It’s the start of a new year and a natural time to try to do things better.Although I don’t make resolutions, I do jot down a list of goals that I’d like to achieve at the start of each year.
So maybe I do make resolutions. (Are goals resolutions?)
However you want to define it, I’m always up for being a better me.
And if you, too, are on a quest for self-improvement, there are some new books offering inspiration, motivation and advice to get you on the right path, whether you’re trying to eat better, lose weight, get in shape or save money.
Eat Better in 2013
Do you subsist on takeout meals or frozen food because you can’t cook—or are just plain lazy? Well, you don’t have to be a disaster in the kitchen for the rest of your life.
Author Timothy Ferriss, whom you might have seen on The Dr. Oz Show, will bring out your inner Julia Child—or Anthony Bourdain, depending on your taste—with his revolutionary book The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life ($21.70 at Books-A-Million).
Billed as “the cookbook for people who don’t buy cookbooks,” The 4-Hour Chef will teach you everything from how to chop an onion to how to poach an egg. But this book is about much more than cooking. It’s a fascinating exploration of how accelerated learning works, and it might even give you the confidence to master skills in other areas in which you are lacking.
Or maybe learning how to poach an egg will be enough for you. (Get Books-A-Million coupons.) People who make radical changes in the way they eat tend to slip right back into bad habits. But nutritionist Ellie Krieger, host of the Cooking Channel’s Healthy Appetite, takes a slow and steady approach in the revised and updated version of her book Small Changes, Big Results: A Wellness Plan with 65 Recipes for a Healthy, Balanced Life Full of flavour ($10.88 at Amazon).
The 12-week wellness plan outlined in the book recommends making a series of small, gradual changes, like replacing refined grains with whole grains.
Krieger’s patient and sensible approach to eating better takes the stress out of it and makes it seem possible. The book also features easy-to-make recipes for dishes ranging from Pita Pizzas to Whole-Grain Rotini with Tuscan Kale. Yum! (Dine on savings with Amazon discounts.)
Get Fit in 2013
Body by You: The You Are Your Own Gym Guide to Total Women’s Fitness (on sale for $11.68 at Target), written by Mark Lauren and Joshua Clark, is a practical workout guide depicting more than 100 exercises that you can perform at home without machines or weights. I’m talking basics like lunges and squats.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lauren, he is a man fully capable of whipping you into shape. In addition to being a personal trainer for civilians, this fitness guru is a military physical training specialist for Special Operations. (Save $5 off orders of $50 or more with Target discounts.)
Another way to get fit: walking. Michele Stanten, formerly the fitness director at Prevention magazine, has created a daily walking program that will have you slimmed down and in better shape in just three months. The regimen is detailed in Walk Your Butt Off! Go from Sedentary to Slim in 12 Weeks With this Breakthrough Walking Plan ($12.51 at Barnes & Noble), a book Stanten wrote alongside Sarah Lorge Butler and Leslie Bonci.
Aimed at beginners as well as experienced walkers who aren’t seeing the results they want, Walk Your Butt Off! is available for pre-order now and will be released on February 26. (Prices are slim with Barnes & Noble sales.)
Get Your Finances Under Control in 2013
You’ll probably wish that I had told you about this book before you went on that Christmas-shopping binge. But according to The Good Life for Less: Giving Your Family Great Meals, Good Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget ($10.95 at Books-A-Million), you don’t have to live beyond your means to enjoy life. Written by Amy Allen Clark and Jana Murphy, the book shows readers how to set a budget and stick to it while also demonstrating how to save on just about every purchase and prepare inexpensive but satisfying meals for your family.
What’s nice about Clark is that she doesn’t talk down to people who are struggling with money issues. In fact, she and her husband found themselves in financial hot water just before the birth of their first child, and that’s what made Clark realise it was time to learn to live on less.
If you routinely leave the grocery store thinking you’ve paid way more than you should have for your weekly meals, check out the Budget Savvy Diva’s Guide to Slashing Your Grocery Bill by 50% or More: Secret Tricks and Clever Tips for Eating Great and Saving Money ($9.35 at Amazon). Author Sara Lundberg writes the Budget Savvy Diva blog, and she’s an expert when it comes to slashing food costs.
Her book, which is available from Amazon for pre-order and ships February 5, provides a ton of useful advice, including how to get the most out of coupons and where to find unexpected bargains in your local grocery store. There are also dollar-stretching recipes to help you maximise your food budget.