About four in 10 of us make New Year's resolutions, but only a tiny fraction actually keep them.

About four in 10 of us make New Year's resolutions, but only a tiny fraction actually keep them. The top pledges center around health: losing weight, eating better, exercising more or quitting a bad habit such as drinking too much or smoking. Others include getting organized, saving money, spending more time with loved ones or living life to the fullest.

Research psychologist and author Dr. Frieda Birnbaum said often we fail to keep those promises because we make them too hard.

"Resolutions need to be easier," she stated. "We need to be more specific. If we make it doable, then it is doable."

She said to set a time that you'll go to the gym, don't just promise that you'll get to it during a busy day. She said make it a routine, set a time to work out each day, and you'll be more likely to stick to that resolution.

Birnbaum believes it's more likely you'll stick to your guns if you don't let everyone know what you're doing.

"Unlike what research tells you that you should tell your friends about it so you can have support, I have found that it's better not to tell anybody about it, so you don't have other opinions in your way and you can just move at your own pace," she explained.

Birnbaum also believes people make resolutions to lose weight, in particular, for the wrong reasons.

"Women are very, very into looking as good as they can, being as thin as they can," she added. "But it doesn't mean being as happy as you can, so we have to have perspective over our values."

Statistics show that by the end of this month, about two thirds of those who made pledges will still be hanging in there. However, six months later that number drops to just over 40 percent.