Better Business Bureau offers tips for sticking to New Year’s goals

E-T staff report
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After much anticipation, 2021 is here. While many used their time at home in 2020 to try new hobbies and bake plenty of sourdough bread, the new year provides a time to reflect on what you hope to achieve in the coming year, according to a news release from the Better Business Bureau.

Exercising more, focusing on health and improving finances are among the most common resolutions each year and will likely be the top goals again in the coming year.

Use these tips from BBB serving the Heart of Texas to accomplish your 2021 resolutions:

Exercise more

One of the best ways to keep up with your resolution to exercise more is choosing the right gym for your needs. Use these tips from your Better Business Bureau to find your perfect gym:

• Determine goals and priorities. Ask yourself these questions as you begin your search: Can this gym help me with my specific fitness goals? Would I rather work out at a smaller, local gym or one with multiple convenient locations? Would a variety of equipment and classes keep me motivated?

• Take a tour. Touring the facility can give you a better idea of the equipment, trainers and classes available. Use this opportunity to learn additional information about the gym, such as busy times or how often showers and equipment are cleaned. Some gyms even offer virtual tours.

• Understand the cost. Many gyms use the beginning of the year to promote introductory offers or free trial periods. Be sure to ask when these promotions end and what the regular cost will be moving forward.

Get healthy

In addition to exercising more, many people want to improve their health by quitting smoking or losing weight. Weight loss supplements and smoking cessation aids often promise quick and easy results, which can be tempting to consumers looking to help accomplish their goals. Before using any health-related products, remember these tips:

• Check with health professionals. The best thing to do when considering a supplement or other health product is to consult your doctor. They may be able to provide recommendations or guide you away from potentially harmful products. You can also use FDA resources to learn which products were recalled for using dangerous ingredients.

• Don’t believe claims of “miracle” results. Companies advertising weight-loss products often promise extreme results to make quick sales. The CDC suggests one to two pounds lost per week is a healthy and attainable goal, so avoid products that advertise a large amount of weight loss within a short time frame.

• Be cautious with free trial offers. Many health product retailers offer monthly subscriptions and free trial periods for first-time customers. If you are interested in a free trial, read the fine print. You may be automatically enrolled in a subscription and charged a monthly fee once the trial ends.

Improve finances

The new year is a great time to assess your finances and implement needed changes or improvements. Although improving your finances is often confusing and can be frustrating, there are professionals and services dedicated to helping you. Keep these tips in mind when searching for financial assistance:

• Assess your finances. Review your finances to see which areas need improvement. Request a copy of your credit report through one of the three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax or Experian. You can also use to find reliable financial advisors to help you build your credit and manage your money.

• Know the difference. Different financial services, such as credit counseling and credit repair, are available to consumers. The first step to improving your finances is to understand which of these services you need. For example, credit counseling offers a comprehensive solution that focuses on various resources to help you solve your financial issues. Credit repair companies, however, offer to remove inaccurate information from your credit file for a fee. Remember, you have the right to remove incorrect information yourself for free.

• Consult trustworthy sources. When deciding on a company to assist you financially, find their business profile on to view their rating, customer reviews and complaint history. The Texas Attorney General’s office is also a reliable source for learning your debt collection and relief rights.