New Year’s resolutions run the gamut from the average to the overdone to the whacky and wishful thinking. The number of those resolutions kept throughout the year, however, dwindles as the months pass. Here are some of the most common resolutions, along with helpful tips to set yourself up for success and actually achieve them.
Losing weight is quite possibly the most common New Year’s resolution. The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to set a series of smaller, more easily attainable goals and not expect overnight results. Katherine Dorsett of CNN suggests setting a specific, realistic goal – like cutting out soda or taking a daily walk – and making a plan to reach that goal. Author Pam Peeke, M.D., recommends keeping a food journal and finding a strong support system. “It’s important to have someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times.”
Saving money is another popular New Year’s resolution. Whether you’re looking to cut a few corners on your grocery bill or pay off some overwhelming debt, there are smart ways to go about saving money that won’t leave your head spinning. MSNBC’s Laura T. Coffey suggests starting by just looking at your credit or debit card statements and weeding out the incidental monthly expenses that you could really go without. Cancel magazine subscriptions and memberships you don’t use. Another easy tip is to eliminate the late fees on bills. If you’re continually paying extra finance charges due to your credit card payment being due before your paycheck comes in, call to change your due date. The savings will add up over time. Learn more money-saving tips at www.today.msnbc.msn.com/id/16369214/ns/today-money/t/new-years-resolutions-saving-money.
Traveling or taking a vacation is another common New Year’s resolution. The American way of life is so busy that people rarely set aside enough time for vacation and traveling. Some might argue that traveling can be expensive due to inflated flight charges and the costs of eating out. Plenty of websites, such as Hotwire.com and CheapTickets.com, can help you find the cheapest prices on flights and hotels. Taking a vacation doesn’t have to mean going to a different time zone either. Sabra Travel suggests choosing a nearby city or town that you’ve never visited to explore. Check with friends and family, or websites like TripAdvisor.com, for affordable places to visit and eat. For those longing for that dream vacation, pick where you want to go and work out a plan to get there in the next few years. Sabra’s Kate Hash writes, “Once you can ballpark the cost of such a trip, start stashing away money now…if you save just $100 a month, you’ll have $6,000 saved by the time year five comes to a close.”
Many people resolve to give back to the community in the form of volunteer work, but they don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to point you in the right direction. Websites like Volunteermatch.org and organizations like United We Serve (Serve.gov) offer resources to match you with volunteering opportunities that suit your personal goals or preferences.
New Year’s resolutions can be easy to keep if you know where to start. Pick a resolution that means something to you. If you set an attainable goal and stick to a plan, you will achieve it.