Statistics show that between 40-45% of Americans make resolutions each year. However, less than 50% of those people will make it past the 6 month mark. Here’s a little helpful guide in choosing and sticking to your goals for this year. After a less than memorable 2008 for the world’s financial markets, most Americans have put their finances on the top of their list of resolutions for the New Year. Where do you start when choosing to put your money as #!? Most financial wizards will tell you to track your spending for at least a month. Take the month of January, carry a small notebook around if you have to and write every expense down (including the small ones like coffee or newspapers). Where is your money going? Can you trim down expenses somewhere? Being aware and knowledgeable is the first step to making changes. From that point, start to save that “extra” money you’ve found so that you are prepared for any financial disaster that might occur in this next year as well. Sites to help with advice and support include: http://www.mint.com/, http://money.cnn.com/ and http://moneycentral.msn.com/home.asp Right at the top of everyone’s list each year is almost always to lose weight, get in shape or to become healthier. There’s a reason that gym memberships usually double and sometimes triple during the month of January. Remember when setting these goals to keep them reasonable and attainable. Losing 10 pounds a month isn’t realistic and will more than likely lead to failure, resulting in not meeting your goals. Make yourself accountable by writing everything down including not only your goals but also what you are eating/drinking each day to see how and where you can make changes. Remember, being aware and knowledgeable is the key to success. Sites to help you get in shape, lose weight and begin to think healthier include: http://health.msn.com/, http://www.webmd.com/diet/default.htm, and http://caloriecount.about.com/ Losing a bad habit such as smoking or alcohol is another popular resolution each year. Again, the key with winning over these habits is to pay close attention and become aware of your own behaviors. Is there a certain time of day that you are more vulnerable to these activities? Is there some kind of trigger? Knowing yourself and learning how to handle situations is half the battle when trying to overcome an addiction. Sites like http://whyquit.com/, and http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/232 can help give some information on how to help in your quest. For me, I chose to not so much do a list of “resolutions”, but instead am taking a “Mind-Body-Soul” approach to making myself better in 2009. My “Mind” activities include reading one new book a month, learn a new word each week and researching a topic for an hour each month that I know nothing about. As far as the “Body” activities, I got a Wii Fit for Christmas, and the game gave me a trainer and holds me accountable (and fills me with guilt!) with each thing I do. For the “Soul” portion, I must either donate to Goodwill, Volunteer or financially support a cause each month. Although specific, I have left myself some wiggle room to give myself a better chance at succeeding. As Salvador Dali once said ““Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.”, I too will not fear or strive for perfection… I’ll just try to make my life and the people around me a little better… if not, I’ll never hear the end of it from my Wii Fit Trainer.