Set New Year goals you can live with

Set New Year goals you can live with

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

It’s all well and good to set lofty goals at the start of the New Year, but how often it happens that one week in, we find ourselves flailing already. Instead of kicking yourself for not having arisen at 5 a.m. on January 2 to run six miles; consider changing your focus to goals more in sync with who you are as a person, taking into consideration your strengths and weaknesses, likes and irritants. Cultivate personal growth and a healthier lifestyle in ways promising to bring joy and laughter to your life that you know you can stick with.

Complete an epic hike: Europe is crisscrossed with endless hiking trails promising beauty or historical significance. But most can’t be completed in a single day. Choose a trail that’s an easy drive from your home and conquer it in stages; you’ll never go astray along any of Germany’s certified premium walking trails. Or plan your next vacation around an epic trail such as the one running along the stunning coastline of Italy’s Cinque Terre, or experience the profound religious significance of completing the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Ease your way into a new physical activity: Before you can run a marathon, you’ll need to be able to knock out a couple of miles without dropping on the spot. Couch to 5K is a training program that sets out to get you fit enough for a three-mile run over the course of nine weeks. There are plenty of other novice-to-budding athlete tutorials you can follow online. Yoga with Adriene starts off beginners with her 30 Days of Yoga program. There are many variations of the 15-minute total body workout, including this one by Self, which requires no gym equipment.

Boost your ed cred: Are you pursuing a college or master’s degree? Good for you! When a full-time job or familial obligations stand in the way, opt instead for a micro-credential in an area sure to give your career a boost. These certifications offer students and professionals alike the opportunity to develop skills in fields from economics to education. Udacity’s online Nanodegree program offers the chance to learn a suite of skills, complete a project demonstrating your newly-gained competencies and receive a credential attesting to your mastery of the topic at hand.

Master a cooking technique: Vow to make this the year you learn to master a dish that makes your friends come begging for the recipe. Instead of setting your sights on notoriously difficult soufflés or macarons, why not something hearty the whole family can enjoy on a regular basis? Perfecting firehouse chili, spaghetti sauce and meatballs or tender flaky pizza crusts are skills you’ll be thanked for again and again.

Walk to Paris: Do you track the steps you take in a day? If you already use that function on your phone or another device, you can also calculate how many steps you take in a week, month or year. Choose a European city you’d like to visit and set the goal of walking the equivalent distance. To convert your steps to miles, simply use an online converter. The daily recommendation of 10,000 steps clocks in at nearly five miles for most people. The distance between Stuttgart and Paris is 313 air miles. So if you reach your step goal consistently every day, by early March, you would have covered the equivalent distance.

Volunteer: Lending your time and skills to the benefit of others can be pure joy, particularly when you put yourself into an environment you love. Love nature? If you’re stationed in Germany, take part in the annual Rhine Cleanup, scheduled for Sept. 11 in 2021. Fan of rock music? It takes a small army to pull off a multi-day festival, so check out the website of your favorite one to see if they’re recruiting. To give to the military community, consider lending a hand to one of the organizations that tend to the graves of American babies buried on German soil such as the Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation or the American Kinderfeld Frankfurt.

Cultivate your wine expertise: Don’t be intimidated by the world of wine and all the fancy jargon—when it comes down to it, it’s really just a matter of personal preference. Choose your own personal wine of the year, read up on the grape, sample bottles from different regions and try all the styles in which it’s made. You can even experiment with food pairings, visit wineries and above all, have fun! The German Wine Institute offers great info about grape varieties to get you started.

Learn a new language: The latest crop of free online language tutorials make mastering German or other new tongues easier than ever before, but you do need to be disciplined enough to engage with the apps or websites. Consider signing up for a word of the day to be sent to your email’s inbox or RSS feed and improve your vocabulary slowly but steadily each day. Transparent Language is just one to offer a “Word of the Day” as part of its free language-learning resources.

Get more social: Finding people of like interests isn’t always as easy as it seems, and this past year must have been a terrible one for those recently transplanted to a new environment. To mingle online now and in-person in better times to come, Internations is a network of expatriates or those who’ve lived abroad themselves for some time and thrive in an international environment. MeetUp is another platform that allows those of like interests to organize and participate in group activities. German-American women’s and international clubs offer women friendship and support. For a list of those near you, check the website of the Federation of German-American Clubs.

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