We’re three days into 2012, so it’s about time the Reading Glasses Shopper team wishes you a Happy New Year! Today I’m going to write about something that’s on everyone’s minds right now: New Year’s Resolutions.

If you’re anything like me, you make annual resolutions that you delude yourself into believing you’ll actually follow through with, when in fact none of them last longer than a month. So after years of failure to follow through, I’ve learned some attainable ones that are easy to achieve.  And these do not include the popular “work out every day” or “lose weight.” I’ve found the most attainable resolutions revolve around exercising your brain. Immediate mental stimulation is the short-term benefit, and increased memory can be a long-term benefit if you stick with the resolution.

Here are 3 attainable New Year’s Resolutions that stimulate the brain:

*Under each resolution is a “challenge” if you’re feeling extra ambitious.

NEWSPAPERS: Choose a section of the newspaper that you’d like to learn more about and vow to read it each day.  Whether you’re interested in business, politics, art, or foreign affairs, read every related article so you can piece them together into an understanding of the bigger story.  Online sites like Twitter can serve as an aid, as you can follow your favorite news stations or papers.  With the presidential race in full swing, it wouldn’t be a bad time to start reading up on U.S. politics.
*Challenge: Read the Wall Street Journal…and understand it.

CROSSWORDS: Pull that newspaper back open or find a free crossword website to complete each week.  The weekday papers generally have a smaller crossword than the weekend versions, so start small and work your way up.  It’s also helpful to be consistent with the paper or site that you use.  As you start to work on them more often, you’ll pick up on the types of clues they give and see the perspective from which they write them.
*Challenge: Complete a weekend crossword once a month.

MUSIC: Turn on some new radio or Pandora stations with music you aren’t familiar with.  Try something like classical or jazz.  These can be challenging if there are no words to accompany the music, but they’ll help you appreciate a new style and you’ll begin to understand what the music is conveying, almost like learning a new language.
*Challenge: Learn to play an instrument.

Adapt these to meet your own strengths and goals.  Don’t forget to use your favorite pair of reading glasses as you take on these brain-strengthening exercises.

Author bio: Ashley is a senior at Indiana University.  She writes for Affordable Style and gets to share her love for both fashion and  people as a part time manager at Express.