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Articles for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
Meet Your Resolutions Online
Written by Eileen Parzek, © 2004
Although the best plan is always to set goals and adjust your path every day of the year, we do tend to think a lot more about it as a new year begins. For all the traditional resolutions that people have, there are some great web sites set up to make it easier to reach those goals. Before there was ecommerce, the web had two primary functions - community and information dissemination - and these web sites reflect the best of that in helping people meet their goals. We will look at some of the best resources out there for meeting the resolutions that will actually help you in your business!
Learning Something New
The web is loaded with informational sites with ways you can learn something new - whatever it is you wish to learn. You can take college classes, brush up on an old education, and learn a new hobby or computer skill. Many of these sites are huge, free repositories of tutorials and lessons on tons of subjects, and others help you search for accredited courses to take through distance learning.
You might wonder why this classic resolution is on the list - until you consider how much of your hard earned small business dollars are going up in smoke. There are a great many web sites dedicated to providing support to quitters. Some of these cost money and some are free - but when you tally up the costs of smoking, it does not seem so bad. Having a community that you can turn to throughout the day and night for support, with the ability to reference helpful ideas and information, can make all the difference in this battle. Some of the most popular sites are:
There is also a neat piece of software that you can download to stay on track when you quit, called SilkQuit - http://www.silkquit.org/ It keeps track of how many days, hours and minutes you've been smoke free, how much money you've saved and how many cigarettes you didn't light in the time since you quit - a powerful motivator!
Get in Shape
A lot of self employed people find themselves working a tremendous number of hours, often in a sedentary way. If you have decided you have to start watching what goes into your mouth each day, then you might want to check out http://www.fitday.com. This free web site gives you a place to track your eating habits, and view reports about how balanced and healthy your diet is. It can be quite a revelation if you honestly track what you are eating! You can also input all the physical activity you get and it will readjust the numbers to fairly account for exercise.
One of the best examples of a free community is http://www.3fatchicks.com/ -- bursting with articles, calculators, forums and nutrition guides. Another excellent site is http://www.foodfit.com/, which includes free resources and a community, as well as paid services.
Other popular paid sites you can join to get community support, recipe databases, healthy advice, interactive tools and meal plans are:
Stretch your Mind
Believe it or not, the web can help you improve your emotional and mental health, too. Perhaps you need your spirits lifted - you could go to a site like http://www.inspirationalstories.com/ to read some of the stories that people have left there. You could subscribe to have a new positive affirmation emailed to you every day with http://free-positive-thought.com/. You could visit a site like http://www.selfgrowth.com/ and browse through the thousands of articles and resources on every sort of mind-body-spirit improvement imaginable. If that is too goofy for you, you could stick to just what will help you in business and visit a site like http://www.mindtools.com/, which provides information in areas such as time and stress management, memory improvement, and decision making.
Of course, these are just a few tips and ideas. The wonderful aspect of the web is that all this information is available at our fingertips 24/7, any day of the year, whenever the mood strikes us to learn something new or expand our boundaries a bit.
Eileen 'Turtle' Parzek is a veteran marketing designer and online communications consultant who has been working from home and virtually since 1995. Her business, SOHO It Goes! (www.soho-it-goes.com) specializes in providing technology driven design, marketing and communication services to small businesses and organizations.
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