The start of the new year is the time when we plan to be better people — nicer, skinnier, more careful people. Sure, self-help books and service magazines offer a lot of lists, but you might want to check yourself against something that has stood the test of time: the Seven Deadly Sins, a popular topic in art and drama of the Middle Ages. And in the interest of free choice, here are some suggestions for fighting them off — or indulging them.

Lust

Fight back: Feeling tempted by the fruit of another? Need something to remind you to keep your hands where they belong?

For believers in the Bible, perhaps carrying it with you would help inspire you to remove yourself from a potentially sticky situation. The credit card-sized Itty Bitty Bible ($10), opens to reveal a 11/4-inch piece of film inscribed with all the words from the Old and New Testaments, reduced by 285 times, according to maker Amazing Faith.

You can't read it without a microscope. But Amazing Faith assures, "Have faith. It's all in there."

"Since it fits right into your pocket you can carry your faith with you at all times," says Jaime Hovan, a spokesperson for the company.

It comes in both a King James and Catholic Latin versions.

Give in: Sleep contently on luxury. The super-duper mattress race shows no signs of ending in 2008.

Italian mattress designer Magniflex is introducing a platinum bed at the Las Vegas Furniture Market next month, more extravagant than its Gold Mattress, a bed with a 22-karat gold fiber cover. "Each piece is thermo-regulating, anti-bacterial, odor-proof, and anti-stress, and is customized to fit the comfort levels of the consumer," says Henry Burney, U.S. sales representative for Magniflex.

The bed will retail for approximately $75,000. Matching platinum pillows sold separately.

Gluttony

Fight it: For the best taste, most hot chocolate should be made with whole milk. But Godiva's new formula for hot cocoa is equally good with 2 percent milk, the company says. Available in four flavors — milk, dark and new this year, caramel or mocha — the cocoa makes a rich and creamy drink. Each 14-ounce tin retails for $10 and is available at Godiva stores or at godiva.com

And when Valentine's Day rolls around, you can top the hot chocolate with the new sugar-free marshamallow heart Peeps, from the maker of the ever-popular Easter treats.

Give in: Of course, hot chocolate can also be an over-the-top treat — load on the whipped cream, marshmallows and shots of flavored syrups.

But the seriously gourmet may now prefer "drinking chocolate." New "single-origin" hot chocolates have labels that read like wine bottles, and tell you where the chocolate comes from and what flavor notes it imparts.

Throw your health to the wind and substitute heavy cream for half of the whole milk called for on the package.

Greed

Fight it: Here's a way to cut down on your own greed, or at least make it work for a good cause.

Treat your calories like cash. Any time you break your diet, charge yourself a standard amount of cash, say, 1 cent for every calorie in a forbidden treat. Donate the proceeds to your local food pantry or a national program for feeding the needy, such as America's Second Harvest, which serves a network of 200-member food banks and food rescue organizations in 50 states. (There's an easy online donation form at secondharvest.org.)

More than 35.5 million people in the United States went hungry in 2006, just about the same amount as 2005, according to the Agriculture Department. At the same time, food pantries say they are facing real shortages. Not only are people facing rising costs of food, housing, utilities, health care and gasoline, but wholesalers and retailers have less surplus food to donate, food banks report.

Give in: If you are lucky enough have a big food allowance, there are now no shortage of businesses that want to help you get all rich food, all the time.

There's a food of the month club for just about anything: Start with the Italian Wine of the Month Club ($199.95 a month plus shipping and handling for three "Platinum Membership" bottles a month). For something to munch on with your wine, try Stonewall Kitchen's Specialty Food Club ($320 for 12 months of goodies). And don't forget Artisanal Premium Cheese's Cheese of the Month plan ($840 for the 12-month plan). For dessert, try King Arthur Flour's Bakery Club ($375 for 12 months).

Sloth

Fight back: Don't just sit there — Autom-ize! Get some motivation and support with the Autom, a robotic weight-loss coach making test runs in Boston homes. Dieters input food and exercise, and the Autom provides encouragement and advice, such as "Congratulations, you're doing a good job at meeting your diet goals that you've set for yourself," or after eating a gallon of ice cream, "Everyone has a few days over their goals. Let's try to make tomorrow a good day for your diet."

"Research has shown that people who keep track of their calories and exercise while dieting are more likely to lose weight and keep it off over time," says Cory D. Kidd, inventor of the Autom, and CEO of Intuitive Automata. "However, it's very difficult for most people to do this. Autom helps by providing encouragement and support."

Give in: If you are going to sit around, at least multi-task. Brookstone is offering the OSIM uHarmony Massage Chair: It reclines to 175 degrees and has pre-programmed massages, built-in heat and a place to plug in your MP3 or CD player. "So you can listen to music while you're getting a massage and if you want, it can synchronize the massage to the beat of the music," says Robert Padgett, spokesman for Brookstone.

"But even more important is the heat function because so many of our customers have said they wanted a massage chair with heat. It helps to relax them even more."

Relaxation does come at a price. The uHarmony Massage Chair costs $3,995.

Pride

Fight it: Who needs those 3-inch stillettos that give your legs enough shape to rival Julia Roberts?

Swallow your pride and bring your gently used shoes to Kenneth Cole New York stores from Jan. 19-Jan. 27 — instead of taking up precious closet space, they'll go to someone who will wear them. The company is partnering with Help USA, a provider of housing and services for the homeless.

Over the past 15 years, Kenneth Cole has collected more than 1.5 million pairs of shoes for the organization.

And if that's not enough, donors will also get a coupon for a 20 percent discount on their next Kenneth Cole purchase.

Give in: Fashion does takes a turn toward modesty in 2008, but there are always items that will get you noticed. Accessories, especially handbags, jewelry and shoes, seem to be a weakness for many, and they can add flash to an otherwise buttoned-up, eco-friendly, minimalist-luxury outfit.

Buy color! advises Sandra Wilson, accessories fashion director at Neiman Marcus. You'll have a rainbow of choices, ranging from citrus shades to coral, and also turquoise and green.

"There's a wonderful brightness to everything that makes you light up," Wilson says.

Wrath

Fight it: Sure, we all are under a lot of stress these days. But don't pull Alec Baldwin and take out your anger on someone you love. Try the increasingly popular art of meditation. "Visualize a rainbow," David Fontana suggests in his new book "Meditation Bliss: Inspirational Techniques for Finding Calm" ($9.95). "Rainbows are ... said to purify space, and to have healing and tranquilizing properties."

Or take a lesson from spiritual guru Deepak Chopra. At the Chopra Center Web site, you can take The Dosha Quiz ( http:store.chopra.com/dosha-survey.asp ) to find out about mind-body balance in your life and how to help improve awareness of both.

If do-it-yourself meditation is too much, try your local spa. According to the International Spa Association, 57 percent of U.S. spas that offer mind, body and spirit programs conduct meditation training, making it the No. 1 offering in that category

Give in: That's right. Let it out. Unleash your pent-up anger by joining a constructive cause — volunteering for the presidential candidate of your choice. Yes, in case you haven't heard, there's an election on in 2008.

All the major candidates' Web sites offer forms to get involved, with a wide variety of options: You can volunteer for the traditional, such as putting a sign in your yard or doing door-to-door campaigning. The technically inclined can download campaign widgets to a blog or get a campaign-approved ringtone for cell phones. Search a directory of your local radio shows to get their call-in numbers, or check out some talking points to compose a letter to the editor.

If you want to put your money where your mouth is, you can also try the 2008 Presidential Candidate Hot Sauces from Dave's Gourmet. All the leading candidates are represented with their picture and pithy quotes on individual jars of cayenne-based sauce. The company is counting each bottle sold as a vote, and will see how well hot sauce purchasing choices reflect the real polls.

You can track the spicy-lection on their site, davesgourmet.com.

Envy

Fight back: Get over yourself and stop pining for greener grass. Try giving to others instead of focusing on your own supposed needs. Time magazine named VolunteerMatch (www.volunteermatch.org) one of the top 10 Web sites of 2007.

You can find numerous opportunities to lend a hand to your community based on your specific skills and interests. Participants can volunteer for everything from maple syrup production in Stamford, Conn., to teaching math skills to war veterans in Los Angeles. More than 50,000 nonprofit organizations recruit from VolunteerMatch, according to the site.

Give in: Feeling green? Wallow in it. There's always somebody richer, younger, prettier and smarter than you, so envy knows no limits. Log onto Facebook, the social networking story of 2007, and load up on applications that show just how you compare to others in every category from college football scorecasting, to politics, to rocks, paper, scissors.

Or check out the newly debuted site ImInLikeWithYou, where you auction yourself off to potential dates through a point system.

Users post their profile and photos, and then they start a "game," which involves asking other users personal questions like, "What's your favorite ice cream flavor?" or "What's the best spot for a first date?"

Interested members can reply, along with a bid of points, and when the game wraps up you chose a winner among the top five bidders, who can then talk with you through the site.