Stossel on New Year's Resolutions

Those pledges you will so pompously make this Tuesday … how likely are you to keep 'em?

I make resolutions too, but it's time to get realistic about this.

Lots of people are making resolutions. People promise to take up new hobbies, like learning to play the piano or backpacking in Tibet.

Others try to be kinder. Christina Vidal promises to "stop cursing people out on the road."

Thomas Gibson said he'd like to "promote world peace."

Kicking the Habit and Hitting the Gym

Last month we asked an US magazine reporter to quiz celebrities about their resolutions.

Jennifer Coolidge said she was going to be on time. Natasha Richardson is going to be more patient. Rob Schneider says he wants to meet J. Lo. Billy Campbell wants to get a job. Allison Janney says she's resolving to be more socially conscious. Johnny Resnick said, "I'm gonna quit smoking."

Lots of people resolve THAT every year. Last year quitting smoking was what both Jon Stewart and John Mellencamp wanted to do. They wouldn't tell us if they followed through — but I suspect they didn't. A few people DO KEEP their resolutions. Robert Patrick, for example. Two years ago he resolved to quit smoking and did.

"I have quit pretty much everything I can quit. The only thing I have left is coffee and I don't think that's gonna happen," he said.

Lots of people promise to get in shape, and there are a lot of diet resolutions.

Last year President Bush said he'd resolve to "eat fewer cheeseburgers." The White House didn't get back to us about whether he kept his resolution, but when it comes to diet and exercise, most people fail. Health clubs count on this. Gyms make money on the eager people who join and then don't actually come.

Surveys show only one in three people who resolve to exercise are still following through six months later.

Last year Britney Spears resolved to spend MORE time with Justin Timberlake … I kind of doubt that's something she's following through on.

Failing to keep resolutions keeps many people from making them.

Actor David Hyde Pierce said, "I forget them as soon as I make them and that way it's less painful."

Others avoid failure by setting low goals.

Don Cheadle said, "I keep 'em simple, like try not to fall down."

Martin Short promised "to even be more wonderful."

Hope they has better luck than Michael Jackson did. Last year the New York Post reported Jackson's New Year's resolution was to "help the children." This year drew headlines by dangling his son, Prince Michael III, from a hotel balcony. That's taking care of the children?

Give me a break.

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