The first few days of the New Year bring with them a harsh reality. After weeks of too much spending, too much eating and too little exercise, it is time to start paying for our holiday excesses.

While many people are not able to find the time to workout over the holidays, our pocketbooks do and even though Christmas is behind us, that doesn’t mean the spending season is over.

“It’s very easy to go to different stores, you know, no payments for 18 months and all that stuff. So that’s how we all get in trouble these days,” says shopper Dave Yeadon.

A CIBC poll says Canadians put paying down debt as their top financial priority for 2013.

“Seeing how bad the stock markets have performed in the past 10 to 12 years, people are deciding not to put money in there and paying down debt, knowing you are not paying 20 per cent on something is sometimes better than getting 2 to 3 per cent on something else,” says financial advisor Darryl Smith.

Karen Theriault admits she has some debt, she hopes that will change by the end of the year.

“This is the first year we’ve made a decision not to go on a trip this winter,” says Theriaut. “So we’re all about paying off previous trips we haven’t paid for yet.”

Financial advisor Darryl Smith says, that is a good place to start.

“Cut down your spending going forward and try to pay off your highest interest cards first and then hopefully you can go back to having your head above water again,” says Smith.

For some people, it isn’t the financial worries weighing them down, rather the extra weight they put on from all the holiday treats.

Studies tell us the purchase of gym memberships peak in January and by March they plummet. In fact, one study shows 80 per cent of new members become non-members after just eight weeks.

“They want to lose weight, perhaps tone up, everybody has a different goal and we're here to help them meet their goals," says personal trainer Tabitha Crowell.

Crowell says the best programs are the ones that fit each individual’s routine.

“You know, everybody has a hectic lifestyle, everybody's very busy, so we need to work on what works best for them,” says Crowell. “If it's six o'clock in the morning, then it's six o'clock, maybe it's their lunch hour or maybe it's not until after the kids are in bed."

In addition, finding motivation or inspiration is almost as important as making your program part of your routine. Your source of motivation could be something as simple as a notebook, or anything that tracks your progress.

“So you're tracking your entries, every time that you're working out. Maybe you have one program, maybe you have two or three different programs, but it always gives you an opportunity to look back and see your gains, even if you haven't or you're feeling a little frustrated with yourself, you can look back and say, wow, I have made big accomplishments," says Crowell.

Keith MacCausland is hoping the gym can work like a fountain of youth.

“You know, I don't want to be one of those people, when they get to be sixty years old, that's not able to do stuff. I want to be able to stay active when I'm well into my older age,” says MacCausland.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell and Alyse Hand