A new year is here, and you’re trying to make yourself a better you. You’ve got plans and goals, and maybe you’ve already started your self-transformation – aren’t salads tasty? – and we’re here to give you a hand. Here are some tips to help you stick to your New Year’s resolution and give you a fresh start to 2017.

1. Getting in shape

Gym membership: acquired. Yoga mat: purchased. Vegetable smoothie: already pretending to enjoy it. Getting off the couch and onto the treadmill doesn’t come naturally to most, and there’s a reason why it’s the most common – and most commonly broken – New Year’s resolution.

It’s hard. We get it. Not every IDF (Zahal) soldier starts out as a fitness pro, and that’s why we have Combat Fitness Instructors to kick us into gear. You don’t need to splurge on an exercise machine – the IDF (Zahal)’s fitness experts are here to walk you through some new moves that you can do at home. Once you’ve got the exercises down, the most important thing is establishing a routine. If you get yourself used to a few reps before your morning shower or a run to clear your mind after work, getting in shape – and staying that way – will get a whole lot easier.    

2. Quitting smoking

Your car smells like cigarettes. Your clothes smell like cigarettes. At this point, even your cat smells like cigarettes. Everyone and their mother has told you that it’s time to quit, and you’re starting to agree. But quitting is easier said than done, and maybe it’s not your first time trying. You’re struggling to break the habit, and you’re not alone.

Got a New Year’s resolution? The IDF can help you keep it.

The IDF (Zahal) runs an annual workshop to help smoking soldiers leave their packs for good. We talked to an NCO who successfully kicked a 17-year smoking habit, proving that this New Year’s resolution isn’t always doomed by February. He has his own tips for those of you who are in the same position that he once was. With self-discipline and willpower, he proves that anything is possible.

3. Learning something new

What better time to pick up a hobby than the start of a bright new year? You’ve got options: there’s knitting (don’t worry, everyone’s scarves start out a little wonky), starting a language (we’ve always found Hebrew to be quite lovely), and maybe mastering some magic tricks (did you know that military magician is a real IDF (Zahal) job?). Of course, if your New Year’s resolution is to take up something fun and useful, we know a great place to start.

Krav maga, an Israeli martial art, is not only a great way to get into shape (see resolution number one), but its effectiveness as a self-defense tool can’t be beat. If you can’t find some lessons near you, we’ve got you covered. Our IDF (Zahal) krav maga instructors – who teach the best of the best – have a few moves to get you started.  

4. Getting your dream job

If you spend your days toiling in a cubicle while dreaming of opening a bakery, inventing the newest gadget, or taking to the skies, you’re not alone. One of the most popular, and one of the most commonly broken, New Year’s resolutions is finally pursuing the career of your dreams.    

Got a New Year’s resolution? The IDF can help you keep it.

Taking that leap of faith and chasing after your dreams is as exciting as it is scary – and it’s what Israeli youth who aspire to the IDF (Zahal)’s special forces units do every year. Even though a fraction succeed and go on to become the IDF (Zahal)’s elite, the lessons and trials translate well into civilian life. Preparedness, willpower, teamwork, and keeping a cool head under pressure can get you into Sayeret Matkal – or into the CEO’s seat.

5. Volunteering and giving

After all this self-improvement, it’s time to start putting some of that energy into lending a helping hand. There are tons of options – you can collect for international causes, or start at a soup kitchen closer to home. You can start a book donation drive for your local library, or get into the habit of saving your loose change to donate. A great way to help others is learning basic first aid, like CPR. You never know when you can use it to save a life.

Got a New Year’s resolution? The IDF can help you keep it.

Last year, our New Year’s resolution was also volunteering, and we put in the hard work to become the World Health Organization’s first-ever Type 3 field hospital. That means that our doctors and medics can give the best possible care at the scene of a disaster, whether it be in Haiti, Japan, Turkey, or the Syrian border.