Tips for a stellar start to 2023

Locals share their thoughts on everything from cooking at home to improving well-being

Progress not perfection.

Perhaps you didn't achieve all of your New Year's resolutions in 2022 and aren't keen on setting any new ones this year.

No worries. We talked to local experts in a variety of fields - from real estate to religion - who shared a few simple suggestions to get 2023 off to a great start.

Here's what they had to say.

"I think beginning a new year starts with authentic reflection. So that means taking an honest look at the previous year, reviewing your ups and downs, your accomplishments and how you imagine the new year. Get creative! Use colors pictures, and words that resonate with you. Then, you create a plan. Start with small, measurable goals and go from there. Make time to move your body, explore ways to reduce your stress and prioritize your well-being." - Jadyn Chipman, exercise and stress management programs manager, Wellness House

"Wisdom isn't weakness. Sometimes in life and in fitness, we try to push things too hard. Our goal is to push it to the limit, not over it. Over the limit gives us setbacks. You'll spend weeks and months recovering from an injury or figuring out what you did wrong in life when you go over the limit. Know when to throttle back and take a moment to breathe. That's how you make your gains real gains instead of momentary achievement." - Scott Grove, owner, Hinsdale Fitness Club

"Cooking at home is often healthier and less expensive but it takes time and creative energy. Even if you love to cook, there are days when getting dinner on the table is a challenge. What I have learned over the years is to be more realistic about how much time I have and what my family actually wants to eat. Cooking on Friday nights used to be my kryptonite until I made a change. Fridays are now a fun food night when I usually make simpler gastro pub inspired sandwiches or tacos - healthier versions of things that we would eat if we were going out for dinner. If you love what you are eating then you will be more likely to cook and enjoy the experience." - Amy McCauley, home cook and The Hinsdalean's food columnist

"Everyone should review their cash balances in their various accounts - checking, savings, wherever - to make sure they either are in money funds that are having some nice yields right now or move them into money funds or T-bills. If you have a 401K or a retirement plan, you should maximize your contributions. Markets were down 20 to 30 percent last year. Historically when you have a big decline, the following year you have a recovery. Things are on sale right now. You should look at all your credit cards and review all your automatic deductions. So many of us have $4.99, $5.99, $9.99 deductions that you accumulate over time. You ought to call your insurance agent, get a copy of your policies and review your deductibles and coverages. Sometimes just a minor adjustment really gives you better coverage for not a lot of money a year." - Dave Pequet, owner, MPI Wealth Management

"In my tradition there is no principle more central than grace. Everyone could use a little more time and space, a chance to try again or an acknowledgment that perfect might not be possible this side of heaven. Knowing how much God loves us, in 2023 let's offer grace to everyone we meet, not forgetting to save some grace for ourselves." - Katie Hines-Shah, senior pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church

"When considering how parents can have a great start to the new year, the words recognition, repair and recovery come to mind. Children do best when their emotions are recognized or validated by their parents; it can be magical when parents name the feelings then stop talking, rather than try to solve the problem. When things go sideways, always repair - a parent who owns his/her part helps a child feel seen and models self-reflection and personal responsibility. Parents and kids will inevitably be stressed as the quiet of the holidays fades away. Cultivating self-compassion, connections with friends who "see" you, breath work, journaling and any form of exercise are just a few things that aid in recovery from a stressful circumstance. Most importantly, imperfect parenting with a return to equilibrium is exactly what your children need to see as they navigate the inevitable bumps that 2023 and life will bring." - Cara Hurley, licensed clinical psychologist

"The new year is a great time to get out of a reading slump or shake up your 'To Read' pile. The end of the year brings with it many 'best of' lists, which are great resources for finding your next read. Try reading a genre you don't usually go for or use a reading challenge like Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge to help expand your horizons. Audiobooks and graphic novels definitely count for reading, too. Finally, ask a librarian what they've been enjoying and recommending!" - Meghan Hall, adult services librarian, Hinsdale Public Library

"Most people when they are selling their houses have been in their houses for years. Declutter. If you're not going to take something with you when you move, start getting rid of it so it's one less thing to do when the house sells. I think really looking at your mechanicals, and if they are at the end of their life cycle, consider replacing them. Especially with interest rates being higher, people are not going to have excess money to spend on their house when they buy it. Do an inspection and find out what maintenance things need to be take care of in your house. A downspout hanging off the side of your house to you is no big deal, but it is to a buyer. Painting everything white is still a seller. You're competing with newer houses. As clean and crisp and white as you can make it, the better." - Kris Berger, real estate broker, Compass

"Be full of yourself. To truly practice unconditional love for yourself, 'Forgive yourself often' is a motto that can help. Take some time to recognize what you need more (or less of) to demonstrate this love. We should all have more stillness, more creative, more nature etc. Less people-pleasing, less draining behavior, less comparison, for instance." - Bridget Juister, owner, B Holistic Way

Author Bio

Author photo

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean