New Year’s Resolutions are often viewed as cursed the minute you actually say you’re going to do them. That’s why we’re not calling these our resolutions for the New Year. We’re just saying that they’re good resolutions to consider if you’re unsure of where to start.

1. Lift Weights.

Maybe it’s just the ravages of age and living in a 34-year-old body rather than a 17, but lifting weights isn’t what it used to be. As we age, it gets more difficult on the joints to the point where yours truly is now. I’m just as strong as I ever was, but I’m a lot less enthusiastic about proving it. Still, strength training is a necessary part of staying in shape. It has numerous benefits for core strength, metabolism, and just looking and feeling your best. But if you find age starting to wear on you, stop trying to bend the bar and just worry about good technique and lots of reps.

2. Compete.

In high school, it’s easy. Your whole life is ahead of you. The world is filled with possibilities. It’s easy to sign on for football and work towards your Friday night goals. You have nothing better to do, and it’s a lot of fun being a role model to the younger kids. But very few of us have what it takes to play professional sports. That means when high school or college is done, so is our competitive nature, unless we hone it. City or church league softball games, MMA classes at the local gym, sparring, and training for a marathon, are all great ways of keeping your competitive spirit alive. If you’ve lost it, make 2014 the year you get it back.

3. Count Calories.

Counting calories, to date, has been the most effective way that I’ve ever lost weight. Discovering what your calorie limit for body maintenance is, is an important first step. From there, just make sure you come in under it by about 300 or 400 each day, and over the course of the year, you’ll shed the excess weight brought on by the holidays.

4. Eat A Fruit And Veggie Every Day.

I’m a protein guy (and by protein, I mean “cow burgers”). Fruits and veggies aren’t that appealing to me, but thanks to a wife who for some reason wants me to live long, I’ve come to the realization that there is no escaping the green stuff. And you know what? It’s not as bad as I made it out to be. In fact, eating at least one fruit and one vegetable per day will help ease digestion and make for less explosive trips to the bathroom. (I know, I know, TMI.)

5. Open Up.

Becoming emotionally available can mean a number of things. For me, it was finally softening my heart enough to want a child. This past Labor Day, I found out I’d be a dad. In December, I found out it was a girl. Contrast that with the guy from 10 years ago who worked retail and hated every child he laid eyes on, and you can see what I mean. Obviously, though, not everyone will share my station in life. You might be entering 2014 as a single player. You might be middle-aged with the kids out of the house. Start where you are and learn to let go of that part of you that makes you hold back with the people you care about. It’s freeing, and it helps you become a better you, if that makes sense.

6. Disconnect.

Facebook has about worn out its welcome with me as an individual. I’m tired of hearing pointless thoughts, political rants, and getting sucked in to comment wars. It’s exhausting and if you spend long enough on there, you’ll realize that your friends have all reverted to junior high/high school behaviors. Screw that noise. Make 2014 the year you disconnect. You may not want to leave social networking entirely, but make a stand that it will not have a hold over your life. Delete the apps from your phone and tablet. Don’t check in every time there’s a free moment. Remind yourself daily to forget it until you finally do. Facebook has taken entirely too much time away from enjoying experiences as they happen and spending time with loved ones. Pack it away or learn to control it. That’s my resolution anyway.

7. Ditch Cable.

This is one I’ve actually done already, but after catching up with an old friend on NYE and hearing how he’s yet to cut the cord, I realize that cable is still hanging on for dear life and many of you may still be having trouble letting go. Stop it. The moment you rid yourself of the bill and find out you can have a lot more choices with the Internet, Plex, and services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, you’ll never want to go back. All you need is a solid Internet connection, a good media player (hello, AppleTV), and a little rewiring with regard to how you think about television.

8. Take Responsibility For Your Health.

Get health insurance. Schedule a checkup. Don’t for one minute think that you’re above getting sick, or that “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.” Routine checkups can catch life-threatening diseases early, while there’s still time to stop them. They can also reveal your cholesterol, heart functions, and a variety of other details to improve your quality of life.

9. Sit Less.

This is an extension of getting your health in order. Sitting for long periods of time can increase your chances of colorectal cancer and pave the way for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Even if you work out 30 or more minutes per day, spending longer than six hours in a seated position can lead to serious long-term health problems. Use an app like SitFit to remind you at healthy intervals that it’s time to get up and move around. Buy a standing desk. Take action in 2014 to stay off your butt.

10. Shake Up Your Work Life.

If you’ve hit a glass ceiling at your job, make this year the one where you either smash through it or find another job where the limits aren’t so, well, limiting. There are three ways you can shake things up professionally: 1) Find another job. 2) Advance your training so your current employer will see your full potential. 3) Start your own business. Just don’t slog through doing the same thing without making an effort to improve your situation.

11. Create Something.

All work and no play — you know the rest. But be constructive as you get older. Instead of getting hammered and passing out in your spare time, find ways to create. Maybe you write a book or play gigs with your band or build a treehouse for your son. Do something with either your hands or mind (or both). Something where there is a finished product that you can point to and say, “Yes, I did that!”

12. Get Your Fiscal House In Order.

Boring, but necessary. That means getting adequate health, auto, and life insurance coverage. It means having further safeguards in place for your home and possessions. It means making a budget and saving for retirement and investing so you earn more than a 0.5 percent return on your hard-earned money. It means having a will and having the right people named as your beneficiaries.

It’s 2014, guys. You’ve got a lot of work to do. So do I. So do all of us. Let’s make it the best year yet!

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]

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