NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This week the curtain lifts on 2014, and for millions of Americans that means a blank slate and a chance to make some positive changes in their lives.
While that's commendable, what changes, exactly, will people be targeting after New Year's Day?
BMO Harris Financial Advisors, a Chicago money management firm, has released a study detailing the types of New Year's resolutions Americans will be making.
All in all, 68% of U.S. adults say they will be making a New Year's resolution before the clock strikes midnight tonight.Of those Americans, the resolution breakdown looks like this (with many survey respondents telling BMO Harris they are focusing on multiple resolutions): Getting in physical shape is the most common resolution (39% chose it); improving personal finances (28%); working on their emotional health (27%); improving their romantic life (16%); and getting ahead in their career (16%). create a financial plan. For example, if you want to get in shape or lose weight, you need to create a plan that will most likely include an exercise schedule and a diet regime. The same holds true for your financial objectives -- it all starts with a plan." But it's not all about a plan. You also need to bring these attributes to the table to meet your resolutions next year: Take small steps. You may know the old saying, "Yard by yard, life is hard, but inch by inch, life's a cinch." That's good advice with New Year's resolutions. For example, if your goal is to save money, aim for a manageable amount you can break down month to month. Psychologically, it's easier to save an extra $250 per month than it is to save an extra $3,000 for the year. Take regular steps. When you're making big changes in your life -- especially your financial life -- steady, forward progress is the goal. If you're committed to saving more for your retirement, getting a new job and cutting household spending, focus on those goals one at a time. The problem with resolutions is that they can be overwhelming if you have too much on your plate.