According to USA.gov, the common man’s top New Year resolutions year after year are:

Drink less alcohol

Eat healthy food

Get a better education

Get a better job

Get fit

Lose weight

Manage debt

Manage stress

Quit smoking

Reduce, reuse and recycle

Save money

Take a trip

Volunteer to help others

And, according to Time magazine’s list of lists, the top broken New Year resolutions are:

Lose weight and get fit

Quit smoking

Learn something new

Eat healthier and diet

Get out of debt and save

Spend time with family

Travel

Be less stressed

Volunteer

Drink less

See a pattern there? We seem to break all the resolutions we tend to make, although the order of making-then-breaking is a little mixed up.

Chalk it up to the human condition, where best intentions can fail under the day-to-day crush of life.

Even celebrities and politicians — whose public resolutions get a lot of attention — are prone to the make-then-break habit.

E! reality star and socialite Kim Kardashian pledged last year to “be more simple in 2012.”

Well, was she? According to Forbes, the simple girl earned $18 million last year. She also filed suit against Old Navy claiming publicity infringement and sparked a near-riot among hardliners in Bahrain when she went there to launch a milkshake franchise.

And, then, there’s the occasional resolution success.

Kanye West (Kardashian’s steady) resolved at the start of 2012 to “be as nice as possible to the press.” That was after he flipped out while being interviewed by Today host Matt Lauer in 2010 and then lashed out after the press mocked comments he made about Britney Spears’ hit single in 2011. But, he’s been much nicer this year, so chalk that up to a resolution held.

And, when talking to a group at a high school outside Cleveland, President Obama resolved last January “to make sure that I get out of Washington and spend time with folks like you.”

With credit to a ridiculously well-traveled campaign trail, he certainly lived up to that pledge.

Resolutions are unendingly popular, even when we can’t keep them, which is a trait recognized by crotchety reality show judge Simon Cowell, who says he “doesn’t do” resolutions. “Never. You’re never going to keep them,” so why bother.

That’s probably more true than not, but there’s no harm in treating every new year as a fresh start, determined to improve ourselves, expand our horizons, be good to others and search for happiness.

Or, as Benjamin Franklin so wisely suggested: Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.

Indeed.

We wish you all a very happy new year, and good luck with whatever resolutions you decide (or not) to make.

[email protected]

filed under: