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Physical and Financial Fitness Top 2014 Resolutions for Canadians

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Getting in shape both physically and financially are the top resolutions for Canadians in 2014.

BMO and research firm Polaris polled just over 1,000 Canadian adults nationally and found that 51 percent wanted to make health/fitness improvements a top priority, while more than one third chose getting their personal finance in good condition.

More than 80 percent of the research group planned to make at least one resolution, which also included such goals as adding personal/work skills (31%), improving their love life/relationships (19%) or seeking  better career/workplace opportunities (17%).

Of those who have made a financial New Year's resolution in the past, 60 percent say they've kept them versus 42 percent who claim to have stuck to their health/fitness goals.

That's encouraging in light of a Statistics Canada report this past December indicating Canadian debt-to-income ratio recently climbed to 163.7 percent in the third quarter. This means that Canadians owe roughly $1.64 for every $1 in disposable income they earned in 2013.

The BMO survey also showed that 59 percent of the respondents had a financial plan, and 82 percent of them believed it helped to keep them on track.

Chris Buttigieg, Senior Manager, Wealth Planning Strategy, BMO Financial Group adds: "Planning is essential to achieving your goals. If your New Year's resolution is to lose weight, you will need to follow a plan that includes an exercise schedule and a diet regimen. Similarly, developing a financial plan is only the first step, the second and most crucial step is to implement the strategies recommended in the plan, and finally review the progress of the financial plan at least on an annual basis."