The madness and hectic rush, the good times, the children’s laughter, the children’s crying, all the food, family and good cheer – it’s over for another year. The holidays are spent, our pockets are to let and now we can kick back and relax.

Oh, but wait! It’s that time again – New Year’s Resolutions!

 So, do we, or don’t we, make resolutions this year? Is it going to be same old, same old? (According to statistics, only 45% of us make resolutions and of that number, only 64% make it past the first month. About half make it beyond six months.) Just what are the popular resolutions and how can we keep them?

 Of the top ten, three involve the body – lose weight, get fit and quit smoking. How do we keep it six months and beyond? Here’s advice you probably heard before: start small. Find a diet plan that appeals to you: Dash, TLC, Mayo Clinic, Mediterranean, Weight Watchers. If you wince as you’re reading it, you won’t keep it. Don’t go full force into exercising – start walking or biking for 20 minutes. Once you get that down, find a gym. It won’t seem so time consuming then. Smoking – that’s a hard one. Talk to your doctor; find a quit smoking buddy. Give yourself a non-smoking reward for every 30 days achieved.

 Finances also occupy several spots in the top ten. Debt reduction and saving for retirement fall into creating a budget. Keep a money diary – record everything no matter how it was paid. It will help you to see where your money goes and what you can eliminate and should reduce. Get rid of credit cards. Now, after 6 – 8 weeks, plan your budget. Don’t forget to put in retirement savings, “repair” money (house, car, medical, dental) and fun money. If you don’t have fun money, you’ll feel weighed downed and eventually blow your budget.

 A couple other in the top ten involve family and friends. Human beings are social creatures – we need strong relationships for mental health and to keep whole. Take an hour a day to connect with your kids, have a weekly family night. Do a date night with your mate. Get together with friends once a month, your brothers and sisters. Talk to your parents a couple times a month. Again, adding all this into your life at once will seem overpowering and time consuming. Start with one group and add the others in as you go.

 Learning something new, volunteering, travel – they all show up in the top ten. “Travel broadens the mind”. It’s a good opportunity to hit 2 resolutions and have fun. Easier to keep resolutions when they’re fun. Volunteering brings its own rewards especially when it helps someone achieve their dreams. Don’t go whole hog – volunteering can be time consuming. Start with an amount of time you can slip in and increase it as you go. Also, pick something you enjoy. It’s more likely you’ll keep the resolution when you’re engaged.

 This didn’t make the top ten, but it may in the next few years – spend less time on Facebook! Use that time for any of the other top ten resolutions. Or, as many of our clients resolve to do each year, get the taxes together and bring them in earlier!

 I hope you all succeed in your New Year’s resolutions, whatever they may be. Good Luck!

By: Carin, Administrative Assistant