Some of the top New Year’s resolutions made by clients – such as losing weight and saving money – may already be headed for doom, according to Denise J. Nostrom, founder and owner of Diversified Financial Solutions in Medford, N.Y.

But there are ways to prevent failure. A first step for being successful at saving more this year is to look at last year.

“As your clients get their year-end statements have them review what they spent last year. Credit card statements now break out spending by categories. Phase two is to determine where spending can be curtailed so a cash reserve can be created,” said Nostrom, who also is the founder of “POWER of Women Exchanging Resources,” a nonprofit networking group to empower women in business leadership.

If clients do not have a cash reserve, encourage them to create one, she added.

With a cash reserve in place clients can take advantage of the market volatility and buy while prices are down, she added. They should put the cash reserve away where it is not seen.

“A certificate of deposit is one option now or a money market account, since rates have come up a little,” Nostrom said. The shutdown of the federal government that is costing many people their regular paychecks is a prime example of why a cash reserve is necessary.

“As an advisor, you have to strike while the iron is hot” and the beginning of the year is a great place to start, Nostrom said. In addition to saving money, clients often resolve to pay off debt, but many who make these money resolutions end up failing because, even though their heart is in the right place, they do not know how to do it.

Tell them to put a budget in writing so they can see their goals. “It’s a new year. It is a good time for your clients to assess their goals,” she added.