AFC trainer Nicole Gerken provides tips to get fit, featured in the Kansas City Star. Check out “Resolve to set up your home for success in the new year” by Andrea Darr for awesome new year resolution tips to eat better, get fit, get organized, get more rest, to spend more time with family and friends, to learn something new and then five top resolutions for your home. This is very doable. We are committed to trying these tips in 2014. Come join us!
Resolve to set up your home for success in the new year
By ANDREA DARR
Special to The Star
The Kansas City Star photo
Got a New Year’s resolution? Want to keep it past January? Get your house in order.
Approximately 40 percent of Americans set admirable goals to improve their lives, but only 8 percent actually achieve them, according to Statistic Brain. You can be among the minority by setting yourself up for success at home. Here’s how.
• If your resolution is to eat better
The kitchen can help make or break your new diet. “I’m a big believer in building up your environment for success,” Weight Watchers leader Kelli Hansen says. “We make 200 food decisions a day but recall only 15 of them, so it’s important to make it that much easier.”
Visibility plays a big role. First, remove clutter from your countertops but keep a scale and measuring cups and spoons out so you can correctly portion out your food.
Invest in clear containers for your healthy food options and dark ones for snacks. Store unhealthy foods above eye level and in back of your fridge and pantry.
The same goes for your “unhealthy” appliances. Use awkward corner or upper cabinets for deep fat fryers and ice cream makers. Remove the TV to cook and eat mindfully, but add a tablet holder to look up recipes online.
If you have a sunny window, place a few favorite herb plants there to add flavor to dishes. The fresh smell and greenery will give you a boost.
• If your resolution is to get fit
Consider multitasking for your rooms, not just your to-do list. Nicole Gerken, a personal trainer at Advanced Fitness Consulting in Kansas City, says many of her clients use their home offices as workout spaces. “With people working from home more, it’s easy to stop and do a couple of situps to break up the day,” she says.
You don’t need a dedicated space for a home gym or even a major investment in a treadmill or weights, Gerken adds. “It’s nice to add weights down the road, if you have the space and money, but they’re big and cumbersome. You don’t need all that. You can use your own body weight.”
A stability ball, resistance bands, Versa-Loops (bands that fit around your ankle) and a yoga mat are enough to provide a full workout, and they’re small enough to hide away in a closet.
Gerken also recommends incorporating a white board to display your goals, reminders, like drinking more water, and inspirational quotes and pictures to keep you motivated.
The “office in your pocket” can become another source of motivation. Gerken uses smartphone apps to help with her fitness goals: Fitness Buddy, which offers exercises for target body areas; FitBit, which works with a device that tracks activity; and TabataPro, a timer for interval training that Gerken says you can do in as little as 4 minutes beside your desk.
• If your resolution is to get organized
Getting rid of clutter has to be your first priority. Leah Fennesy, general manager of California Closets in Lenexa, says that no matter what space you tackle, whether it’s the pantry, file cabinet, closet or garage, it all starts with emptying it out.
Rip articles that you want to read out of magazines. Pile office papers in stacks of “definitely keep,” “maybe keep” and “shred.” Donate clothes you don’t wear. Fennesy’s mantra: You’ve got to let go.
Once you’ve pared down, assess your inventory to design a system for keeping it orderly. Fennesy says you don’t need a new house with huge closets to get organized. “Just because it’s bigger doesn’t mean it works more efficiently,” she notes.
A consultant can design a complete system for you, or DIYers can purchase and assemble an inexpensive system from a home goods store.
• If your resolution is to get more rest
“A great bed is the key, including sumptuous sheets that have a higher thread count,” interior designer Kathleen Ramsey says. Right now, she really likes bamboo, which gets softer with every wash.
Interior designer Sharon Cooper with Madden-McFarland Interiors says to purchase the best mattress your money can buy. Its firmness will depend on you and your significant other’s preferences, and the same goes for the weight atop you, whether it’s a heavier comforter or a puffy, down-filled duvet.
A headboard isn’t necessary, but it may make you more comfortable when reading in bed. Definitely get rid of the TV, but, Ramsey says, “some technology, such as an iPad or Kindle, or just a regular old paperback book, is OK to bring to bed.”
Color can calm your senses and prepare you for sleep. “To make the room more of a retreat, use lighter, softer colors,” Ramsey says. Greens, blue-grays and gray-browns are good choices. Ramsey’s top pick is the warm Functional Gray from Sherwin-Williams.
Mood lighting is important in the bedroom, and to get that, you need good bedside lamps. Ramsey notes that most people buy lamps that are too short. “If you’re sitting up in bed, you want the bottom of the shade to be at eye level,” she says.
Cooper adds that if you are a “hot” sleeper, you need a ceiling fan. Blackout shades or draperies can help you achieve deep slumber.
• If your resolution is to spend more time with your family and friends
First, you need plenty of seating, and make sure it’s all comfortable. Choose upholstered fabrics that have a relaxed feeling. Arrange sofas and chairs for easy conversation, pulling furniture away from the walls if you have room, interior designer Jill Tran says, to avoid “the cul-de-sac look.” Small ottomans and benches are a great way to provide extra seating.
Add lamps, preferably with dimmers to create different moods. “Ceiling light alone is not enough,” Cooper says, but Tran says can lights work well for doing projects or puzzles with others.
Keep blankets on hand and display whimsical throw pillows for interest and back support. If you don’t have a fireplace, light candles. A mass of them creates more drama than singles.
Same goes for food. Set out three bowls rather than one. Cooper has another idea: “If all else fails, order pizza! They will love coming to your house!” she exclaims.
• If your resolution is to learn something new
Whether it’s practicing the piano, learning Mandarin or getting your MBA, try to designate a separate, quiet place to concentrate. Get something cushy to sit on for those long hours of practice and study. Install good lighting so you don’t have to strain your eyes.
If it’s a music room, aspire to greatness with musical themes, but be careful not to go overboard, Tran warns. “Themes can be badly done and they can be well done. Subtle suggestions are more powerful,” she says.
Incorporate images of composers, instruments or musical plays, whatever it is that inspired you to learn in the first place. If you’re speaking a new language, hang photos of the people or landscape, or even your plane ticket. “Design the room to support the mission,” Tran says.
Top 5 resolutions for your home
While you may be excited to get started on your personal goals, you should resolve to attend to a few safety items around the house. Use these tips and find more at familyhandyman.com.
• Install a carbon monoxide detector. Look for a “fuel-cell electrochemical” sensor, which is more sensitive to CO and less prone to false alarms.
Metal oxide and gel cell alarms offer longer life, but humidity and temperature changes can reduce their accuracy.
Choose a model with a digital readout and a “peak level” memory retention feature that helps emergency personnel if they suspect CO poisoning, and if you have small children, consider a voice warning model, which is more effective than a horn for waking children.
• Test your main water shutoff valve and make sure everyone knows where it is.
If a water pipe springs a leak, knowing where the shutoff valve is could save you thousands in water damage repairs.
• Vacuum the coils on your refrigerator.
The coils’ job is to dissipate the heat that’s removed from the fridge. But, gradually, dust blankets the coils, so the fridge has to work harder to shed heat, equaling as much as $10 per month in wasted energy. Dirty coils also increase your odds of breakdowns.
• Replace washing machine hoses with no-burst hoses.
If your washing machine is connected to bare rubber hoses, you’re risking thousands of dollars’ worth of water damage.
No-burst hoses are encased in a woven metal sleeve that prevents weak spots in the rubber from developing into leaks. Installing them is as easy as connecting a garden hose.
• Clean the lint in your dryer.
Built-up lint inside dryer cabinets causes more than 15,000 fires every year.
Lint escapes through tiny gaps around the edges of the dryer drum and falls into the cabinet, especially when the exhaust vent or vent cap is clogged and airflow is restricted. Clean the lint from inside your clothes dryer as well as lint caught in the exhaust vent.
The resolutionary war
Keeping your New Year’s resolution can be quite the battle. We’re here to help. Look in the FYI section in January for an occasional series on the struggle to keep a diet, an exercise plan, the proper perspective on life and more. Coming Jan. 6: One smoker’s fight against his pack-a-day addiction.