Each New Years, year millions of Americans get goals, expectations and timelines for themselves in hopes of bettering themselves in the upcoming year. Less than a quarter of all Americans keep their resolutions, with many failing within the first month.
For those that are determined to kick a bad habit, shrink their frame or simply use the stairs in lieu of the elevator, The Sentinel has compiled some resources for readers to use.
The following are tips or information on a few of the most common New Year’s resolutions:

Weight Loss
Losing weight and getting into shape are two of the most common New Year’s resolutions set by Americans each year. Chad Muehler, wellness director for the McPherson Family YMCA offers the following tips for finding that magic number of the scale in 2011.
•Take advantage of existing options to help you stick with your resolution.
“It comes down to finding something you enjoy,” Muehler said. Trainers at the Y will give you a total health consultation to assess where you should start. Muehler said the average person might start out with three to five days of cardio exercise and two or three days of strength training. The Y has a fitness center, a lap pool, a family pool, racquetball and several different weight rooms. You can join spinning, strength or cardio classes for any fitness level or try a new “kettlebell” class that combines cardio and strength.
•Make time to exercise.
“You have to schedule it in,” Muehler said, adding that people who treat exercise like any other obligation are more successful at sticking with their exercise programs than people who don’t.
•Don’t try to do too much too soon. Trying to exercise when you’re already extremely sore is just discouraging, Muehler said. He works with clients to develop a “base level” at first, so they can exercise for 30 minutes without stopping. Once mastering that, they can raise the intensity.

Improved Eating
If people are looking to change their eating habits for the better, the local TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) organization offers a group support program to people attempting to lose weight. TOPS meetings are held weekly at the Free Methodist church at 1010 S. Maple St., McPherson, (south entrance) with weigh-in from 8 to 8:30 a.m. and weekly meeting from 8:40 to 9:30 a.m.

Quitting Smoking
Quitting smoking is another common resolution. The state’s new smoking ban was designed to deter people from smoking indoors and in public places. The McPherson Healthcare Foundation offered smoking secession classes during 2010 and will be doing so again in 2011. Foundation Director Chad Clark said people can check the foundation’s website (www.machealthfound.info) for more information.

Americans don’t just focus on improving their own lives during the start of the new year, millions each year resolve to dedicate more time to volunteering within their communities. McPherson Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Anne Hassler has created a website that allows people to find volunteer opportunities in and around the McPherson Community. Hassler’s website, volunteermcpherson.com, lists volunteer options. Organizations needing information, can submit their information to find residents willing to lend their time. The United Way also helps people find helpful ways to give back to their community. The organization’s hotline, 2-1-1, will connect callers with volunteer opportunities in their area.