By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Adlen Robinson: It’s time to decide on New Year’s resolutions

Are you one to make New Year’s resolutions? I know I am. Certainly I’m not successful with all of them, but I think of this time of year as the perfect time to set personal goals for the upcoming year. 

Probably the most popular resolution is losing weight. The main mistake people make when setting this goal is not being realistic. Losing extra pounds the healthy way — meaning it is more likely to stay off of your body, for most of us means losing between 1 and 2 pounds a week. So, if you need to lose quite a bit of weight, be realistic and know it won’t happen overnight. After all, you didn’t put on all of that weight overnight. 

For some of us, setting a goal of just trying to improve our overall health is an even better goal. 

Try cutting out sugar from your diet. It is much more difficult than you might think — they put sugar in everything. 

As far as cooking goes, substitute local honey and/or pure maple syrup for sugar. Give up soda completely or at least cut down on the amount you consume. 

While you cut down or give up sugar, why not also try cutting out processed food in general. Eating 100 percent real food is a surefire way to improve your overall health. There is an inside joke in our home that if you want something to eat, you are probably going to have to cook or at least “prepare” what you consume. 

Become an expert label reader and you are sure to find you want to eat less packaged food and more real food. If you cannot pronounce an ingredient or don’t know what it is, do you really want to put it in your body? 

Exercise. Oh, the dreaded exercise. The times I am most successful with regular exercise, is when I have a friend to partner with. Taking classes is another way to “enjoy” exercise — it is amazing how fast the time goes when there is loud music and an instructor cheering you on.  

Purge your “stuff.” It is incredible how good it feels when you clean out your closet and get rid of a bunch of clothes you haven’t worn in 10 years or more. Ditto for that attic and/or basement. 

To accomplish these sorts of projects, make a calendar for yourself. Maybe spend half a day Saturday working on a project and a few hours on Sunday afternoon. Pencil in your project plans on a calendar so you can map out your plan. Reward yourself with a dinner out and a movie. 

Reduce your stress level. Take a yoga class or practice meditation. It is amazing how hard it is to meditate. Our busy minds are difficult to calm down and clear, but if you have a lot of stress in your life, it is worthwhile to learn how to do this. 

Get enough sleep. My inner circle of friends know I am an early-to-bed person. It is rare if I am awake past 10 in the evening. But guess what? I almost always feel great and full of energy in the morning. 

A good sleep atmosphere is also a must. I like white noise and a few noisy fans. I also love my diffuser which dispenses various essential oils — lavender being my night time favorite oil. In the winter, try running a cold mist humidifier, especially if you wake up in the morning feeling dry. Quality sheets are also important for a good night’s sleep — buy the best you can afford. 

Less screen time. Most of us would do well to cut down on our screen time. Whether it is the computer, social media or those addicting games on your cell phone, try to limit your screen time and spend more time interacting with your loved ones and reading. 

Speaking of reading, have you been to the library lately? We are so lucky to live in a county that has such fantastic libraries. Check them out. 

Be more organized. For some people, this is the most difficult resolution of all. For most who suffer from a lack of organization, whether at work, at home, or both, the best way to tackle this goal is to begin with the aforementioned “purging” of your stuff. That is a good way to begin. After all, where there is clutter, there is a good amount of disorganization. 

I am also a big fan of a day planner when it comes to setting and meeting daily goals. I know many people prefer to use electronic calendars, but I am old school and like to physically write down my schedule, goals and the like. 

There are plenty of planners out there — and they are probably all on sale at this time of the year. I like to use a ringed binder so I can customize your day planner to fit your needs and individual goals. 

Hopefully these ideas will motivate you to go ahead and begin planning for 2018. Happy New Year to all of my readers. I hope you have an awesome one. 

South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at