Get It Done
Time for a change? Here are 25 ways to make it happen.
Julie Rome shows off her picks at Knit Wit in Bryn Mawr.
It’s January. So in keeping with tradition, why not make at least one resolution and stick with it? Try this one: Don’t get yourself stressed out with a lengthy list of resolutions. Simply promise yourself that this is the year you’re going to get a handle on what’s eluded you in the past.
Sound daunting? It’s not. On the following pages, we’ve compiled expert advice from local professionals and service providers on how to get things done in a better way.
So get excited: 2008 is going to be a great year.
1. Eradicate that never-ending to-do list
Imagine being able to hire someone to run around town doing all those tedious errands that drain so much of your precious time—everything from picking up the dry-cleaning and returning movies at Blockbuster to getting the car inspected. Say hello to Amy Hendrixson, owner of Wayne-based Elan Concierge, who makes her living doing just that. "I get hired to complete all sorts of tasks that prevent clients from doing what they really want to do," she says. And it can’t be so bad if you’re getting paid for it. (610) 420-1624, elanconcierge.net.
2. Get moving
How much and how often should you exercise? The average is one hour three days a week. The next question: What type of exercise is best? If you’re launching yourself off the couch for the first time in a while, try anything that gets you mobile. Try a yoga or Pilates class, walk the track at your area high school, or swim laps at the YMCA. Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to get motivated—and stay that way.
3. Reinvent your wardrobe
It’s a dilemma so many women face: a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. Wynnewood’s Julie Rome, owner of Wardrobe Wizards, has a knack for perusing a walk-in closet and putting together fabulous outfits. "My goal is to help women feel empowered by their appearance and their clothing," says Rome. "Getting dressed should not be stressful."
Rome—who considers herself a much gentler version of the hosts of TLC’s hit show What Not to Wear—assesses each article of clothing, deciding what should stay and what should go. Then she assembles what she can and makes a list of what’s missing. If you want her to shop with you, she’ll do that, too. Rome’s best advice: Invest in a pair of great-fitting jeans and always pick comfort over size (a good tailor can make it fit perfectly). (610) 660-8133, wardrobewizards.com.
4. Launch a business
Finally ready to take the plunge and be your own boss? Before you embark on that risky venture, make an appointment with a counselor
at SCORE, a non-profit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation of small businesses nationwide. SCORE’s volunteers are owners and executives who want to share their insight on starting, buying or managing a small business. Who knows? It may be one of the best investments you make. (610) 687-6232, score513.org.
5. Let it go
One of the best things you can do for yourself doesn’t cost a penny—forgive. Let go of grievances and pent-up anger. Your behavior and how you react to things are among the few things you have control of in this world.
6. Plan a dream vacation
Make this the year you upgrade from your typical jaunt to the Jersey Shore. Swain Tours in Ardmore can set you up with a customized itinerary for an African safari or a trip to Australia. Thinking of maybe France, Italy or Spain? Doorways Villa Vacations in Bryn Mawr will find the perfect
rental in any of these locations—even London or the Caribbean. (800) 22-SWAIN, swaintours.com; (610) 520-0806, villavacations.com.
9. Lose that weight—and keep it off
Dr. Judith Beck (pictured above) has helped countless people rethink weight loss with her 2007 book, The Beck Diet Solution—Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person. Director of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research in Bala Cynwyd, Beck is the daughter of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) pioneer Aaron Beck. CBT’s underlying thrust—changing your thoughts to change your behavior—is one of the most effective treatments known for everything from depression and substance abuse to insomnia and, now, weight loss. "People can lose weight," says Beck. "They just don’t know how to keep it off."
Her book is the first to utilize proven CBT techniques for dieting. It outlines a six-week, step-by-step program filled with skills that enable you to change your eating behaviors by training your brain. "Learning the skills to keep weight off is like learning how to play the piano," says Beck. "You have to constantly practice. Skills become automatic and second nature to a person. There’s no magic." beckdietsolution.com.
10. Get your paperwork in order
Don’t let 2008 pass you by without these important documents:
1. A will. "If you already have one, review it and have it updated with any changes," says Bill McDevitt, an attorney in Media.
2. A durable power of attorney. "Even if a person is just naming their spouse, they should still do it for a variety of legal reasons," says McDevitt.
3. A healthcare directive or living will.
11. Get cultured
You don’t have to jump on I-76 to broaden your cultural horizons. Explore the Main Line’s many local museums. Villanova and St. Joseph’s universities have wonderful theater departments, with ticket prices a fraction of what you’d pay downtown. Or take in a show at Malvern’s People’s Light & Theatre Company or the Media Theatre. The Haverford School’s Centennial Hall is another favorite for live performances put on by the Academy of Vocal Arts and other esteemed organizations.
12. Catch your zzz’s
If you’re counting sheep by the thousands each week, you may be one of more than 70 million Americans with a sleep disorder. "People often take sleep for granted, but getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of life," says Dr. Helena Schotland, co-medical director of Bryn Mawr Hospital’s Sleep Medicine Services. On average, eight hours is needed to function properly the next day. Some of us require a little more; others get by on a little less.
13. Invest in some "me" time
What would you do with an extra hour each week? Well, then do it. Start a hobby you truly enjoy and resolve to spend at least 60 minutes a week on it. A perfect way to remain accountable: Join a group. It’s much harder to say no to yourself if others are involved.
14. Give back
Writing a check is an easy and effective way to give back, but offering your time and ideas is also crucial for non-profits. Decide on what you’re truly passionate about and volunteer. There are countless charity organizations throughout the Main Line that could use your help.
15. Make some extra cash
If you’re looking for money for your next rainy-day shopping excursion, Stacie Forman recommends looking in your closet. Forman is the owner of Main Line eConsign, a Bala Cynwyd company that specializes in selling new and gently used designer clothes, shoes, handbags and other accessories on eBay. After buying and selling on the Web for the past five years, Forman decided to make a business out of it last April. Forman makes a house call, goes through your items, and determines what will sell and what won’t. "EBay is so much better than
using a traditional local consignment shop because your buyer can be anywhere in the world," says Forman.
And while most consignment shops keep 50 percent of the sale price, Forman gives 65-80 percent to the client. Items are up for auction within a week of receipt, and a check from sales is mailed within three. (610) 668-0860, mainlineeconsign.com.
16. Manage your money
Establishing goals is an easy process—the real work comes with being proactive in achieving them. "Many people have goals—saving for a new house, retirement, their kids’ education," says Chip Addis of Addis & Hill, financial consultants in Wayne. "What they lack is any kind of plan to accomplish them. People often procrastinate when it comes to their finances."
Addis advises people to maximize any retirement plan their company offers them. The start of a new year is also a good time to go over your investment portfolio and rebalance it to make sure your risks are in check. Lastly, review all insurance policies and make sure coverage amounts are adequate. (610) 688-9500, addishill.com.
17. Watch what you eat
People always ask Judy Matusky what they should eat to lose weight and keep it off. "There’s no easy fix," says Matusky, a licensed dietician and nutritionist with Main Line Health. "It’s eating well a majority of the time."
Important changes include loading up on fruits and vegetables (seven to nine servings is recommended). "Americans eat half the amount of fiber we need every day," she says. "Make at least half the grains you eat whole instead of refined grains."
Matusky advises choosing a whole-grain cereal at breakfast, switching to brown rice and eating whole-wheat bread and pasta. And eat more fish. "Even two servings a week can make a difference," she says.
18. Serve a home-cooked meal
No one ever said a home-cooked meal had to be prepared at home. Family dinners with gourmet implications are a very real possibility thanks to chef Joshua McCullough (pictured above), owner of Five Star Gourmet. Every Wednesday, McCullough—who’s worked at some of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants, including Le Bec-Fin, Gayle and Blackfish—e-mails a menu to his customers; they reply back with their selections by Friday; and meals are delivered to their doorstep by Monday. "Our mission is to provide busy families with exceptional food at home," says McCullough. "I worked many late nights, and there’s only so many hoagies and pizzas you can eat."
The menu changes weekly and can be customized to satisfy dietary or food preferences. Recent entrées include crab and wild mushroom lasagna with zucchini and roasted garlic cream, or a pork chop with Yukon gold potatoes, bacon, leeks and cherry jus. Meals are packaged individually or for an entire family, and McCullough only brings three days’ worth of meals at a time, so everything is always fresh. Heating instructions are included on everything. (215) 518-4924.
19. Get checked out
Put yourself first for once and make appointments for all health screenings due this year.
20. Make dates (and plenty of them)
Schedule regular one-on-one time with your spouse, kids and friends. It can be as simple as a quick latte at Starbucks with your best girlfriend or a dinner sans kids at a favorite restaurant with your significant other. Dates with your kids are easy—they’ll appreciate any time they have your undivided attention for more than an hour.
21. Get a home makeover
Sprucing up the house doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Give Redesign Right’s Debbie Correale a day, and she promises to "artfully enhance your
home with what you already own," creating a fresh look with existing furniture, artwork and accessories. "People have stuff they’ve inherited or bought, but they just can’t make it work," she says. "My job is to make it all work." (610) 955-8202, redesignright.com.
22. Go green
Do your part to make the environment a top priority. Simple things like watching the amount of electricity you use or carpooling can make a difference. Remember: reduce, reuse, recycle.
23. Give new life to something old
Once Upon a Time Creation’s Doris O’Brien and Jen Anderson are a mother-and-daughter team who can turn something so-so into something spectacular. They’ve transformed pieces of architectural salvage into usable pieces of furniture, old windows into chalkboards or corkboards, and shutters into shelves. For some of their more personal creations, they’ve made old clothing into blankets, pillows or handbags, and fashioned holiday ornaments out of wedding dresses. "People have a lot of sentimental items they don’t want to throw away," says Anderson. "We give those items a new life." (610) 202-7850, onceuponatimecreation.com.
24. Get some class
Learn something new at Main Line School Night. Offered at various locations, classes cover a wide range of subjects—everything from the traditional (foreign languages) to the quirky (how to write a great online dating profile). (610) 687-0460, mainlineschoolnight.org.
25. Take time to enjoy life and just be.