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Drink less. Lose weight. Stop spending so much money. Talk about downers to start off the new year. After the champagne wears off, down to business you go. Order a Shirley Temple. Hop on the elliptical. Put down the credit card. But who really wants to tackle such monumental goals on January 1 and for the rest of the year?

There are so many great things to do in Austin, but we get caught up in our day-to-day lives commuting on MoPac, mowing our lawns and shuttling kids to the next activity. Sometimes we need to stop and remember just how great it is to be an Austinite. Try these easy New Year’s resolutions to put a little more Austin back into your life.

6.) Eat more barbecue

The pit at the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood. Photo Flickr user Necessary Indulgences, CC licensed

The pit at the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood. Photo: Flickr user Necessary Indulgences, CC licensed

Barbecue is a staple in Austin. Even the worst barbecue in town will work in a pinch. Go to your favorite spot more often; try a new place; or travel out to Elgin, Lockhart or Driftwood. You’ll be happy and constantly cleaning your sticky fingers with this resolution.

5.) Eat more Mexican food

A plate from Austin's Iron Cactus. Photo: Flickr user Basheer Tome, creative commons licensed.

A plate from Austin’s Iron Cactus. Photo: Flickr user Basheer Tome, creative commons licensed.

If you don’t like breakfast tacos, tamales and enchiladas, you might as well live somewhere else. What more could you want in your belly (besides barbecue and occasionally some Chinese food)? For Mexican food, Austin has gourmet establishments, casual dining restaurants, hole-in-the-wall dives, food trucks and people who come to office buildings peddling their fresh-made taco. More Mexican food is easy to find.

4.) Do something touristy

Photo: Flickr user Andreas Kambanis, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Andreas Kambanis, creative commons licensed.

Sometimes I marvel at how I live in a place where people go on vacation. Austin is filled with attractions that compel people to plunk down hundreds and even thousands of dollars just to get here from their own hometowns. Take advantage of living here. Swim at Barton Springs Pool. Take photos at the top of Mount Bonnell. Watch the bats come out at dusk. Spend a night in a boutique hotel. Do something where you run into people who are here for their first visit. Or just use Austin.com’s guide to the best spots around town to take a selfie!

3.) See more live music

toadies-aclBG

The Toadies play at ACL Moody Theater. Photo: Stephen C. Webster.

 

Honestly, live music isn’t my thing. It is too loud and ends way too late. But when I go see live music, I’m glad I did. If nothing else, I enjoy seeing people do what they love. Musicians exhibit so much passion and have so much fun. You can’t help but be influenced by it.

2.) Try a different park

Photo: Flickr user Roy Niswanger, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Roy Niswanger, creative commons licensed.

Austin has a great park system. We have small neighborhood parks designed for children; greenbelts for walkers, hikers and cyclists; and huge parks for athletic competitions and music festivals. You probably have a favorite park in your part of town. Check out the city’s park directory, then venture out and see what Austin has to offer. You might find a new favorite.

1.) Take a day trip to the Texas Hill Country

Photo by Dave Files, courtesy of TexasHillCountry.com.

Photo by Dave Files, courtesy of TexasHillCountry.com.

You do not have to drive very far to see some of the state’s most picturesque places. Take a drive west. See Wimberley, Fredericksburg or Garner State Park. Rugged land never looked so beautiful. And definitely make sure to follow Texas Hill Country on Facebook. They know the spots, and their photos (one seen above) are gorgeous.

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Featured photo: Flickr user Katie Haugland, creative commons licensed.

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