Local experts share tips to help make your New Year’s resolutions a reality


— Compiled by Karen Billing

A new year means new resolutions to make and try not to break. We picked a handful of the most common New Year’s resolutions (travel, eat more vegetables, floss daily and exercise more) and asked a few local professionals for tips and a little motivation on making these most common resolutions stick in 2012:


Once you pick the location, here’s some cues from Bill Altaffer, one of the world’s most traveled people who lives in Carmel Valley:

• Always travel light

• Make many copies of your photo page of your passport and hide them on you and in your luggage

• Always get emergency evacuation insurance

• Buy a Lonely Planet guide book

• Bring with you in your carry-on bag things you will need like medicine

• Change money when you arrive

Eat more vegetables

From Jimbo’s…Naturally!:

“As many people use the New Year as an opportunity to define health & nutrition goals, it is important to note which seasonal produce items are available in the winter.

“The leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food. We offer four varieties of organic kale, all locally grown from Be-Wise Ranch in San Pasqual: Lacinato, Red Russian, Redbor and Green. Kale is widely recognized as an incredibly nutritious vegetable with low fat, no cholesterol and no powerful antioxidant properties. Some other winter vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, chard, Brussels sprouts, potatoes and yams.

“Our produce department isn’t the only place in-store where you can get your vegetable. Our juice bar makes refreshing and nutritious drinks with you choice of organic vegetables. For many, this is a quick and easy way to get your daily serving of organic vegetables. In fact, we sell juicers and are always encouraged by the passion of our customers who have discovered juicing at home.

“For those who take pride in preparing a healthy dish, please consider the recipe for our Chow Mein Veggie Stir Fry. The recipe is simple; a bunch of colorful organic vegetables, noodles, and teriyaki sauce. We have used this recipe when visiting local schools to show the kids and parents how easy it can be to prepare a vegetable filled dish. Best of all, the kids love it and you will too!

“Chow Mein Veggie Stir Fry

1 cup organic broccoli florets

1 cup organic snow peas, cut into half-inch pieces

1 cup organic carrots, julienned

1 cup organic red bell pepper, julienned

1 cup organic zucchini, chop into small pieces

3-4 tablespoons organic sunflower oil

1 tablespoons organic ginger, minced

1 tablespoon organic garlic, minced

1/2 cup Tom’s Teriyaki Sauce (available in Jimbo’s Flavours to Go Case) or your favorite teriyaki sauce

1 12 oz. Package organic chow mein style noodles by O’hana House

  1. Clean and prep all vegetables, keeping separate
  2. Cut noodles into bite-sized pieces
  3. Heat the oil in a wok or non-stick skillet. Add broccoli and zucchini; stir fry about 2 minutes. Add bell peppers, garlic, ginger and noodles; stir fry about 2 minutes. Add carrots, snow peas and teriyaki sauce; stire until sauce is warmed and has coated ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

Jimbo’s…Naturally is located in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center.”
Floss daily

From Dr. Curtis Chan:

“Flossing your teeth daily is one of the key components to having a healthy oral environment. If you only brush your teeth without flossing, you actually are leaving about 40 percent of bacteria and germs (dental plaque) that cause harm to our teeth.

“When the dental plaque is left too long on our teeth surfaces, the surrounding gum tissues become inflamed and irritated, causing a gum condition called ‘gingivitis.’ Bad breath and terrible odors in our mouths can many times be attributed to unmanaged dental plaque in the mouth. If neglected for several days, the plaque will harden and becomes even more harmful to our dental gum tissues leading to periodontal disease and destruction of our jaw bones. This process is slow progressing and usually painless. Recent studies have now shown that there is a link between periodontal disease and heart disease and stroke. That’s why it is absolutely important to manage your oral environment on a daily basis by not just brushing, but also flossing.

“One easy tip I remind patients to do is to find a time and a place where they can consistently do their two-three minutes of flossing. There are many brands of floss available, and one should consult with their dental hygiene professional for their recommendations...wax, unwaxed, nylong, Teflon, etc. Depending on your current conditions, there will be a floss that will best fit your needs.

“The most important thing is find a floss that works for you and allows you to do it in a easy, manageable timely manner. There are even floss aids/holders that make it easier for those who have dexterity issues that make it difficult to floss. If you need help, ask your dental professional on how to floss properly.

“Flossing at night before going to bed is preferred, but just doing it at least once during the day is the target. Some people even find it convenient to do their flossing while taking a showering—whatever it takes, this dreaded activity, but very necessary will do wonders for everyone’s dental health.

“Remember, you don’t have to floss your teeth....just the ones you want to keep. Your teeth were meant to last you a lifetime, take great care to do yourself a big favor and get into the habit of daily flossing.”

Learn more at curtischandds.com

Get more exercise

From Eric Barajas, trainer at Pacific Sports Resorts (formerly Pacific Athletic Club):

“One of the best ways to follow through on this popular New Year’s resolution is to have a defined, realistic set of goals (lose 5 percent body fat, have more energy, feel better, etc.), develop a plan to achieve your specific goals and find someone to hold you accountable until you achieve desired results.

“Setting achievable goals to build upon will help carry your motivation through the New Year. Start with something as simple as setting aside a half an hour two to three times a week to dedicate to exercise or moving. Once you accomplish this goal build on it.

“Write down exactly when you plan on exercising. Analyze your schedule and find times that you can dedicate to spend on improving your health. Once you’ve figured out an exercise schedule tell someone about it and have them hold you accountable for following through on your plan. Finding a friend to work out with, hiring a trainer or making a wager with a spouse are all great ways to keep you exercising throughout the New Year.

“If you are truly dedicated to changing old habits and committed to spending time working on improving your health this could be the year you permanently cross more exercise off the list of New Year’s resolutions.”

Contact Eric Barajas for personal training at (619) 964-3742.

Get your finances in shape

From Diane Huckabee, CFP, CRPC financial advisor with Edward Jones in Carmel Valley:

This year, in addition to hitting the gym, learning that second language and getting better organized, why not also consider a few financial resolutions?

What types of resolutions might you consider? Here are a few suggestions:

• Contribute more to your retirement accounts. The new year means that you are one year closer to retirement. To help yourself build resources for the lifestyle you’ve envisioned as a retiree, try to boost your contributions to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. You can do this if you get a salary increase and devote at least part of it to your 401(k). At the same time, try to “max out” on your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). For 2012, you can contribute up to $5,000 to an IRA, or $6,000 if you’re 50 or older.

• Reduce your debts. Look for ways to cut down or consolidate your debts. It may not be easy, but it’s worth the effort because the lower your debt load, the more money you’ll have available to invest for the future.

• Build an emergency fund. If you don’t already have an emergency fund containing between six and 12 months’ worth of living expenses, start building one soon. Keep the money in a liquid vehicle — one that’s separate from your everyday checking and savings accounts. Without such an emergency fund, you may be forced to dip into your long-term investments to pay for unexpected costs, such as a major car repair, a new furnace or a large medical bill.

• Don’t overreact to volatility. In 2011, the financial markets have been volatile, with big gains followed by a big roller-coaster pattern. Try not to let large, short-term price movements influence your investment decisions. Many of the factors that cause jumps or declines are not that relevant to long-term results — and as an investor, you want to focus on the long term. Concentrate on building a portfolio that’s suitable for your individual goals and risk tolerance.

• Be aware of different types of risk. For many investors, “investment risk” strictly means the possibility of losing principal when the value of an investment drops. Consequently, to cut back on their risk in the face of a volatile market, they may sell off stocks and load up on certificates of deposit (CDs), bonds and other so-called “safer” investments.

But each investment actually carries its own type of risk. For example, if you own CDs that pay a 2 percent return, and the inflation rate is 3 percent, you will lose purchasing power over time. And if you wanted to sell your bonds before they had matured, you’d have to sell them at a discount if the market interest rate had risen above the “coupon” rate of your bond because no one would pay you full price for them. Just be aware that no investment is “risk-free,” and try to build a diversified portfolio that can lessen the impact of one specific type of risk.

By following these suggestions, you can go a long way toward making 2012 a good year in which to make progress toward your important financial goals. So plan ahead — and make the right moves.

Diane Huckabee can be reached at 858-794-7399.