You probably would not be surprised to learn that the majority of New Year’s resolutions concern two topics: weight and finances. In the spirit of fresh starts as we kick off 2012, we offer some tips for smart energy consumption to live by, particularly if you are aiming for a thinner waistline or a fatter wallet. Some may seem obvious, but isn’t that usually the case with resolutions? We know what we ought to be doing; we just need to resolve to do it:

Walk more Walking is free, and it burns calories. Most of us cannot walk all the way to work but we can still incorporate walking into our lives through leisurely strolls or brisk trips to local spots like the dry cleaner … or maybe even the gym. Completing your errands on foot will also conserve the amount of fuel you may have used driving around town. Think about walking to a more distant bus stop in the morning, or parking your car a few blocks from the office. You can read more here about walking for weight loss.

Watch the thermostat Like the previous tip about walking, the idea here is not to be unrealistic about your need for heat, but to be mindful of the ways you can trim your expenses. (In the vast majority of the country you will need heat this winter just like you will need a car to travel long distances.) Consider that a practice known as dialing down can yield significant savings without compromising comfort: Turning down your thermostat a single degree can reduce you energy bill by as much as three percent. Now, consider how many degrees you might turn down the heat during those times you are out of the house, asleep under a warm comforter. Pay attention and the savings will add up.

Invest wisely Spending money to save money can be a hard concept to grasp, but when it comes to energy there are all sorts of investments you can make today that will save you tomorrow. Retrofitting your fireplace can help reduce heat loss, as can repairing broken window panes and adding insulation to your attic. Regular furnace inspections can keep it running efficiently. Replacing older appliances with newer models will also bring greater efficiencies. So consider spending a little now for savings over the next few cold months, and for years to come.

Get involved CEA works to help consumers in multiple ways. While we fully endorse all the little steps that the little guy can take to stretch a budget, we also understand that ordinary consumers can use a little help. National energy policy at its best can serve to support ordinary people, or it can make life difficult for them. We’re gearing up for another year of identifying the most important policies and fighting for them, from improved access to oil and gas resources onshore and off, to support for up-and-coming sources of renewable energy. Visit the Calls to Action section of our website to see the key issues we’re working on that will affect the price you pay for fuel, and learn how you can get involved. Your voice matters, particularly in an election year. Lawmakers are listening.