Forty-five percent of Americans usually make New Year's resolutions and 38 percent never do, according to the University of Scranton's Journal of Clinical Psychology, published in early December.

The top 10 resolutions, says the journal's research, are the usual fare -- self-improvement or helping others. And, 75 percent of the resolutions are maintained through the first week but dip down considerably to 46 percent at the six-month mark.

But that's just human nature. The start of a new year is like a rebirth. We all feel like we have a fresh start, the slate is clean so let's begin anew.

But it doesn't always work that way. Obstacles and other unforeseen trappings get in our way. Some of us get back on course, while others give up completely (and probably start all over again on the next Jan. 1).

I have my own list of resolutions. Well, not so much resolutions but wishes for the new year. Feel free to add your own.

First and foremost, that the people of Newtown, especially those families who lost loved ones in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, find peace and continue to get the comfort and support of a sympathetic nation.

That we as a nation enact sensible gun laws that do not infringe on Second Amendment rights or on the right to live in our communities without fear, and that our places of assembly -- schools, houses of worship, movie theaters, malls and streets -- are free of violence.

Locally, that Fairfield town and school officials do a better job at keeping spending down to avoid taxes from rising too much. For fiscal year 2012-13, the municipal budget rose 3.5 percent and taxes 4 percent. Taxpayers can't sustain a similar hit for 2013-14.

That the transparency so often talked about by our first selectman, Michael Tetreau, actually be a reality. He hasn't exactly kept his promise to be open and honest, as evidenced, in particular, by the debacle surrounding the resignation of the former chief fiscal officer, Paul Hiller, that garnered so much of our focus in late summer. The first selectman is reminded that it isn't easy to trust someone who isn't forthcoming.

Finally, that we all work harder to help those less fortunate. Fairfield traditionally is a caring and compassionate community, but we always can do more to bring happiness and security to others, whether it be with regular monetary donations or a greater effort to volunteer our time and talents to many of the social service and humanitarian organizations within our midst.

Patricia A. Hines is a Fairfield writer, and her "Hines Sight" appears every other Friday. She can be reached at She also can be followed at or @patricia_hines on Twitter.