By Sarah Naron
As a new year begins, many people have composed a laundry list of things about themselves and their lives that they would like to improve. For a large number of individuals, personal fitness and finances are typically among the top priorities. Fortunately, there are many ways in which people looking to make changes to these areas in their lives can easily start off on the right foot.
According to Betty Hubbard, general manager of Snap Fitness in Crockett, taking charge of personal fitness starts with a good diet and exercise plan.
“If we take care of our bodies, our bodies will take care of us,” she said.
Hubbard also said that joining a club such as the one she operates is a good idea for those looking to get serious about getting in better shape, as it allows for socialization, which can play a positive role in achieving a healthier lifestyle.
“The buddy system is a good way to stay committed,” she said, noting that senior citizens in particular seem to benefit largely from utilizing the Snap Fitness facilities. “It (going to a gym) gives them a way to meet people and get out of the house instead of just sitting on the couch and watching television.”
According to Hubbard, the decision to improve fitness must start as a commitment to oneself.
“Go in the bathroom and look at the person in the mirror,” she encouraged. “Know that if you don’t take care of that person, you won’t have a good quality of life.”
For those looking to get their finances in better order during the new year, local CPA Jack Coleman had a number of suggestions.
“The first suggestion is always to reduce the debt load, especially credit card debt,” he said.
Coleman spoke of the importance of developing a habit of ensuring the ability to pay the credit card balance in full at the end of each month.
According to Coleman, taking a look at personal spending patterns and differentiating between necessities and luxuries is also a positive step in the right direction.
“It’s not so much management as it is learning to question spending patterns,” he said. “It’s basic fundamentals; it’s not rocket science.”
Coleman suggested taking a look at how much a household spends on items such as cable TV programming, name-brand clothing and beauty shop trips and cutting costs in these areas wherever possible.
Coleman added that when grocery shopping, planning menus ahead of time and sticking to a pre-planned list of what to buy can cut down on unnecessary spending, as well as reducing the amount of meals a household has at restaurants.
“Set a budget for eating out,” he suggested. “We have a lot of eating establishments that would prefer you eat there, but you could make a hamburger at home and cut costs by 50 percent.
“There’s a million tricks,” he added.
According to Coleman, an enlightening provider of further information on reducing debt and saving money is the website of American businessman Dave Ramsey.
“He speaks a language we all understand,” Coleman said.
Sarah Naron may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.