But we have all heard the statistics: That whether we're setting personal goals, vowing to see new projects through to completion or committing to reform a bad habit, the average New Year's resolution lasts about as long as those juicy leftover slices of turkey.
We've gathered a few real-life success stories from people who have made and kept their New Year's resolutions and reaped the rewards of self-improvement.
1. Get in the race
"I had always wanted to run a marathon, but it just seemed so daunting. So last year I resolved to get a training plan together and try to do it. I created a very long-range plan, which built up my running times bit by bit, so that it seemed more manageable. By the fall, I was able to run my first marathon successfully! The feeling of accomplishment I had for sticking to my goal was awesome. I'm doing another one this spring."
-- Steven, 34, St. John's, N.L.
2. Walk the talk
"I started a new job in 2011 and my resolution was to start walking to work every day -- rain, shine or snow -- in an effort to do something active that didn't involve a gym. I actually kept the resolution, and have dropped two pant sizes as a result. The secret to my success was a combination of always having an excellent music mix on my iPod and never figuring out the bus routes!"
-- Erin, 32, Toronto
3. Keep tabs on your health
"Last year I kept one resolution, inspired by a friend who lost his eye to a tumour: I went and had my eyes tested. It saved my life because the doctor found that I had a partially blocked artery, which could have caused a stroke. Go get your eyes tested this year!"
-- Johanne, 51, Gatineau, Que.
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4. Save smartly
"I would like to own a condo sometime in the next few years, but I'm not great with money. Every year I said I was going to start saving, but I never did. So last January I made a resolution to actually set up automatic withdrawal from my paycheque straight to a savings account each month. I don't have enough yet for a down payment, but I'm doing OK. I think I have been successful because the money comes out as soon as I get paid so I don't really see it or feel it."
-- Jenn, 27, Kitsilano, B.C.
5. Start slowly and don't get discouraged
"I made a resolution to get to the gym in January because I had booked a month-long trip to Costa Rica and wanted to be in shape for all of the activities I had planned: surfing, hiking, etc. At first I couldn't really run at all, so I spent a lot of time on the treadmill walking on an incline. I kept up my workout routine when I got back and throughout the rest of the year -- what motivates me now is staying in shape for more travel."
-- Charlotte, 29, Ottawa
6. Don't drink your calories
"For the first time ever, I have successfully kept a New Year's resolution all year long by giving up drinking pop at night. This was a major lifestyle change for me. I sleep better now, too, because I gave up all of the sugar and caffeine that used to disrupt my sleep. It was actually easier than I thought -- I just had to stop buying it and keeping it around the house."
-- Jamie, 35, Toronto
7. Ban the predictable
"I thought my social life was getting a bit predictable: post-work drinks week after week with the same people. So last year, I made a resolution to do something new at least every other month. I checked out online event pages for my area and this year I've been to a wine tasting, a comedy show and even a poetry reading (which was a little odd). But I do feel like I've really expanded my horizons, and I've had much more interesting stories to share at post-work drinks these days."
-- Sarah, 31, Halifax
8. Socialize in real time
"I made a New Year's resolution last year to quit Facebook. I just realized that Facebook-stalking was eating up a lot of time that I could be using to interact with people, instead of creeping on exes and old classmates' babies. I'm not sure if it counts as "keeping" a resolution, but I haven't logged in at all, and don't plan on it."
-- Brad, 29, Toronto
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