For 2011, financial goals made up three of the top five spots, including "improve financial situation" at No. 1. In 2012 it fell one spot to No. 2, behind only "become more physically fit."
But, as with "getting organized," most money resolutions fail because they are so vague. While it's easy to vow to "save more" or "spend less" on New Year's Eve, such a fuzzy goal is hard to measure by the end of the January -- let alone the end of the year.
Start with baby steps like setting up an automatic savings plan, even for as little as $5 a week. Or decide to cut out a specific luxury, such as that daily Starbucks run.
Small, easily attainable goals will make bigger changes more likely. Plus, don't be afraid to reward yourself -- within reason, of course -- for each small victory. You've earned it.
No. 2: Weight loss/exercise
If you've struggled with health-related resolutions in the past, you're not alone -- not by a long shot.
According to an American Psychological Association poll conducted in March 2010, fewer than one in five adults reported being very successful with health-related resolutions such as losing weight, exercising regularly or eating a healthier diet.
One of the reasons so many fail is because of the all-or-none approach we all tend to take with resolutions. We feel great when we stick to a diet or exercising daily, but one slip has us considering our resolution "broken."
However, there's no reason a minor lapse should turn into a full-blown collapse. Instead, get right back on track. If you slip up, don't wait until next Jan. 1 to start again, but start right back up again the next day.
That same line of thinking is valuable in breaking any habit, but especially applies to our last broken resolution …
No. 1: Stop smoking
If you're a smoker looking to kick the habit in the new year, the numbers can be daunting.
It's said that the average smoker quits eight to 10 times before succeeding and -- as if that's not enough -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the majority of quitters relapse within the first three months of quitting.
So, yeah, the deck is stacked, but don't light up just yet.
You're likely to fall off the wagon a few times along the way, so if you sneak a smoke after two weeks of abstaining, don't beat yourself up for your failure. Instead, celebrate those two weeks of progress and see if you can beat your new record.
As with any resolution you may make this year, just remember that if you fail, you're in good company as you get back on track.
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