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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 27, 2003

Goals for New Year less driven by fear

By Andrea Coombes
CBS MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO — Just as macroeconomic indicators are pointing to an improving economy, some micro signs are showing a rosier outlook as well.

Americans are feeling less concern and anxiety about their jobs, and are refocusing their attention on the complaints that usually afflict us as New Year's Eve approaches: Too much weight and too much debt, according to an analysis of the goals being set at MyGoals.com (www.mygoals.com/).

Eighteen percent of resolutions will be career-related this year, down from 27 percent last year — a signal that fewer people are seeking work or worried about keeping a job, according to the company's projected New Year's resolutions, which are based on a sampling of goals set by their subscribers.

"The good news is this year things seem to be returning to normal," said Greg Helmstetter, co-founder of MyGoals.com, based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

At the site, visitors set a goal, create a plan to attain it and then receive e-mail reminders that help them complete the process. The service is free for the first 10 days, then $5.95 a month or $49.95 per year.

Last year "we saw this dramatic increase in goals being set about careers (and) a lot of anxiety about job security, or people looking for jobs," Helmstetter said.

This New Year, health and fitness will reclaim its title as the most popular goal category, with 22 percent of goals set regarding health or fitness, while personal growth will garner 15 percent and personal finance 11 percent.

Goals that people have recently set on the site's health and fitness category include: "To lose 10 pounds," "to sleep better," "to be strong, sexy and energetic," "to run the New York City Marathon" and "to wash my face every night."

In the personal finance category, 48 percent of goals are related to paying off debt. Other goals included "to stick to a budget," "to prepare my taxes on time" and "to understand personal finances."

Among career goals were "to start my own business," "to get a job in a CPA firm," "to coach high-school football," "to join the NYPD" and "to write and sell a screenplay."

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, consider adding a subresolution: A well-thought-out plan of attack.

Fifty percent of those who start an exercise program quit within six weeks, according to Life Time Fitness, an operator of fitness centers in eight states, based in Eden Prairie, Minn.

And the best strategy for success, says MyGoals.com, is to create a plan immediately.

Write down the resolution and your plan for attaining it, think about it as a yearlong endeavor, be flexible enough to not let one slip-up cause you to give up entirely and acknowledge successes along the way.