By the time the ball drops in Times Square at 12 a.m. EST on Jan. 1, many will have goals in place for the coming year. Many will have broken those resolutions within a week.
Fortunately, for teams in the National Football League, it'll take until at least September to figure out if they've met expectations.
The teams that saw success will look to 2012 as a possible continuation of what they accomplished in 2011.
As for the clubs that flopped and failed to get in position for the Super Bowl, their aim is to right the wrongs of the past months.
Find consistency at quarterback
Regardless of his injuries, Kevin Kolb hasn't brought the play that the Cardinals anticipated when they traded for him in July with the Philadelphia Eagles.
With that lack of structure, Arizona started 1-6. Since then, they have righted the ship with both Kolb and John Skelton. Still, those early-season losses could come back to haunt them.
The Cardinals need Kolb to be play at a higher level, especially when you have a great receiver like Larry Fitzgerald at your disposal.
Make the right call on fourth down
Granted, the Falcons are getting good at the right time. A wild-card berth is within their sights if they keep up this new-found momentum.
It could have been a division title within reach if their head coach had played it by the book in their overtime encounter with New Orleans on Nov. 13.
In overtime, Mike Smith decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 deep in its own territory. The call backfired, and the Saints won shortly after. It's a choice that put the Falcons further back of the Saints, and it'll take some work for them to return to the top of the NFC South.
Win the winnable games
A setback against Tennessee, a poor showing against Jacksonville and a letdown in Seattle.
Three games in which Baltimore played down to its opponent.
If the Ravens had played as well as they did in their winning efforts against Pittsburgh (twice) and New York, they could have avoided the unnecessary losses. It would have also put them in better position to gain home field advantage in the AFC instead of fighting to simply win the North.
Make the second half of the season like the first half
When they opened up this season with a 41-0 shellacking of the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, it appeared as if things were changing for the Bills.
A 5-2 start upheld those thoughts.
After that, the bottom has fallen out. Fred Jackson's injury notwithstanding, Buffalo has turned back into the team that was mired in mediocrity for the entire 2000s. The goal for 2012 will be to duplicate the excitement they brought at the start of 2011.
Finish the close games
It appears as if no team has lost as many nail-biters as the Carolina Panthers have.
The most recent of this variety came in a narrow defeat to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
For Cam Newton and the rest of Ron Rivera's club, this will be a learning experience. Sooner or later, their up-and-coming quarterback is going to learn how to win these tight games. He's thrilling fans now with his play, but his ability to pull out victories is what is most important.
Get a capable backup for Cutler
With Caleb Hanie playing below average, the Chicago Bears have gone into hibernation as winter nears. Lovie Smith and Mike Martz simply can't survive with their current situation at quarterback. Having security at that position, in case Cutler gets hurt in the future, will significantly help the team in the future.
Learn how to win
It should be known that at preseason, the Bengals were thought of as a bottom-feeder in the NFL's pecking order.
After impressive debut campaigns by Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, Cinci has played well above original expectations.
The Bengals are 8-6 and still have a playoff berth within sight. It would have been made easier if they had come through with a major win against greater competition. Losses to Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Baltimore and Houston show that they aren't yet ready to compete with the best.
Stop the opponent's running game
Cleveland has a lot of problems. All of that equals a 4-10 record and a high draft pick come April.
The main issue may be its rush defense, one that ranks next-to-last in the NFL. The Browns have yielded 150.9 yards per contest this season, including 204 (and a touchdown) to Baltimore's Ray Rice on Dec. 4.
Be as good at the finish as you were at the start
Dallas tempered the critics with its fairly easy victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, there is room for another December choke. The Cowboys face division rivals Philly and New York to finish up the season, neither of which are guaranteed victories.
Tony Romo hasn't faltered at all this time around. The defense is what's on shaky ground. Finishing strong is not a characteristic of this team.
In Tebow we Trust
For their fans, Tim Tebow has been the savior of the Broncos franchise. For the players, he has been the inspirational leader. For management, he's a player that they're still on the fence about.
Tebow has defied conventional wisdom with great escapes that may be the product of divine intervention. However, one can't deny the fact that he's taken on this role at quarterback and given a jolt to a club that was slumping early in the season.
He may not play like a prototypical quarterback. But by being clutch, cunning and classy, the heads in Denver would be wise to give Tebow at least another year of development.
Gain some maturity
In the NFL, there's a fine line between smart and stupid. And the Detroit Lions are on the wrong side of that line.
They have committed a whopping 32 penalties over a three-game stretch. Many of them have been of the unnecessary variety.
There's no question that the Lions are a young (and talented) bunch. That's fine, but at least act like professionals.
Maintain the monotony of old
Chalk up the stunning defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs to a classic letdown game.
Besides this loss, there's little change needed for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Yes, the defense is slightly suspect, but they lead the league in turnovers. What's more, the offense is so potent that it usually overrides any mistakes on the other side of the ball.
If they keep up the level of play that made them 13-0, the Packers will be rewarded with another Lombardi Trophy in February 2012.
Avoid the injury bug
Physical ailments have tried to hinder the Texans' solid season.
Nevertheless, they've remained resilient.
Despite having lost Mario Williams for the year, Andre Johnson twice, staring quarterback Matt Schaub, as well as backup QB Matt Leinart, Houston has yet to fall apart.
Still, if the AFC South champs want to build on their great accomplishments of 2011, they must gain some fortune in the health department for 2012.
A healthy, competent quarterback
Even without Peyton Manning, one couldn't have imagined the Indianapolis Colts sinking this far down the NFL totem pole.
Jim Caldwell's club has had a rough year, to put it lightly. All aspects of the game have faltered. The quarterback position, no surprise, is the most glaring weakness.
It's unknown who will be the starting QB for Indy once 2012 begins. Could it be their veteran leader? Could it be Andrew Luck?
Either way, the Colts will be better off than the talentless players they've had behind center. They just hope he doesn't get hurt.
Have someone who can help MJD
In retrospect, it was a bad idea to jettison veteran David Garrard. That move eventually led to Josh McCown and rookie Blaine Gabbert taking snaps behind center—something both are unqualified to do.
It's not to say that having Garrard would have given the Jags playoff hopes, but it would have been better for Gabbert, the club's first round pick in 2011, to learn from an experienced player rather than be thrown into the fire.
Having the talents of Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield can only help to a point. There are times in which the QB has to make plays on his own, and Gabbert can't do that.
Play like they did against Green Bay
The number of people that saw the Chiefs defeating the Packers on Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium is minimal.
Under interim head coach Romeo Crennel and new QB Kyle Orton, Kansas City stunned the NFL by handing Green Bay its first loss of 2011.
For a team that has regressed from their playoff appearance in 2010 (thanks partly to injuries), this victory could be a major boost to their fortunes next year.
Keep playing with effort
They had nothing to play for at 0-7, except maybe for their head coach's job. The Dolphins notched their first victory in impressive fashion by blowing out the Kansas City Chiefs. It turned into a three-game win streak.
Tony Sparano was fired after Week 13. That didn't stop Miami from continuing to fight. The Dolphins took down the Bills in snowy Buffalo, 30-23.
Despite being undermanned, Miami has not been overwhelmed.
Develop Christian Ponder
The rookie out of Florida State made his first start on Oct. 23 at home against the defending Super Bowl champions.
It was a debut that showed promise, albeit in a loss to Green Bay. Ponder had his share of good (two TDs) and bad (two picks). That's been the case for his entire run as the Vikings starting quarterback.
Ensuring that the mistakes are limited will go a long way towards making Minnesota more consistent rather than being a bottom-feeder in the NFC North.
Improve the secondary
The New England defense has been a major weakness on this overall strong club. More specifically, the secondary is holding them back and letting opposing offenses score with great ease.
With plenty of inexperience and a lack of talent, the Patriots have been bailed out by the fact that they have Tom Brady leading an offense that can put up plenty of points.
Still, the fate of New England rests on them. If the secondary costs them another Super Bowl shot, Bill Belichick will certainly focus on that come the offseason.
A blowout victory over the lowly Minnesota Vikings on Sunday doesn't wash away the fact that the Saints' biggest disappointments have come away from the Superdome.
Two of New Orleans' three losses came on the home turf of St. Louis and Tampa Bay, clubs that were out of the playoff picture well before Thanksgiving.
When the Saints are at home, they're nearly unbeatable. Away from the bayou, they're vulnerable.
Tell the league to give them an easier schedule
It is impossible to determine the difficulty of a schedule prior to the season considering the incredible parity of the NFL.
But the Giants drew the wrong end of the straw this year, both in design and luck.
From Nov. 6 to Dec. 11, New York faced this daunting slate: at New England, at San Francisco, vs. Philadelphia, at New Orleans, vs. Green Bay, at Dallas.
The Giants went 2-4 in that stretch and it's no question that it wore them down when they struggled against Washington on Sunday.
Hold on to the football
Mark Sanchez has had moments of success and moments of failure over the course of this season. The main reason for his setbacks has been turnovers.
The third-year quarterback has nine fumbles (seven lost) in 2011 along with 13 interceptions.
An inability to maintain possession of the pigskin is a characteristic of an inexperienced signal-caller, not of someone who has the potential to be an upper-echelon QB.
The Raiders have had a mixture of losses in which they let leads slip away in the final moments as well as losses in which they made the outcome obvious in the early moments.
Of all the defeats this year, the worst may have been Sunday's. Oakland let the Detroit Lions produce a 98-yard game-winning touchdown drive down the stretch. So, instead of sharing leadership in the AFC West, the Raiders have an uphill battle over the course of the last two regular season games.
To play up to expectations
The Eagles turned 2011 into a season that they'd like to forget.
Preseason's "Dream Team" fell asleep at the wheel on the road to Super Bowl XLVI, dropping four straight early and putting themselves in a position from which they could never recover.
Multiple injuries to Michael Vick, issues with the defense and several fourth quarter leads blown all amounted to a incredibly disappointing season. One has to believe that all their talent won't go wasted again next year.
Keep their QB healthy
It seems like a broken record each year. The Steelers are contending for another Super Bowl and their quarterback is banged up.
Each time, Ben Roethlisberger overcomes the physical ailments and continues to be Pittsburgh's leader on the field.
The ideal scenario would be for Big Ben to avoid being among the pained. However, considering the recent trend, a beat up No. 7 may not be all that harmful.
Throw to players with like-colored jerseys
It's hard to believe that Philip Rivers could go from the league's best passer in 2010 to having the most turnovers in 2011.
The NC State product has eclipsed last year's totals in interceptions and fumbles, as he and the Chargers struggled in the middle portion of the regular season. In all likelihood, it could be chalked up to an off-year for Rivers.
Therefore, this could be one resolution that can be made.
Keep feeding off the head coach
He must be doing something right. Because before Jim Harbaugh was tabbed as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, the team was uninspiring at best.
A sure-fire choice for NFL Coach of the Year, Harbaugh added a much-needed spark to a formerly moribund organization.
His energy can sometimes be displaced in the wrong places (ex: post-game hand shake with Jim Schwartz), but it has been invaluable to the San Francisco 49ers, a team that has captured the NFC West title.
Keep up the momentum
A group that was scorned upon in September and October is making some noise in December. With less-than-average quarterback play and a team filled with mostly unknowns, the Seahawks have faint playoff chances.
Head coach Pete Carroll should give most of his thanks to a rejuvenated Marshawn Lynch. The powerful running back has run for more than 100 yards in five of the past six games.
Being in a relatively average NFC West, improvement could result in a rise up the standings.
Protect the quarterback
No team in the NFL this season has yielded more sacks than the Rams.
It may not be a direct reason for his breaking down, but Sam Bradford's health isn't helped by constant battering by opposing defenders.
Bradford has struggled both in his play on the field and in trying to stay healthy. If St. Louis wants to have him be its franchise signal-caller, it must find a way to keep him upright.
Aim for consistency
When Raheem Morris' squad finished 2010 with a 10-6 mark (falling just short of the postseason), it was natural to believe that more success was on the way.
Injuries and underachieving performances have stunted that progress.
Josh Freeman appears to be far from being among the better quarterbacks in the league thanks in part to his 18 interceptions compared to just 13 TDs.
The defense, meanwhile, has allowed 48 points to San Francisco, 38 to Carolina and 41 to Jacksonville.
Make sure their running back gets to training camp
Chris Johnson made headlines in the first few years of his pro career with his outstanding running ability.
He made news in August with his desire to have more money.
C.J. got his wish after a lengthy holdout that lasted until early September. That increase in money, though, led to a decrease in production. He has been able to regain his groove at the mid-point of the year.
If Johnson had played like his usual self at the beginning of this season, it's quite possible that the Titans could have reversed the result of one of their early losses and could withstand a defeat like the one they suffered against the winless Colts.
Have hope at QB
As has been the case for his entire career, Rex Grossman's bad performances have outweighed his good ones.
And for that reason, the Redskins need to look in a different direction when it comes to the most important position in the NFL. More specifically, Mike Shanahan and company need to look at one coming out of college. Robert Griffin III, Matt Barkley and even Andrew Luck are possibilities considering Washington's draft position at this point.
Obtaining a quarterback with an upside will be a good next step for a revival in D.C.