Most New Year's resolutions simply don't last long.
Following the bustle of the holidays, it's easy to feel optimistic about those promises you made to yourself. But then, a few weeks into the new year, distractions start to happen.
But it's never too late to start back up again.
Whether your goal is to broaden the genres on your bookshelves, give back to your community or become more physically active, these tips may give you a jolt of inspiration for whatever you vowed to accomplish in 2023.
Did you promise yourself that you would read one book a month in the new year?
Or maybe you set a larger goal that seemed realistic until you fell into the familiar hole of not being able to fall in love with any book you try.
It can be frustrating.
That's why the director of the Missouri River Regional Library, Claudia Young, shared her favorite ways to fall in love with reading again.
"If you have that desire to read more, there are things that the library can do to help you," Young said.
• Sign up for a library card: "Getting a card is the first step to reading more," she said. "Because books are expensive, and if one of your goals is saving money in the new year, then the library can help you with that."
• Download digital ebook and downloadable audiobook apps, such as Hoopla and Libby for Overdrive: "Both of those digital collections include ebooks and audiobooks. I think that if you find it hard to sit and read, then an audiobook might be a great choice," she said. "You can listen while you're exercising, while you're doing household chores or driving. People may not have thought about audiobooks as a way to jump-start their reading habit, and we have a really great collection of audiobooks."
• Sign up for the library's book box service: Based on popular subscription boxes, this free service offers readers three to five hand-picked books based on your online questionnaire. "It (book box) is a great opportunity for someone who struggles to pick things out for themselves, or maybe they get stuck reading the same authors and they're interested in finding a new author but they struggle to do so," Young said. "It really helps introduce new authors to kids, teens and adults, and it gives the library staff here a chance to use that reader advisory muscles that we're really proud of."
Book box is also very popular with parents and grandparents. The program allows busy parents to simply drop by the library and pick up a stack of books that staff chose for the children.
"And we have curbside so if you're a busy working parent, or you've got a lot of kids in the backseat of your car and you don't want to come in because you're in between stops, errands, things like that, you can simply have it delivered to your car," Young said.
• Register for the library's reading program to earn prizes: MRRL has reading programs and challenges for all ages to encourage members to read more. Register online or stop by to collect a form to begin reading your way toward prizes.
Young said: "It adds incentives to reading to some degrees, and I think most people respond well to that."
• Start with small goals: "In school, they often talk about reading 20 minutes a day with your child, and I've often thought that, as a family, it would be a good idea -- families or for anyone -- to set aside at least 20 minutes a day," Young said. "You can start there, maybe even start with 10. Work up to 20, work up to 30 or maybe an hour."
Young advises to "set those small goals and then build on them."
"Because if you've not been reading a lot, to sit down and try to read for an hour or two is probably going to be more than you can do. It's going to be overwhelming to start there, so start small and build on it," Young said.
Diet and exercise
If fitness was your goal in the new year, Debbie Rosslan, the owner and trainer at CrossFit Unstoppable, also chimed in with her tips on avoiding burnout in the new year.
• Find a workout partner: Rosslan mentioned it's helpful to have a partner to be held accountable for your workout goals. She and a friend are currently doing a plank challenge together that serves as a reminder and motivator to accomplish the goal they set out to achieve.
"So today's the 28th, so we have to do 28 20-second planks. And we send a text to each other after we do them so then if we forget, we end up doing them," she said.
• Start small: "Don't set too lofty goals. Set manageable things. Like instead of saying, 'I want to lose 20 pounds in a month', there's really no way you can do that, so set little manageable goals."
• Don't stress: "The main thing is, as soon as you get up in the morning, think about how you want to manage your day," Rosslan said. "Stress management is a big thing with weight loss, because if you're stressed out, then your cortisol levels go up and then your body just holds onto all the body fat.
"And get enough sleep in your day. There's a lot of things that go into wellness and taking care of your body. It's not just exercise and your nutrition, there's also stress management and your sleep, that kind of thing."
Looking for tips on building a better diet? Rosslan shared her advice for eating healthier as well.
• Make sure your diet includes enough protein: "A lot of people say, 'Well, I'm just going to eat 1,200 calories.' Well, once you do that, you end up going into a kind of starvation mode where your body holds onto body fat," Rosslan said.
• Create balanced meals: "Half of your plate should be vegetables, and then a quarter should be protein, and a quarter of your plate should be a starchy carbs, like rice, sweet potato, baked potato, that kind of thing."
Volunteering your time
"I've heard a lot of people say they got into (volunteering) because they wanted to help others and they forget how much this impacts themselves," said Samantha Cripe, the volunteer program coordinator at The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. "There's a lot of research and statistics out there that volunteering is good for your physical health and your mental health."
Cripe added: "It helps you connect with people. I know here at the Food Bank we do a lot of physical stuff, so it's really good to get your body moving, kind of get your workout in while you're serving."
Since starting at the food bank in 2020, Cripe has seen how the organization operates with very few volunteers, to how they have grown to nearly 9,000 volunteers.
"Volunteering, even though it seems like you're doing something for someone else, is just as good for you as well," Cripe said. "Health is a really important component to volunteering that I don't think a lot of people realize."
Prior to starting at the food bank, Cripe worked with third- and fourth-graders. It was there that she noticed how students' behavior was affected by the food -- or lack of food -- they had that day.
"I realized how important food was and so I really wanted to get involved with the Food Bank," Cripe said.
• Getting started: Ben DeFeo, the operations manager at the Jefferson City Samaritan Center, chimed in with where to start.
"We just ask that folks fill out a little bit of information for us, and it's available online on our website, or they can come in and get a physical copy. It's a questionnaire of availability of hours and days, and then their skill set and what they want to do," DeFeo said.
From there, they'll get you set up with time-slot and a position that best suits you.
• Start small (seeing a pattern yet?): "Start with one shift a month, or one opportunity each week, and really just get your toes into it and start, and then you'll be able to see what aspect of it you really like the best so you can spend more of your time dedicated to that," Cripe said.
• Match your skills to the volunteer setting: "Connect with whatever you're most interested in, and then talk to people that are engaged there," Cripe said.
"I think that sometimes one of the reasons why you fall out of volunteering is that you sign up for more than you can handle before you even know what you're getting into," she said.
Cripe said she also believes it's important to match your skill set and interests with your duties as you volunteer to avoid burnout.
DeFeo shared his thoughts on the personal benefits of volunteering.
"The thing about volunteering is that the rewards that you get out of it are pretty immediate," he said. "You get to see that first-hand impact in people's lives, what your commitment of time is doing. So, you know, there's an emotional reward level there that you get with volunteering that you don't necessarily get with other methods of contributing."
• Build connections: "Once you've started, you'll begin to build those connections with other volunteers, the people who are working with you, and you can serve shifts together and really build your connection with your community along with building on that skill set that you're working on," Cripe said.
DeFeo had the same thought, saying, "When you're in here and you're actively volunteering or anywhere actively volunteering, you get a sense of community with the other volunteers."
DeFeo said a lot of the volunteers at the Samaritan Center are retired, so they desire the friendly community-feel they miss from the workplace.
"A lot of times, folks find that when they're retired they don't have that in their life anymore, and they're looking for a way to get it back and volunteering is a way to do that," DeFeo said.
Cripe said: "For me, it's really amazing to connect with people and see how we all want to make an impact, we all want to make the world a better place for each other, and how we're just working together to make sure that we're accomplishing our mission."