It’s time for that final holiday tradition before the season comes to a close: the making of New Year’s resolutions. Past goal-setting sessions have taught us that, for all the determination that comes during the first week or two of January, sticking with a resolution long enough to transform it into habit can be tricky business. This time around, enlist your fur-covered friends to help you find success with some of these commonly made New Year’s resolutions. As the bumper sticker says, “Be the person your dog thinks you are!”
1. EXERCISE MORE This consistently tops the list of resolutions, with over one-third of Americans wanting to get into better shape. Waistlines have a funny way of expanding during the holiday season, and the colder, shorter days can drain your motivation to exercise. It’s no secret, though: your dog would love for you to get out more – and, naturally, for you to bring her along. Hiking with your dog can be a simple way for both of you to burn some extra calories, and doesn’t require any specialized gear. If you’re already in the habit of getting your pup out on the trails, maybe it’s time to pick up the pace and try out trail running.
If there aren’t any trails where you live, or – gasp! – any dogs either, no worries: yoga with cats is now officially a thing. Shelters across the country are offering sessions where yogis can get their stretch on while homeless cats slink in between the mats, occasionally stopping to rub their whiskers on a Downward-Facing Dog. Google “yoga with cats” or check with your area shelters to see if there’s a local spot for this adorable exercise option.
2. EAT HEALTHIER This goes hand-in-hand with exercise, consistently making it onto most people’s resolution lists. Obviously cutting down on sugary treats will do a body good, but consider also giving your pet’s animal brethren a break and making more room for veggies with Meatless Mondays. If you are eating meat, do your best to support farms that treat their animals humanely and employ cruelty-free husbandry practices. It’s the least we can do.
3. VOLUNTEER Okay, this is an easy one. If you have time and energy to spare, there’s undoubtedly an animal rescue organization near you that would be happy to benefit. Call or email the volunteer manager, or check their website for regularly scheduled volunteer orientations. You don’t need any special skills or talents; shelters rely on people like you for everything from socialization (i.e. spending one-on-one time with attention-starved animals) to stuffing envelopes to scooping poop (less glamorous, sure, but definitely no less important).
4. TRAVEL MORE If you’ve been feeling kind of stagnant, shaking up your routine and seeing new sights can do you a world of good. Pack your pup into the car for a road trip this year to create lifelong memories - and liven up your Instagram feed! Dog-friendly beaches are a ball (may we suggest Oregon’s Cannon Beach, or the Outer Banks of North Carolina?), but there are also plenty of inland destinations that will eagerly welcome your four-legged sidekick. BringFido.com is a great resource for finding dog-friendly hotspots and accommodations. For a memorable trip that also checks off resolution #3 above, check out the volunteer opportunities at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in the stunning red-rock country of southwest Utah.
5. WRITE THAT NOVEL Maybe your aspirations for 2017 are more on the literary side of things. If there’s a story or memoir inside of you that needs to come out, Written? Kitten! can help keep the words flowing. The basic but brilliant concept is that for every 100 words you write in the website’s text box, a new picture of a kitten will appear next to your work. It’s the ultimate in positive reinforcement and will inspire even the worst procrastinators to keep at it. There’s also an option to switch from kitten photos to puppy pics (all of which are randomly pulled from Flickr), but be warned, this appears to be a little glitchy.
Whatever your goals are for the coming year, we wish you much warmth, good cheer and plenty of tail wags. Happy New Year, friends!