the treadmill, purchased with good intentions, but met by a dusty, unused fate. Now is the time of year, between Christmas and before Valentine’s, when fitness spending is all the rage. More often than not, it seems items bought end up at next summer’s garage sale.

So why not hit the great outdoors? For one, it’s free. And don’t let the word hiking scare you. A little secret: “hiking” is just walking, but in the woods. There are dozens of trails in the area, all over the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, leading to and from parks, shores and hot springs. The options to loosening your belt outside the gym aren’t endless, but there are too many for us to count. Get started by finding places you want to explore at www.visitkitsap.com.

Stop spending and save

Saving money and getting out of debt aren’t just common goals, they’ve become topic darlings of the blogging world; an online self-help atmosphere of accountability and story-sharing. Start one yourself and blog about reaching short-term targets (maybe your mom and friends will read it, maybe only a few strangers) or find a few to keep up with as inspiration. Check out ManvsDebt.com, among others.

Take back your time

It’s typical to make a job switch a new year’s aim, but this year is a bit different. Right now, there aren’t many open jobs, and What’s Up is not about to tell you to quit the one you have. But that doesn’t mean everything should stay as it always has been. Seattle-based Take Back Your Time, a worker’s initiative, is encouraging Americans to grab hold of the reigns on their quality of life. Americans jeopardize their health and relationships working more hours now than in the 1950s, according to the group. It also contends Americans work more hours than did medieval peasants, more hours than citizens of any other industrial country and nearly nine full weeks more per year than our Western European counterparts. Take off some pressure in your life and learn more at www.timeday.org.

Put down the cigarette

We can’t really help you with this one. If you haven’t already heeded the barrage of anti-smoking ads that bring images of carcinogen-caked lungs into our living rooms, there’s not much else anyone can say. But we’ll offer a few statistics all the same:

Smoking kills. It’s responsible for more deaths than cocaine, car accidents, AIDS, alcohol, heroin, fire, suicide and homicide put together, according to the Foundation for a Smokefree America.

That’s 400,000 deaths in the United States per year — more than 1,200 each day — and between two and three million deaths per year worldwide. To put it to a monetary tune, the United States loses $50 billion each year in lost productivity and increased health care costs due directly to cigarette use, according to the foundation.

Be a volunteer

Ratcheting up volunteer hours is a common good intention, and in Kitsap there’s no excuse for not following through. The Kitsap County Volunteer Services Program places hundreds of people in various county and community groups each year. In 2008, nearly 4,000 people contributed more than 209,000 service hours, according to the program’s Web site. That contribution is valued at more than $4.2 million. Find how you can volunteer through the county’s program at www.kitsapgov.com/volunteer, or check out opportunity source Volunteer Kitsap at www.volunteerkitsap.org.

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