Resolutions: Base personnel offer tips for a happy new year



by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs


1/14/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- No matter what the resolutions are, Marie Hixon has advice on making them a reality. Ms. Hixon offers personal and work life workshops through the Maxwell Airman and Family Readiness Center.

· Understand the areas of strengths and weaknesses to empower oneself to take an honest look at where changes need to be made. Take an honest inventory. What makes you angry? What makes you feel insecure? What have others told you about yourself? Do you see truth in what they have said?

· Start with one or two small changes. Set yourself up to succeed rather than fail. All too often, people expect to be able to change everything. Then they feel overwhelmed and like a failure, so they quit when they slip or make a mistake. An example of this is trying to lose weight. Instead of 40 pounds, try losing five at a time.

· Take a month to make the change a part of your lifestyle, then add a new, small change from the list the next month. Experts say it takes 28 days to form a new habit.

· Keep changes behavioral and measurable. Reward success.

· Journal out the journey. Look at the journey of change as part of the process. If you only focus on the results, it is easy to become frustrated and discouraged.

· Keep the change list visible. It can be an encouragement as well as a reminder. Also keep a chart of progress visible as further encouragement.

· Research articles about people who have accomplished what you desire. Keep a book of these encouragements for times when you need them most.

· Changes need to be for the individual rather than in an effort to please someone else. Only you can choose to make these changes, and you are the one who has to do the work. People who do something because they think it will change how another person sees them lose their interest or motivation if the other person doesn't respond appropriately to the change.

· Enlist others as cheerleaders who won't resort to nagging or put downs.

· Love yourself unconditionally. That will give you the strength to keep on.

Get physical
Michele Pittman, the installation exercise physiologist at the Health and Wellness Center, offers ways to stay safe during PT:

· Wear appropriate clothing for the weather, layers during cold temps and light colored clothing in warm temps. Avoid cotton clothing.

· Stay hydrated in both warm and cool temperatures.

· Be aware of your surrounding when PTing outside; be able to hear and see what is happening around you.

· Always perform an adequate warm-up of active movements and a cool down to lower the heart rate below 120.

· Know your physical limits and plan a program of proper progression from your present fitness level.

Check out books from the library
Marsha Taylor, librarian at the Maxwell-Gunter libraries, suggests some great books:

Nonfiction
· "Money Came by the House the Other Day: A Guide to Christian Financial Planning And Stories of Stewardship," by Robert W. Katz
· "How to Let God Solve Your Problems: 12 Keys for Finding Clear Guidance in Life's Trials," by Charles F. Stanley
· "Treat Me, Not My Age," by Mark Lachs, M.D.
· "Growing Up Laughing," by Marlo Thomas

Fiction
· "Port Mortuary," by Patricia Cornwell
· "Happily Ever After," by Nora Roberts
· "Dead in the Family," by Charlaine Harris
· "Shadow Queen," by Anne Bishop
· "Shalador's Lady," by Anne Bishop
· "Burning Lamp," by Amanda Quick
· "Fired Up," by Jayne Ann Krentz
· "Midnight Crystal," by Jayne Castle

Sign up for intramural sports
C. Yancey Atchley, Maxwell-Gunter sports director, said people should participate in intramural sports to have fun and develop camaraderie between their organization and other organizations on Gunter and Maxwell.

Sports available this year:
· Flag football
· Ultimate frisbee
· Wallyball
· Basketball
· Racquetball
· Volleyball
· Soccer
· Golf
· Softball
· 3-on-3 basketball
· Beach volleyball
· Tennis
· Bowling

Volunteer
Help fellow Airmen by volunteering. Contact Ruben Aguilar, volunteer coordinator at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, for information at 953-2353. Volunteer opportunities on base include the Airman's Attic and the thrift shop.

Keep your auto in working order
The following advice from Clifford McGowan at the auto hobby shop can help keep the car in top condition:

· Rotate and balance tires, and maintain the recommended air pressure.
· Change the coolant/antifreeze once a year.
· Get the brakes inspected at each oil change to ensure proper performance.
· Change the oil every 2,500 miles.
· Take an orientation class to learn basic care and maintenance.

Visit the great outdoors
Take a hike with Outdoor Recreation. Call 953-6168 for details.
· Tuskegee National Forest hike Jan. 22
· Weogufka State Forest hike Feb. 12

Work on your relationship
Want to improve your communications skills with your spouse? Chaplain (Capt.) David Del Prado suggests two books by Gary Chapman.
"If couples understood each other's love language and understood what each other's apology language is they would maintain each one's love tank fuller on a regular basis and would not permit the elevation of arguments to irreversible heights," the chaplain said.
· "The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts"
· "The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships"

Tend your finances
Robertta Cole and Geri Smith of the Airman and Family Readiness Center want you to have a financially strong year.

· Pay yourself first. Set up an automatic payment into a savings account or investment fund so you don't have to think about it every month.

· Make sure you have at least $1,000 in an easily accessible emergency fund so that when you need a new tire for the car or have to fly home for an emergency, you don't have to use a credit card.

· Shop for a better bank rate. Make sure you are paying as little in bank fees as possible or getting the best possible interest rate on your savings account. Many banks offer free checking, and better interest rates can often be found through online banks.

· Use coupons. Yes, coupon cutting can seem like more work than it is worth, but with minimal effort, it can save money. Look for coupons on the shelf for items you would purchase anyway. And yes, the commissary accepts internet coupons. Use sites like Coolsavings.com and Couponmom.com to look for items on your grocery list before you head out the door.

· Pack your lunch to work. Use leftovers and save money by not wasting food. And save the expense of a lunch out. Even "fast food" will set you back $5 - $10.

· For kid's snacks, buy a large bag of chips or pretzels and a small box of zip-close bags and create your own snack portions. Buying pre-packaged serving sized snacks costs more per serving than making your own.

· Clear the clutter and get some cash. Go through the house, and get rid of stuff you don't use. Sell it on Craigslist, through the paper, at a garage sale or the Maxwell thrift shop.

· Get a free annual credit report and check your credit history for mistakes at www.annualcreditreport.com.

· If you don't have a will, health care directive and durable power of attorney for finances, get them now. This is the best gift for loved ones.

· Take advantage of military benefits through Information, Tickets and Travel, the 42nd Force Support Squadron, and the Airman and Family Readiness Center. Classes and outings are often free or cheaper than they are off base.