New Year’s Resolutions

happy_new_year_fireworksNew Year’s Resolutions

I hope you all are enjoying the holidays and no matter where you live, I hope you have a happy and festive new year.  New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. Did your New Year resolutions make this top-ten list?

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends

Recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.  Work shouldn’t always come first!

2. Fit in Fitness

The evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.

3. Tame the Bulge

Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year’s commitment to shed extra pounds.

4. Quit Smoking

If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life!

5. Enjoy Life More

Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that “enjoying life more” has become a popular resolution in recent years. It’s an important step to a happier and healthier you! Just get out and try something new! Take up a new hobby or try your hand at skiing. Go to a theater performance, or head to the local spa.

6. Quit Drinking

While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available. E-mail me if you want more details.

7. Get Out of Debt

Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It’s a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.

8. Learn Something New

Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep.  Most local colleges and universities offer distance and adult education programs.

9. Help Others

A popular, non-selfish New Year’s resolution, volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help. If your time is really in short supply, maybe you can at least find it in you to donate the furniture, clothing and other household items that you no longer need, rather than leaving them out by the curb to fill up our landfills.

10. Get Organized

On just about every New Year resolution top ten list, organization can be a very reasonable goal. Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite someone over on a whim, or your office organized enough that you can find the stapler when you need it, these tips and resources should get you started on the way to a more organized life.

If this isn’t one of your New Year’s Resolutions, please leave a comment to let others know what you’re doing to improve your life throughout 2009.

My Memorable Blog Posts from 2008:

The Last Autumn Leaf

Beyond the Storm

The Calling

Harmony of the Worlds

Staying Positive in Tough Times

Turn Around the Negative Self-Talk

Anima Mundi

The Optimism Test

Flow

The Key

The Breakthrough


Happy Merry Everything!

happy-holidays-webcopy1

Happy Merry Everything!

Happy holidays, incredible people!

No matter how you choose to celebrate the season, I hope you’re staying warm and feeling loved and remembering to honor your own sweet and shining self.  I am going to try to increase my blog posts where I can have more reader inflow.  If you like my blog, I encourage you to subscribe, comment, and even tell others about this blog so that you can share the optimism throughout this wonderful holiday season.

Thank You!

Jacob

No Vacation for School Lunches

No Vacation for School Lunches

When children clean out their lockers and say farewell to school for the summer, there are some things they won’t miss. Tests. Homework. Alarm clocks. But for the 16 million children who are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunches over the summer, there’s one thing they could miss—lunch. When the school year ends, 80% of participants—more than 12.2 million children—lose access to federal meal programs.

For more than a decade, the Sodexo Foundation has helped cities across the country bridge that gap with Feeding Our Future, a summer lunch program serving more than 7,000 children nationwide.

Read More

Students Fit Volunteering into Summer Plans

The fight against hunger is waged with enthusiasm and commitment by students of all ages across the country. They volunteer at shelters and food banks and organize hunger awareness programs. Many college students participate in The Campus Kitchens Project, for which the Sodexo Foundation provided the seed money and continues to support at colleges nationwide.

During the school year it’s easy to find a “home” on campus for volunteer activities—every bulletin board and school web site is full of opportunities. During the summer, it takes a bit more work, but organizations with national reach are just waiting for young people to sign up for a day, a week, or more of volunteering, wherever their travels take them.

To keep your fight against hunger going all year long, click on any of the links below for location information.

Fight for Human Rights – Tear Down Guantánamo Bay

 

Fight for Human Rights!

Fight for Human Rights – Tear Down Guantánamo Bay

Today, May 15th, is Bloggers Unite for Human Rights, in which thousands of bloggers will write thousands of blogs dedicated to preserving human rights. The issue I want to focus on today is the unjust activities happening at Guantánamo Bay.

Guantanamo Bay Information

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States operated by Joint Task Force Guantanamo since 2002 in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.[1] The detainment areas consist of three camps in the base: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray (which has been closed). The facility is often referred to as Guantanamo, or Gitmo (derived from the abbreviation “GTMO”). The detainees held have been classified by the United States as “enemy combatants

Since the beginning of the War in Afghanistan, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo, approximately 420 of which have been released. As of August 9, 2007, approximately 355 detainees remain. More than a fifth are cleared for release but may have to wait months or years because U.S. officials are finding it increasingly difficult to allocate places to send them, according to officials and defense lawyers.

Prisoners are held in small mesh-sided cells, and lights are kept on day and night. Detainees have rations similar to those of U.S. forces, with consideration for Muslim dietary needs. However on occasion many of the detainees have been denied access to the Quran for daily prayer, due to claimed “high security measures” and as a form of preparation for interrogation. Detainees are kept in isolation most of the day, are blindfolded when moving within the camp and are forbidden to talk in groups of more than three. United States doctrine in dealing with prisoners of war states that isolation and silence are effective means in breaking down the will to resist interrogation. Red Cross inspectors and released detainees have alleged acts of torture, including sleep deprivation, the use of so-called truth drugs, beatings and locking in confined and cold cells. Human rights groups argue that indefinite detention constitutes torture.

The use of Guantánamo Bay as a military prison has drawn criticism from human rights organizations and others, who cite reports that detainees have been tortured or otherwise poorly treated. Supporters of the detention argue that trial review of detentions has never been afforded to prisoners of war, and that it is reasonable for enemy combatants to be detained until the cessation of hostilities.

The Bush administration has declared that the Third Geneva Convention does not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban fighters, since the Geneva convention only applies to uniformed soldiers of a recognized government. Jim Phillips of the Heritage Foundation claimed that “some of these terrorists who are not recognized as soldiers don’t deserve to be treated as soldiers.” Critics of U.S. policy say the government has violated the Conventions in attempting to create a distinction between “prisoners of war” and “illegal combatants.” A U.S. district court partially agreed with the Bush administration, finding that the Geneva Conventions apply to Taliban fighters but not to al-Qaeda terrorists. Amnesty International has called the situation “a human rights scandal” in a series of reports.

One of the allegations of abuse at the camp is the abuse of the religion of the detainees. The US government has claimed that they respect all religious and cultural sensitivities. However, prisoners released from the camp have alleged that abuse of religion including flushing the Qur’an down the toilet, defacing the Qur’an, writing comments and remarks on the Qur’an, tearing pages out of the Qur’an and denying detainees a copy of the Qur’an.

Suicides

By 2008 there had been at least 4 completed suicides and hundreds of suicide attempts in Guantanamo that are public knowledge. No information is available on the number of suicides of prisoners that are classified secret, or their suicide attempts. On June 10, 2006, three detainees were found dead, who, according to the Pentagon, “killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact”.

Facts:

1.) Lasting security and real justice for the victims of terrorism cannot be achieved without real justice and respect for human rights.

2.) Illegally detained in US custody at Guantánamo and elsewhere are not being released.

3.) Those held at Guantánamo and elsewhere, including in secret detention centres, are human beings who haven’t seen their homes or families for years and have faced torture and other ill-treatment.

4.) Indefinite and secret detentions are contrary to just human rights and are against international law.

5.) Each day that illegal detention at Guantánamo and elsewhere continues is a day too long.

Take Action

Tearitdown.org is Amnesty International’s global initiative to end illegal US detentions and a major online action under Amnesty International’s campaign to Counter Terror With Justice.

 

Take Action, Click Here!

For more on Bloggers Unite for Human Rights, Click Here!