Happy 2012! What’s your New Year’s resolution? If you’re like me, you may make the same resolutions every year. This is the year you’ll start exercising, call your mom more, and quit smoking. Again. Then by January 21st you’re back to watching the Real House Wives marathon on Bravo, while smoking and screening your mother’s phone calls.
Every New Year brings the opportunity to make changes in your life that will not only make you feel better, but will also feed your soul. Living in LA gives us unique access to a lifestyle the rest of the country can only dream about. If you’re fresh out of ideas for resolutions this year, check out this list of suggestions. Just keeping one of these resolutions for the year will make a difference and hopefully enhance your quality of life in 2012.
1) Take a Reusable Bag With You to The Market.
It’s great if you recycle your diet coke cans, wine and beer bottles, magazines and newspapers, but one significant way to really make a difference in the environment is to use a canvas reusable bag when shopping. Heal the Bay and other environmental groups have been calling for a ban on plastic bags for years because it is one of the most atrocious pollutants in the ocean. This is no small change. In 2007, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to outlaw plastic bags in supermarkets and drugstores. This year Long Beach passed a similar law and the trend is catching on to other Los Angeles county cities. Don’t wait for the law to come to your city. Make the change this year. The fish and sea life will thank you for it.
2) Eat Mindfully.
Being a conscious eater doesn’t mean just recognizing the caloric or nutritional value of your food, although eliminating junk food is a noble endeavor. Consider trying meatless Mondays or eating a vegan diet just a few times a month. If images of granola, patchouli, and cardboard tasting meals are dancing in your head, you may be in for a surprise. Los Angeles is home to some of the most amazing vegan restaurants in Southern California. Try Savyon Café’s vegan Sunday Brunch; grab lunch at The Veggie Grill or Native Food’s Café on the Westside; get drinks and try the vegan bratwurst at Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank; or get dessert at Cobblermania on La Brea. Join the likes of Natalie Portman; Alicia Silverstone, Kristin Bell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Carrie Underwood, Joaquin Phoenix, Tony Gonzales, Tony Robbins, Chris Martin, Jared Leto… the list goes on, and feel the benefits of a plant based diet. Not only is it healthy, it also has significant environmental effects as well. C’mon! Be aware of your own carbon footprint. All the cool kids are doing it!
3) Try a new workout.
Including fitness in your New Year’s resolution is hardly a new idea, but take advantage of the fabulous gyms and exclusive workouts offered around LA. Try a Bollywood Burn class, a cardio class which uses Indian music and choreography, offered at Sports Club LA or at Bally’s in Hollywood; rock some hot stilettos in a women only pole dancing class (sorry guys) at Shelia Kelly’s S Factor on Wilshire. Cardio Barre, Krav Maga, Crossfit, and Spinlates can be found all around the city. There’s no excuse to be bored with your workout routine in LA.
4) Get Involved.
Make 2012 the year you put your time and energy into a cause you believe in. Visit http://www.volunteerlosangeles.com/ for a list of worthwhile organizations that would gladly put your helping hands to work. You can also mark your calendars and plan to participate in some of the famous walks that take place in our city such as the AIDS Walk LA in October. It is one of the most visible and recognizable events in the United States. The Revlon Run/Walk for Breast Cancer is another big one and takes place this yearon May 12, 2012 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park.
Google your city for a list of events, organizations, and causes and make a difference up in your hood.
5) Enjoy nature.
Since we live in the concrete jungle of LA and likely spend most of our days at work followed by traffic on the 101, 10, 405 or the 5, it’s easy to forget about our own great outdoors. Take a hike. No really, take a hike. Check out Modern Hiker to find a trail, or for some of my favorite famous outdoor workout spots and locations visit Runyon Canyon, Coldwater Canyon, Malibu Canyon Piuma Ridge, The Famous Silverlake Stairs (the 900 block of Vendome Street). Not only will you appreciate our city from this vantage point, you will get a fantastic workout while actually being outside! Don’t forget your sunscreen.
There are many reasons to take up mediation. It lowers oxygen consumption and decreases respiratory rate; increases blood flow and slows the heart rate; it leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation; reduces anxiety attacks and decreases muscle tension; it helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.; and it enhances energy, strength and vigor, just to name a few. Watch your road rage subside once you start to turn into yourself and find your stillness on a regular basis. If the mere thought of sitting still makes you antsy, yoga is a great alternative and is offered for free daily at Runyon Canyon from 10:30- 11:45 a.m. Namaste.
7) Embrace Culture.
Make a monthly appointment with our fabulous city at one of the many opportunities to celebrate the arts in LA. The Art Walk in downtown LA takes place on the second Thursday of every month or First Fridays in Venice are a great place to start. Join the culture seeking masses for shopping, sidewalk sales, art gallery browsing, and food trucks. On yes, the food trucks! There are hundreds of playhouses, studios, and theaters around the city to see concerts, plays, and art exhibits- often free or for a donation of a small fee. Check your local paper for events and venues and show up. Art is always alive in Los Angeles. Don’t miss it!!
8 ) Stop Watching Reality TV.
It’s an election year! Let your voice be heard. Register to vote ASAP and on November 6, 2012, don’t miss the federal election. It’s your chance to choose your President, Vice President and the Congress.
10) Take a Class.
Expand your mind. Keep learning. Do something fun like a dance class, an art or a writing class, cooking, or learn to play a musical instrument. You can find these classes all over Los Angeles. If you aren’t sure where to start, find a workshop to open your creative channels at Creative Life, City Sip in Echo park offers wine classes for a low fee, Sur La Table in Pasadena and the Grove hosts fun and fabulous cooking classes, Pasadena’s Lower Arroyo Seco Park/Roving Archers club offers free archery lessons every Saturday morning at nine o’clock sharp. Check with the parks and recreation department in your city for low cost or free classes in many subjects including music, dance, language, and cooking classes.