The new year is a time for new beginnings! For the YMCA — a leading nonprofit that strengthens community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — one of the most important resolutions is to resolve to make positive changes that strengthen individuals as well as entire communities.

Here are five new year’s resolutions the Y recommends for 2014:

» 1. Live Healthier — Achieving greater health and well-being is all about taking small steps. Take care of your health by eating nutritious foods and being physically active each day. Experts recommend 30 minutes of daily physical activity for adults and 60 minutes for kids. This can be achieved throughout the day by incorporating physical activity into your daily routines (i.e., taking stairs instead of elevators, walking instead of driving, etc.)

» 2. Volunteer — Doing good feels good, and giving back to support neighbors benefits everyone involved. Volunteering also provides individuals the opportunity to meet new people and to develop new relationships. Find an opportunity in your community that you may enjoy, such as cleaning your neighborhood park or distributing food at a local food bank. The Y has volunteer opportunities to fit every schedule.

» 3. Help Inspire Children and Teens, Be a Mentor — Children and teens often need caring adults to look up to and seek guidance. By nurturing our youth, we can help them strive to accomplish success and reach their full potential. Whether a relative or neighbor, use your experience and talent to help youth realize who they are and what they can be.

» 4. Learn Something New — Step out of your comfort zone, have fun and grow by exploring personal interests. Is there a yoga, cycling or Zumba class you have always wanted to take? Try something new that you’ve always wanted to do, to build your spirit, mind or body.

» 5. Spend Time with Family and Friends — Socializing is good for your well-being and spending time with the people you care most about really helps strengthen meaningful relationships. It also helpful to have a community of people you can reach out to during times of need. So, try to carve out time each month, depending on your schedule, to connect with family and friends, and to get involved with community organizations, such as the YMCA.

To learn more about our classes, mentoring for teens, volunteer opportunities or how we can help you achieve well-being in 2014, click here and then click on Find a Branch to find your nearest family Y.

— Tina Hernandez is the marketing and communications director for the Channel Islands YMCA.