You can make all the jokes you want about other people’s resolutions and all the “great changes” that they are going to make in the New Year. However, you can’t deny the hard fact that every time Dec. 31st sneaks up on us, we start to get philosophical about our lives, our behavior and our choices in the past year. We start thinking of ways to better ourselves and about the aspects of our lives that need improvement.

We all want similar things, no matter where we come from. Most of us will take stock of our lives and try to figure out how to become a better, richer, kinder and healthier person in the New Year.

Here are the 10 most common New Year’s resolutions:

1. Spend more time with family and friends
2. Develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle
3. Save money
4. Stress less
5. Quit smoking (or any other bad habits you may have)
6. Travel to new places
7. Volunteer and give back
8. Learn something new
9. Get yourself organized
10. Do things that make you happy

Many of these resolutions can be combined into one. Developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle means quitting bad habits such as smoking, cutting down on alcohol if needed, and stressing less. Doing things that make you happy involves spending more time with loved ones, traveling to new places, volunteering and giving back, and possibly learning something new.

Resolutions are simply goals, and goal setting is about prioritizing. If you want something bad enough, chances are you will take the necessary steps to achieve it. Deciding on your New Year’s resolutions is one thing and achieving them is a whole different story. Many resolutions are broken because most of us have such high expectations for a short period of time. We must stick to the plan and understand that it will take time to see results. Also, failing from time to time is OK but it does not mean that once you failed you have failed for the entire year. Perhaps we may not have achieved our resolutions right away, but as long as you actually commit to changing your ways, there will be success down the road. So, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

When writing down your resolutions for 2012, ask yourself how important this is to you. If it is not important enough to make some sacrifices, then it may be best to exclude it from your list. Do not set yourself up for failure. New Year’s resolutions can be a great motivator to live your life to the fullest and be the best you can be. Of course, that is if you find what it is you truly wish to accomplish in the upcoming year. Also, thoroughly consider the necessary steps and changes that should take place. We all have room for improvement in our personal and professional lives. If you unleash your full potential you would be amazed how much you can accomplish in 12 short months. Now is the time to make a plan, stay on track and achieve your goals!

Like Mr. Saka said, let’s make 2012 the best one yet!