THE BLOG
01/23/2013 09:16 pm ET

Credit Fitness for 2013

It's that time of year for setting goals for things that you would like to improve in your life for 2013! Usually among new resolutions is a desire to be fit... But are you focused only on your physical fitness? You should also be focused on your CREDIT fitness!

When it comes to physical fitness, we often set resolutions about losing the holiday weight, going to the gym more, cutting back on snack foods, or stopping smoking. Those are good things to do because better habits will help us to enjoy a longer, more positive and fruitful life.

But when it comes to our finances, we often ignore our credit fitness. However, healthy credit provides similar rewards: A better life with fewer worries and a more positive help-you-sleep-at-night lifestyle.

So here are a few tips to help you get fit -- CREDIT fit! -- this year:

Get on that scale: Sometimes we realize we're out of shape when we step on the scale and the number is higher than it was last time. Checking the scale regularly is a way to monitor our progress. Your credit health has a scale, too; it's your credit score. Pull your score to check out your credit fitness level.

Lose the weight: Your credit card debt hangs around like excess holiday weight. Not only are the interest rates high, it also ties up your access to money for other purposes and it can drive down your credit score. Make it a goal to lose the "weight" by paying down your credit cards to 20 percent of each card's limit.

Cut back on junk: When we open our mail and read that we are "pre-approved for another credit card," the temptation can be to sign up for it. After all, we've been pre-approved and it's another way to access more money. But timing is important. A new credit inquiry & account on your report can drop your score.

Get a credit fitness coach: When someone is serious about improving their health, they get a coach who encourages them and helps them do the right activities. As a credit coach, I do something very similar. Following me on Huffington Post can help you learn more credit tips!

How many reps are you doing? When you go to the gym and watch the physically fit athletes work out, you'll notice that they don't just lift a weight once or run one time around the track. They work out regularly, doing numerous "reps" and "sets" for maximum gain. Likewise, with your credit health, the most effective way to get healthy credit and higher credit scores is through consistent, positive habits.

It's the new year. It's time for a new you. For many, a "new you" includes going to the gym or making some other health-related commitment. But remember that your credit health is equally as important so make sure you create and follow through on resolutions for healthier credit.