Perennial New Year's Resolution Favorites

You don't have to wait until the new year to make positive life-changing decisions. However, many people do. Apparently the change from one year to the next is the time people start thinking more seriously about what they want in their lives over the next 12 months. As you plan your resolutions for the new year, here are some ideas to give you direction.

New Year's Resolution: Drink Less Alcohol

Wanting to drink less, or stop drinking altogether is a very popular New Year's resolution. Alcohol is the 3rd most common preventable cause of death in the United States. It is responsible for approximately 40% of all highway related deaths.

To quit is tough to do, but it can be done. Most people can't quit without help. If this is on your list of New Year's resolutions then consider getting help to overcome this obstacle. You don't have to consider yourself an addict or an alcoholic to admit you need someone to help hold you accountable. Find a friend or a program that can give you the encouragement you need on a regular basis.

New Year's Resolution: Get a Better Education

Going back to school as an adult can be difficult, but not impossible. If you are trying to finish high school, then there are plenty of local or online programs that can help you obtain a GED. Check with your local community college. Many of them will offer free classes for state residents.

If going through a traditional program to get a college degree won't fit into your schedule, consider correspondence courses or online classes. There are degree programs offered by many reputable schools. Unless you are interested in the information without concern for the validity of the degree, stay away from correspondence programs that sound too good to be true. It is possible to end up with similar knowledge going through a cut-rate degree program, but the degree that you receive in the end may not have any value. Even though they are more expensive, correspondence programs offered by traditional colleges and universities are more credible.

New Year's Resolution: Get a Better Job

There are a few different ways to get a better job. First is to move up the ladder in your current company. If this is your plan, while you are working to obtain a better status you need to make sure you do a good job at your current position. It is hard for an employer to justify giving you more money and responsibility if you aren't taking care of the job you currently have.

You could also look for a new employer who needs your skills. If you are looking at leaving because the environment where you are is tough, don't expect everything to be perfect at a new company. You will still have to deal with people. Sometimes the problem at the current location is an attitude that will be carried with you to a new set of co-workers.

There is also the possibility of changing careers completely. This is not to be taken lightly, but if you are young enough, you might find that the key to your happiness is not a change of co-workers, but a change of the things you are working with. It may even be time to start your own business.

Obtaining a better job often goes hand-in-hand with getting a better education.

New Year's Resolution: Get Fit

Eating healthy and exercising are the two keys to getting fit. There is a lot of controversy over the "fat but fit" mantra that many people have been touting over the last few years. Whether "skinny but lazy" or "fat but fit" is better is not the biggest issue. What you need to do is become more physically active. You may not have any weight to lose but are struggling to walk up a flight of stairs.

Start by walking around the block for 30 to 40 minutes most days of the week. Don't feel like you have to train for a marathon to become fit. Start slow and you will start to see positive results.

Healthy weight and physical activity are independently important. Even if you are not losing the weight you want to lose, working to get in better shape is beneficial. Eventually you will start to see the weight come off.

New Year's Resolution: Lose Weight

Like getting in better shape it is important to eat right and exercise. You can lose weight by diet alone, but just because you are thin does not mean you are healthy. It is also possible to slim down by massive amounts of exercise, but still poison your body with too much food and obesity.

The 2nd most common preventable cause of death in the US are diseases and complications associated with being overweight. Losing weight in a healthy way (not crash dieting) will lower your "risk of premature death by all causes." That is the doctor's way of saying that you are less likely to die prematurely for any reason by losing weight. When they say that, they are even including accidents which are out of your control. The benefits of being fit and at a healthy weight are so significant that it can even statistically offset things that are totally random and unrelated.

New Year's Resolution: Manage Debt

According to the US Federal Reserve, consumer debt was at $2,500,000,000,000 (2.5 trillion dollars). That is a lot of zeros! When divided among all the men, women and children in the United States, that comes out to over $8,000 per person. This is consumer debt which means that real estate is not figured in to the dollar amount.

Making a decision to get out of debt, or at least pay it down significantly this year, is an important decision. Like other resolutions, it is helpful to find someone you can trust who will help keep you accountable for your decision. There are many programs that can teach you how to pay down debt and stop accruing more. Dave Ramsey's book Total Money Makeover is a great place to start.

New Year's Resolution: Quit Smoking

While smoking may seem to be less deadly than alcohol because it doesn't cause you to unknowingly smash into someone else's car, the truth is that it is several times more deadly. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. Shockingly it is more than 4 times more deadly than alcohol!

Even if you don't want to quit smoking for yourself, do it for the sake of your family members. You killing yourself by smoking is selfish and unthoughtful towards those who love you.

There are programs and medications that can help with the addiction of smoking. Talk with your doctor about the best way to stop smoking. If it doesn't seem to help you, keep working with him until you find something that does work. Get into a program that can provide the accountability you need to quit smoking this year for good.

New Year's Resolution: Your's?

Whatever your reason for making life-changing decisions, don't feel like you have to wait until the New Year. If you wake up on February 1st and realize that you have not been true to your promises to yourself, then February 1st is the day to pick yourself up and get the help you need to get back on track.