(RNN) - Tis the season for New Year's resolutions. For many, the new year is a time to invest in a new you.
Maybe you want to get in shape, become a chef or speak fluent French in 2013. You could always blow a wad of cash on a stack of books to help educate and fuel your new passion.
But, if perhaps "making better financial decisions" is high on your resolutions list, you might want to check out the wealth of free resources via iTunes podcasts to get you started.
All you need is the iTunes software, available for download at www.itunes.com, and an internet connection to access hundreds of free tutorials on everything from music and art to fitness.
Here's a look at some of the podcasts that can help you reach your goal. Did we mention they're free?
Coffee Break French and Spanish are just that - podcasts that allow you to learn a new language on your coffee or lunch break. Running anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, you receive enough instruction to keep you growing but not so much that you feel overwhelmed with material or the time commitment.
Maybe all you remember from your high school Spanish class is "hola." If that's you, the podcasts start with basic terminology and move through more advanced phrasing, so you can jump in to the program at whatever point you're most comfortable.
Maybe you're the kind of person who cowers at the thought of cooking a grilled cheese. Ramen is your go-to dish, and you're sticking to it.
Start Cooking, a video podcast brought to you by startcooking.com, features simple recipes that should give you some cooking confidence and a few basic dishes you can quickly master.
The podcasts are usually less than three minutes, so they get you back to the kitchen quickly. For extra guidance, you can print off full recipes at the parent site, www.startcooking.com.
Maybe the ever-available Christmas cookies have packed on the holiday pounds, but now that the new year is here, you're setting your sights on healthier choices.
If the only thing you've ever run for in the past is a cheeseburger, you may need a little guidance to get started.
Running Mate 5K 101, a podcast/running coach, takes you from the couch to 5K runner in only eight weeks. High intensity dance music keeps the adrenaline flowing, helping you keep your stride.
The workouts are a run/walk mix, meaning each week you'll run a little more and walk a little less.
They're designed to be done for one week each, three times a week. Even if you end up taking two weeks per level, at least you're off the couch and on the path to better health.
Load up your iPod and hit the treadmill. After all, spring break is only a few months away.
If you're a serious photography hobbyist (iPhone camera users need not apply), Phototips can help give your pictures a more artistic, dramatic flair.
Who doesn't want to learn to home brew their own soda, survive a zombie apocalypse, jailbreak your phone or survive a crappy job?
From the practical to the downright quirky, Lifehacker features tons of useful and not-so-useful tips to help you get in touch with your inner Renaissance man or woman.
Downward dog your way to a more peaceful and fitter state. YOGAmazing features full length workouts to stretch your back, tighten your abs and relax your mood.
There are lots of cool ways technology can make our lives easier. However, most of us don't have a Ph.D. in geek or even know where to begin. The technical whizzes at CNET walk you through some simple, cool things - like Tweeting with Siri or fixing an unresponsive iPhone home button - to help you make the most of your gadgets.
Need to get your financial house in order? Dave Ramsey offers practical solutions for managing money, getting yourself out of debt and building wealth.
If your curiosity is never satisfied and you are the ringer on every trivia game you ever play, Stuff You Should Know has a treasure trove of random - and probably useless - information for your ever-absorbent mind. Learn how bullfighting, music sampling, daylight savings and silly putty works.
Perhaps someday you too could be a lifeline for your buddy on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
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