The resolution solution

Tired of breaking your New Year's resolutions? Here are nine fun and healthy pledges you'll actually want to keep!

There’s one thing we’re all good at – breaking New Year’s resolutions. Although admirable, last year’s goal to lose 20 pounds by spring or start going to the gym was tossed to the curb like a wilting Christmas tree. Still, resolutions don’t have to be difficult to achieve. We’ve rounded up nine fun and healthy pledges you’ll have no problem keeping.

Not only is it relaxing, but a massage can boost the immune system and lower blood pressure. You deserve some pampering in 2009, so check with your health insurance provider to see if you’re covered for massage therapy. Also, many schools offer treatments by massage therapy students at a reduced rate.

Games like Scrabble, chess and bridge are thought to be a workout for your brain, improving memory and function. If you prefer games of the high-tech variety, try Nintendo’s Brain Age, which includes number puzzles and connect-the-dots exercises or the Sony PlayStation Portable’s Go! Sudoku with over 100,000 mind-bending games.

If your love life has lost its lustre, the new year is a perfect excuse to spice things up. Check out your local sex shop for something saucy or download some free love coupons, valid for items such as a non-stop body kiss from head to toe, and pass them onto your partner to redeem whenever the moment strikes.

Give someone a compliment. Did your mother-in-law lose 10 pounds? Was your best friend promoted? Did your neighbour manage to get all three kids to hockey practice (at different times) and a hot dinner on the table too? Tell them, sincerely, what incredible women they are. It will make them feel good and you’ll feel fantastic for it, too.

There’s one really easy way to feel healthier, look better, improve your mood and increase your energy level – get more sleep. Easier said than done? All it takes is a little organization. Shorten your morning routine by showering or getting that shirt ironed the night before. It will give you an extra 15-30 minutes of zzz’s.

Bored of step aerobics or running? There’s a new way to work out – sex! Kerry McCloskey says she lost 23 pounds in the bedroom and kissed and told all about it in her book, The Ultimate Sex Diet.

One of the most common resolutions we make is to spend more time with family and friends. Make ordering in a Friday-night tradition and spend more time enjoying the company you keep.

We all gave three cheers when studies reported dark chocolate might help lower our blood pressure. So, up the nutrient ante by pairing it with your favourite berries – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or others – to get a vitamin, mineral and antioxidant punch that’s scrumptious.

If you’re trying to balance your chequebook, but need a little retail therapy, don’t fret – you can do both. Root through the sales racks, wait for after-holiday specials and check out second-hand stores. You may not be able to justify those brand-spanking-new Ralph Lauren boots, but a second-hand retailer or eBay may offer them at a bargain price.