Resolutions by the Numbers

Top 10 New Year’s resolutions
  1. Lose Weight
  2. Stop smoking
  3. Stick to a budget
  4. Save more money
  5. Find a better job
  6. Become more organized
  7. Exercise More
  8. Be more patient at work/with others
  9. Eat Better
  10. Become a better person
-Compiled by the Toronto Star Library

Top 5 reasons people fail to keep their resolutions
  1. Go big or go home syndrome. eg: "I'm going to lose thirty pounds so I can wear a bikini on holiday next month." "I'm going to work out 20 hours every week." "I'm going to save enough money to buy that Lamborghini I want and still send my kids to Harvard." (Also see #3)
  2.  Fuzzy-wuzzy goals. Take any of the top ten resolutions as example. There's no how, when or where and the what is so vague as to be meaningless.
  3. Reality check needed. Sure, anyone can try to do anything, but the people who do well learn about the task first. For instance, if being more organized came naturally to you, you wouldn't have to make a resolution about it. But there's lots of information out there about reducing clutter, organizing time and materiel and how to do it in stages so it doesn't overwhelm the naturally disorganized person.
  4. Other people. There are a few ways other people can undermine your resolutions and only one of them is their fault. If you decide that it isn't just you that needs to work out, your spouse needs to exercise too, don't expect them to go along with your plans. If your friends order doubles at the bar and you make do with soda and lime, it's not their problem (but get their keys). On the other hand, if your buddy keeps offering you cigarettes (or alcohol or cream puffs or whatever) and tells you it's too late to worry about your health, drop them like a burning coal. Now. I mean it.
  5. Resolution - or lack thereof. This isn't about willpower or never stumbling. We all stumble. We all have setbacks. For most of us, this results in the temptation to wallow in self-pity and to quit. Okay, I ate too much chocolate* today and I'm suffering for it. Tomorrow I'll do better. In fact, I'll start doing better right now because frankly, my stomach is too upset to face anything but water and an antacid. 
- Compiled by me using course work, a bunch of boring references and common sense.

(*Note: See Pop Culture Divas for my chocolate resolution.)