New Year's resolutions

How Americans’ New Year’s Resolutions Are Going

Thin body, fat wallet — if that describes your New Year’s resolutions for 2015, you’re in so much company. If you’re already failing at them, you’re in the minority.

But just barely.

About 70 percent of Americans made a money-related resolution for this year, while 80 percent made a health-related resolution, like losing weight, getting into shape, and eating healthier, according to a new study from TD Bank.

So how are those resolutions coming along, one month later? Here’s what TD Bank found…

  • 51 percent of the survey respondents said they have already started on their resolutions and are doing well
  • 49 percent haven’t started yet or have already given up
  • Health resolutions are a little easier to keep: 55 percent of the people who have them say they are doing well, compared to 46 percent with financial resolutions.

Money and wellness go hand in hand

Out of the 1,444 consumers TD Bank surveyed, 70 percent said that sound financial health “can have a positive impact on their overall health and well-being.”

For millennials, there’s an even stronger correlation. Over half of millennials surveyed said that they needed to get their finances in order before focusing on health and fitness, compared to 36 percent of Gen-Xers and just 21 percent of Boomers.

What does having a beach body have to do with staying out of debt? We think they have a lot in common. Both require a clear grasp of the numbers to set reasonable goals, for instance.

Here are some other similarities between losing weight and losing debt, plus tips to manage both…

1. Eat and spend to live, not the other way around.

You’ve heard the saying “Eat to live, not live to eat.” It just means you eat enough food to receive your daily nutrients, vitamins and minerals, rather than eating to excess all the time just because food tastes good.

Yeah, food tastes good. And it’s fun to spend money on stupid stuff that you don’t really need, but neither help you further your goals in the long run, and both actually make you feel worse about yourself eventually.

Tip: Focus on eating and spending the minimum amount possible, while still making sure your bank account and body stay balanced.

2. Be happily realistic.

No, you will probably not lose 150 pounds this year. No, you will probably not be able to pay off all your student loans in 2015.

But the short term goals are just as important as the end goal — seeing success motivates you to keep going. So start small, by running 10 minutes every day before or after work. Sit down and make a payment plan for your student loans, or your credit card debt, or your car payment.

Trim what you don’t need from your budget (e.g., daily Starbucks) and from your daily activities (i.e., four hours of Netflix time).

Tip: Make smaller, incremental goals that will increase your happiness yet are realistic to meet.

3. Don’t let day-to-day lapses influence how you feel about yourself.

A little personal story here: When I first started losing weight, I would sometimes come into the office only to find a huge box of Dunkin’ Donuts sitting there, just begging to be bitten into. At first I refused to eat them because I thought it would wreck my digestive system, my diet, and my self-esteem for the day.

But then I realized caving to a sugar craving isn’t always bad. In fact, I know from experience now that because I didn’t eat that doughnut, I ended up gorging myself on something else later. And since it wasn’t what my body really wanted, I ended up eating way more of it. And felt worse than I would have eating the doughnut.

Tip: It’s all right if you have a doughnut every now and then. Don’t kill yourself over the small stuff, and realize that as long as you have a clear picture of your end goal, you’ll get there.

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