Despite the incessant drumbeat of poor economic data -- consumer confidence fell to a record low in December and the price of single-family homes plunged in October -- the majority of Americans are optimistic about what is in store in 2009.

The Marist College canvassed 1,003 Americans about their expectations for 2009 on December 9 and 10 -- days after the National Bureau of Economic Research confirmed the United States had been mired in a recession since December 2007.

Expectations for a brighter future were higher among younger generations with 64 percent of those under 45 having an optimistic view compared with 52 percent for those 45 or older.

Based on last year's results, those who aim to improve their lives in 2009 will have at least partial success. In 2008, 60 percent kept their self-made promises for at least part of the year.

Are you optimistic about 2009? What resolutions will you make to improve your life in 2009?