IT’S that time of year, the time when a lot of us will be making New Year resolutions.

Personally, I’ve never really been a fan of the New Year resolution. My view has always been that setting an artificial date to change what is probably a habit of a lifetime is doomed to failure.

But being perfectly honest, I did, sort of made a resolution last New Year’s Eve.

There was no big fanfare, no hours of discussion, and I didn’t tell anyone about it, I just got on and did it.

What, you may ask, was my big lifestyle change... I simply gave up drinking alcohol.

I did allow myself the caveat of drinking on ‘special occasions’. And given it was my own personal resolution, I permitted myself to set the rules about what constituted a special occasion.

(My wife, somewhat cynically, suggested that I would allow myself to have a drink on any day with a ‘y’ in it.) My real definition was a little more draconian. My birthday or that of a close family member counted as special, as did holidays. The occasional night out with friends sometimes counted as special, sometimes it didn’t.

Truthfully, no alcohol passed my lips for the first three months of 2013 until I went away for a short break to Jerez in Spain.

And let’s face it, I was unlikely to go to the home of sherry and not sample some of the product.

But once I got back to Cheshire, that was it, no more alcohol for me.

I’ve pretty much kept it up all year – although there was a certain amount of slippage in my resolve as we entered the festive season.

And yes, I will be welcoming in the New Year with a glass or two of something cold, bubbly and alcoholic in my hand.

Regular readers of this column might remember me bemoaning how Christmas seems to start in October these days and my lovely cynical wife did point out the irony that my Christmas also seemed to have started a week or two earlier than usual this year as, of course, Christmas is a ‘special’ time in terms of alcohol consumption.

The reality for me is that in 2013, I have drunk far, far less than any other year in the past 20 years.

And there have been real benefits; certainly financial, and without changing too much else in my life, I lost more than two stone in weight and six inches off my waist.

Even over Christmas, there were some days when I just didn’t have any alcohol and my aim is to carry on only drinking on ‘special’ days next year.

But that’s not a New Year resolution.

All this set me thinking. What actually constitutes a resolution and what changes are other people planning on making?

Last year, fitness and gym company LA Fitness commissioned a survey of New Year resolutions.

And some of the responses I find strange to say the least.

Unsurprisingly, losing weight came in at No 3 (behind reading more books and saving more money).

And I suppose it’s a sign of the times in which we now live that watching less television came in at No 13.

Remarkably, spending less time on Facebook was the 16th most popular resolution while socialising more in real life rather than Facebook was 21st.

Reading them made me a little bit sad.

Have we really condemned ourselves to spending our lives in a virtual world rather than real life?

It would appear so.

This brings me on to one New Year resolution which I really hope to persevere with – be more community-spirited.

This year, my parish council had a big push to bring the community together over the festive season and, for the first time, organised a community carol concert which I went to the other night.

It was a real delight to see people come together with some genuine community spirit and I hope to be more community-minded next year.

And yes, I know I have been critical of parish councils in the past but I take my hat off to mine, especially as it got all events sponsored and it didn’t cost the council tax payer a penny.

For the record, drinking less alcohol came in at 22 in the survey, while the old favourite giving up smoking was way down at 26.