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The New Year

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Make your New Year’s resolution come true

New Year's resolutions provide a perfect opportunity to set positive goals for the year to come. Old habits can be hard to break, which can make it difficult for men and women to stay committed to their New Year's resolutions. But a new year marks a new chapter, and the following are some ways you can ensure this year's resolutions don't go unresolved.

• Be specific. A resolution that's too general may ultimately prove ineffective. For example, if you resolve to lose weight this year, you probably hope to lose a substantial amount of weight over the next 12 months, as opposed to just one or two pounds. If you set specific and periodic goals, such as lose one to two pounds by the end of January, as part of your resolution, then you are building in some measuring sticks along the way, and meeting those measuring sticks can motivate you to stay on course and realize your resolution by year's end.

• Don't go overboard. If you traditionally find resolutions hard to live up to, then stick to a single resolution this year. This allows you to focus your efforts more effectively and ensures you won't be overburdened, which could negatively impact your ability to realize your resolutions.

• Use technology. Saving more money is a popular New Year's resolution, and now men and women looking to save more can employ technology to help them realize their financial goals. If your goal for the coming year is to save 'X' amount of dollars, sit down and calculate how much you need to save each pay period to realize that goal. You can then have that figure automatically deposited into an interest-bearing savings account each time your paycheck is deposited into your account.

• Enlist a friend. If your New Year's resolution is one that others can apply to their own lives, then by all means enlist a friend. For example, men and women who want to find more time to exercise in the coming year can enlist a friend or family member to exercise with them. The buddy system is a great motivating tool, and enlisting the help of a friend or family member provides the added benefit of seeing that loved one more often in the year ahead.

• Don't let setbacks derail your resolution. Resolutions too often fall by the wayside when men and women experience setbacks directly related to their resolutions. If you resolved to save more money but had a month when that simply was not possible, don't allow that to derail your resolution for the rest of the year. Setbacks are nearly inevitable, but they're never an excuse to give up on a resolution.