Happy New Year!

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(credit: Ian Walton/Getty Images)

(credit: Ian Walton/Getty Images)

420x316-grad-lee Dee Lee
Dee Lee is a Certified Financial Planner who received a diploma in...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The last six weeks have been stressful.  It started with Thanksgiving and will probably end tomorrow. If you are like the majority of folks out there, you have overindulged in so many ways, financially and food wise. And as New Year’s Eve is almost upon us, you have begun to wonder how you are going to undo the damage?

We will ring in a brand new year tonight and with that we want to undo or redo some of the things we did last year! Or we want to start something new, make something even better. Hence we make New Year’s Resolutions. We are oh so good at making those resolutions and not very good at keeping them.

Do you make the same resolutions each year and by Valentine’s Day all of your good intentions are down the toilet? Choose just one or two this year for its easier to work on just one or two. You really don’t need a complete makeover! You are okay. Perhaps a bit of tweaking though might help.

The experts say it’s very hard to give up old habits like smoking, drinking, shopping, gambling, caffeine and chocolate. These are the addictive ones and yes chocolate can be addictive! I have not seen a twelve-step program for chocolate but I am seriously considering writing one.

You have a better chance of succeeding at your New Year’s resolutions if you are looking for a fresh start and not trying to change an old habit. Exercising more statistically has a better chance than giving up cigarettes. Old habits are hard to break!

The experts do agree on one thing, you need a plan to succeed. Write down your resolutions and prioritize them. Then outline what it will take to reach your goals. How much time and money are you willing to spend on your resolutions? How bad do you want to change?

By writing them down you have activated a part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System and you will begin to process information on those goals. For example, if “saving more” is your goal, when an ad comes on the radio about good CD rates you will listen more intently.

My resolutions are regarding health and exercise. I plan to hike in Tuscany this spring and I need to be in good shape to do that. I accomplished one of two of last year’s resolutions. I lost that 15 pounds but I still cannot whistle. I am still practicing though. My granddaughter can do it.

Happy New Year!

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