Welcome to 2014! It’s a new year. Time for new opportunities. New beginnings. Successes and failures. Are you sticking to your New Year’s resolutions? Looking forward to anything in particular? 2014 is going to be a great year in Cincinnati. A few local tastemakers show us why.

New Year, New You

It’s no surprise that the most common “resolution” is to get into shape. But what might surprise you, as certified personal trainer and endurance coach Ryan Smith tells us, is that Cincinnati is ranked number one in the United States when it comes to community and environmental opportunities/indicators (parks, trails, etc.) – but 38th out of the top 50 cities in “personal health indicators.” (According to the American College of Sports Medicine’a American Fitness Index http://www.americanfitnessindex.org.) So what does that mean?

“What that tells me,” says Coach Smith, “is that we have a huge opportunity to make our city more healthy, and we have the best city in the US to make it happen.”

So is now a good time to resolve to get fit?

“Anytime is a great time to get in shape,” says Coach Smith. “It’s about starting where you are and taking each day and improving on yourself over where you were the day before. You’re not going to be perfect, and nobody is going to expect you to be, but start and stay the course.”

For most people, it’s “staying the course” that’s the hard part. But sticking to your goals doesn’t have to be difficult.

“Depending on the client that I’m working with and their goals,” Smith adds, “I have been more focused on increasing movement and less sitting. I encourage office-based individuals to live by the 25/5 rule: For every 25 minutes you sit, you have to get up and move for 5 minutes, even if it’s standing and walking around your desk. Standing, walking, and other movement-based activities are cumulative throughout the day and encourage core activation. Then, when you add a workout, it tops off a day that has already been filled with some activity.”

And for you gadget lovers out there, Coach Smith also encourages the use of devices “such as a FitBit or Jawbone Up to track daily steps taken, movement/activity, and stairs climbed. Those devices (and others like them) also allow you to track your nutrition and sleep quality.”

Be Reasonable

Like many others, filmmaker and partner at Barking Fish Entrtainment, Terry Lukemire isn’t big on New Year’s resolutions. “I believe in working on oneself year round,” he explains. “Living in the moment as much as one possibly can keeps you feeling fresh, young and alive. However, if you do find yourself wanting to set some goals for the new year, I’d say to look at one or two things to work on that aren’t too overwhelming. Don’t be extreme. Set achievable goals. Then, maybe move onto something a bit more challenging. I’ve seen too many folks start out all gung-ho and then throw in the towel because the expectations were way too high.”

When it comes to setting “achievable goals,” as a small business owner going into the new year, Terry says “first and foremost is seeing my small business get back to its growth potential by building new client relationships and continuing to develop exciting projects.”

So what does the director of the Pete Rose documentary 4192: The Crowning of the Hit King hope to see happening in Cincinnati this year?

“As a member of the film community,” Terry says, “I’d like to see more Cincinnati companies and local investors get a better understanding and engagement in what it would mean to produce film, television and commercial work here in our hometown. We have such a strong Arts community in general, but there is also a great pool of talent and resources in the film community that would greatly benefit the city and its businesses economically.”

On a totally unrelated note, since this is the year that bears his number (14) could this be the year Pete Rose is allowed into the Hall of Fame?

“With 2014 being the 25th Anniversary of Pete’s banishment from baseball, and Selig’s last year,” says Terry, “it’d be nice to see him going out doing the right thing and allow Pete to be reinstated. Pretty hypocritical when you see the whole A-Rod and PED scandal out there. Those are the real cheaters.”

Keep it Real

Speaking of baseball, one of the hometown team’s biggest fans is local musician Chris “Freekbass” Sherman. His song “Reds Fan” (from the Cincinnati Reds’ “Clutch Hits” CD) is a big hit every season. Naturally, he’s looking forward to baseball’s return.

“I always feel a little ‘incomplete’ when there is no baseball and specifically Reds baseball,” he says. “This should be a very interesting season this year.”

Freekbass plays all over the country – with his own personal projects and playing bass for the Kelly Richey Band on the road. One of this year’s goals is to bring it all back home. “I release my new album in late March,” Freek says, “and then I am doing a tour with funktronica band Particle to promote the album. One of our stops is here [Cincinnati] on Saturday, April 12 at the Southgate House Revival.”

Like many others in Cincinnati, Freekbass is excited to watch downtown continue to grow and flourish. “Each time I go downtown it feels more special and alive. It is wild to see how much growth there has been over the last few years.”

As for the future of Cincinnati, Freekbass says “I guess I hope, without sounding too cliché, that folks in the city from different perspectives on issues will work together to make Cincinnati a better place, and not demonize each other if they have a different view on how to accomplish that.”

Downtown Groove

Seemingly omnipresent Cincinnati blogger and photographer Bob Schwartz (known affectionately in the blogosphere as “5chw4r7z”) is always looking forward when it comes to the city he loves. “If you haven’t been to the riverfront downtown in awhile,” he proposes, “you’ll be surprised.”

As for what’s coming up in 2014? “Downtown will be at the start of a residential transformation,” says 5chw4r7z. “There will be around a thousand apartments under construction during 2014. With an influx of new residents it will be interesting to see what changes it brings to retail. Hopefully, we’ll see more stores catering to peoples daily needs.”

Aside from riding the Metro, 5chw4r7z’s preferred method of transportation is his bike. In fact, many downtown residents are two-wheeling it, and the city seems to have noticed. “Cincinnati is also right in the middle of a five-year plan to add 103 miles of bike lanes. We’ve seen Riverside Drive’s bike lanes finished and the next project will extend them up Central Ave towards the Northside from Downtown.”

A big fan of downtown Cincinnati’s diverse selection of eateries, 5chw4r7z says there are a few things that can go away with 2013. “The terms ‘gastropub’ and ‘localvore’ are two restaurant terms that have overstayed their welcome. I get local, but it’s been overused and has lost its meaning. People in Cincinnati understand quality now, they don’t need fancy terms to justify paying for it anymore.” (Personally, I can’t say I disagree with this…)

But more than anything, 5chw4r7z says, “The biggest item from 2013 that needs to go, and I think everyone can agree on this, is the distraction from the streetcar. There have been three elections and countless obstacles thrown in the streetcar’s path and the it has hurdled them all. The 2013 door can kick the debate right in the ass on its way out.”

Moving forward into 2014, 5chw4r7z says to look outside downtown Cincinnati, in what he calls “The Rise of the Neighborhoods.”

“Walnut Hills and Covington have laid down a good grass roots foundation for change in their community,” he explains. “The Northside has been doing groundwork for a few years. I’m expecting those three and others to flourish this year from all the work that’s been done. It won’t all happen this year but I expect city neighborhoods (including those right across the river) to grab attention.”

It’s All About Attitude

On a personal level, Freekbass’ philosophy on the new year is one we can all apply to our own lives: “I am already a bit of a workaholic,” he says, “but I hope to this year keep working a little harder and more efficiently and keep getting better at creating music. Music is what gives everything meaning to me and I hope to create and use it in the most positive way possible through 2014 and beyond.”

Hopefully you can find whatever it is that gives your life meaning – and find new ways to harness that feeling in the new year.