Virtual Resolve

Video games that help you keep your new year's resolutions.

quit smoking
Meddygarnet on Flickr

LOSE WEIGHT: A perennial favorite, the resolution to lose weight no longer requires trips to the gym or stale workout videos thanks to the Nintendo Wii. For getting a good workout, one of the highest rated fitness games is EA Sports Active. Its customizable fitness program uses a resistance band to vary the intensity of each move, while a virtual trainer guides and motivates you through activities like dancing, tennis, volleyball and 23 others. Plus, you can set fitness goals and track your progress with its built-in journal, and multi-player capability allows the whole family to get involved. GET IT: Buy the video game for $39.99 and the accessory pack for $19.99. Best Buy, 5151 Mission Center Road, Mission Valley, (619) 574-1076.

EAT RIGHT: After a holiday season of cookies, candies and rich sauces galore, healthy food feels more like a retreat than a resolution. Keep those fruits and veggies sounding and tasting yummy with My Healthy Cooking Coach from Ubisoft Montreal. Stocked with delicious recipes like Pad Thai and Ratatouille, the game provides tips, shopping lists and healthy alternatives to help you expand your cooking skills and trim your waistline. GET IT: On Nintendo DS for $19.99. Amazon.

REDUCE STRESS: While some studies have shown that the simple act of playing video games can reduce stress, a program that's specifically made for that purpose will really do the trick. MindHabits is a science-based collection of games meant to soothe your nerves, decrease anxiety and even build self-confidence when used just 5 minutes a day. The games can be downloaded onto your computer. GET IT: For $19.99. MindHabits.

QUIT SMOKING: So you're a smoker who's decided that this is the year to quit; good for you! If you've already tried every gum, patch and support group under the sun, consider the My Stop Smoking Coach video game. Based on Allen Carr's book, "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking," the game offers personalized advice and tips according to your smoking habits and history. It also includes educational mini-games about nicotine addiction, a progress tracker and a calendar that shows the benefits you are gaining (money saved, increased health, etc.) the longer you quit. GET IT: On sale for $13.12 for your Nintendo DS. Amazon.

HELP OTHERS: If you think you have to leave your home to do some good in the world, you're wrong! Xeko partners up with a different non-profit every month and incorporates their mission into their online video game GoodQuest. You pay a small fee for three months of game play, which is then "activated" for the non-profit when you reach certain goals within the game. You could help build homes for families in need, plant trees, adopt a panda and more. GET IT: A three-month subscription costs $10. GoodQuest.

LEARN A NEW SKILL: Expand your mind and your horizons this year by using a video game to learn a new language. Ubisoft offers a series of "My Coach" video games to help people of all ages learn Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese using their Nintendo DS. With the help of 8 different vocabulary games, you'll pick up the conversational basics of each language in just 20 minutes a day. GET IT: For $15-$30 online. Amazon.

Photo Credit: Meddygarnet on Flickr.

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