Time is quickly running out for end of the year goals

The countdown to the end of 2013 is gaining momentum and time to finish those yearly to-do lists is quickly fading.

While the days remaining nears single digits — keeping pace with the falling temperature this week — there is still some time to end the year on a positive note and start those pesky New Year’s resolutions on the right foot.

First on most people’s list is finishing holiday shopping.

For those not brave enough to fight the crowds on Black Friday, leery of online shopping Cyber Monday or just procrastinating like myself, shopping for others can be a daunting task.

While gift cards and cash don’t provide that surprise factor like other presents, they are almost a guarantee to be useful.

Youngsters hoping for that perfect gift can now send their Santa letters electronically.

Luckily, Santa didn’t hire the same company that designed the website for the Affordable Health Care Act, so all Christmas letters are successfully arriving to the North Pole inbox.

On a serious note, it does sound like the website is performing at a much higher success rate, which is great news for individuals trying to sign up for the services it provides.

The next seasonal items on the list for a lot of people are college finals and plans to return home for the winter break.

Preparing for a college kid to come home for a couple of weeks can be just as stressful for parents as the semester tests are for students.

The hardest adjustment is matching conflicting schedules. College kids are used to their new independence. Parents are used to an empty house or not having an extra person making messes and cleaning out the cupboards.

Remember, spending time together is important, but giving each other space this winter break will help keep tempers from flaring.

Finally, if you are looking to make a big change for 2014 — losing weight, studying more often or learning a new skill — start preparing for it now.

It is comparable to quitting smoking — another great New Year’s resolution. The success rate quitting cold turkey is much lower than an individual who uses support groups or other aids to help ease the transition.

Starting your goal now will give you a test run of what works and what doesn’t for you personally. Take the time to find out what healthy foods you like and can prepare easily, see if you can get a cheaper rate at a gym for the holiday season or find a friend to hold you accountable for your goals.

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I wanted to give a shout out to all the runners who braved the frigid conditions at the 35th Living History Farms race. Temperatures barely made it into double digits, making the seven-mile cross country race even more challenging.

I also really enjoyed the Band of Brotherhood 5K Run/Walk put on by Creston Fire Department. A special congratulations to Emma Harper for a strong finish.

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