Start the New Year Off Right… by Making Better Resolutions

Start the New Year Off Right… by Making Better Resolutions

It’s 2023 and that can only mean one thing … It’s time to start breaking the New Year’s resolutions you just made and swore you were going to keep this time!

Not to sound like a cynic (which has never been one of my resolutions, for the record), but making resolutions is a losing proposition for those who make them—91% of them, to be exact, according to By no means am I trying to discourage anyone from making resolutions. I’m merely suggesting that you think of them in a different way. That said, here are 10 resolutions you can keep, if you just try. I believe in you.

1. Lose weight/get more exercise.

Jacksonville is, by no means, a pedestrian—or cyclist-friendly city. However, you, my friends, live in one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the country and the best in the city of Jacksonville. So, get off your duff, lace up your sneakers and start incorporating strolls around our beautiful, diverse and colorful neighborhoods into your regular routine. Of course, you could always join a gym, but we all know how that usually turns out. If that doesn’t appeal to you, try EMsculpt, it’s like doing 20,000 sit-ups in 30 minutes.

2. Stop smoking.

Newsflash: Smoking kills people, it’s expensive and makes you smell like an ashtray, none of which I see as a positive. Why not take a tip from the sober curious movement (shout out to Wildcrafters in Riverside, Jacksonville’s first booze-free bar), and explore the possibility of maybe cutting back on the cancer sticks—and vaping too, for that matter? And if you can’t, could you at least stop throwing your cigarette butts all over the streets?

3. Support local businesses. 

I realize shopping online is convenient and getting to a brick-and-mortar store can be hard when you’re busy. But you know what else is hard? Running a small business. Our neighborhoods are blessed with so many incredible locally-owned businesses—San Marco Books and More, Edge City, Missy Riley Art , Grassroots, Underwood’s, Amara Med Spa, Anita’s Garden Shop, Hair Peace Salon, the list goes on and on. Why not make an effort to support them when possible? (Bonus of shopping local: No porch pirates stealing your precious Amazon orders.) And don’t even get me started on supporting local restaurants (talking to you, folks crowded outside a certain steakhouse on Roosevelt).

4. Learn a new skill. 

These days, there is no excuse for not pursuing a passion. Between the internet and apps, your smartphone is a never-ending source of knowledge whether you want to learn basketweaving or Klingon. If hands-on instruction is more your thing, you can study floral design at the Garden Club of Jacksonville or painting at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens; discover your musical talents at the Ronan School of Music (where I’m working on connecting with my inner drummer but that’s another story); and take a stab at stand-up at open mic nights at local bars. Seize the knowledge and opportunities around you, my friends.

5. Create less waste. 

Recycling is a start, but there are heaps of other ways to declutter your life without filling the city dump. Donate used clothes, furniture and other household items to local charities; share or trade hand-me-downs with friends; shop at stores that specialize in gently used items (Fans & Stoves Antique Mall, The Snob, Chamblin’s Bookmine and Tomato Vintage, to name a few); and if you’re feeling really ambitious learn how to compost. (I’m sure there’s an app for that.)

6. Spend more time with family and friends. 


7. Volunteer. 

Giving back is one of the best ways to be a good community steward, and there are so many ways to do it. Volunteer your time at your neighborhood library, local nonprofit or school. Donate money or, better yet, become a member of a non-profit organization like RAP, SMPS or MOSH. Pick up trash on your block. Donate blood. There are no limits to how your efforts can benefit the neighborhoods.

8. Reduce stress. 

Sounds impossible at times, but you can alleviate a lot of stress in your life by practicing basic principles of meditation and yoga, learning breathing techniques and mindfulness (definitely apps for that), keeping a gratitude journal, seeing a mental health professional, or just talking to a good friend. I know of these might sound like corny (I thought so myself a couple of years ago), but I do every single one of them now and have never been more at peace.

9. Save money. 

You already know you can save money by bringing your lunch to work and not spending $7 on a cup of coffee every day. Yawn. There are so many other budget friendly ideas— that are a heck of a lot more fun—if you just look, like free admission nights at Cummer and MOCA, $5 Movie Tuesdays at Sun-Ray Cinema, happy hours (Orsay and European Street Cafe have two of the best), and free live entertainment at Riverside Arts Market and Friday Musicale. And for the love of Suze Orman, take advantage of frequent customer programs and sign up for emails or texts from your favorite businesses to learn about special deals.

10. Be more considerate. 

I admit: This one’s not so much of a resolution as it is a plea. Allow me to start you off with a few. Stop littering. Don’t park on the sidewalk or block people’s driveways. Refrain from going through the 10 items or less lane when you have 23. Quit playing on your phone when someone is talking to you. And knock it off with the boomer bashing already.

By Kerry Speckman
Resident Community News

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