The New Year is a wonderful time. Fresh hope and new beginnings linger like the smell of freshly baked bread. We are positively drunk with the promise of new possibilities, buoyant against the tide of all that awaits us in the year ahead. But, we are hardly going to change overnight and that’s why that resolution to give up smoking/lose 1 stone/stop biting your finger nails (delete as appropriate) is best never made. I loathe lazy January magazine filler stories with the headlines ‘New Year, new you’. Ok, ok I may be a bit premature with this, jumping the gun that is Christmas and heading straight for the finish line that is New Year’s Eve but I wanted to stop you before you decided on a list of (unrealistic) New Year’s resolutions resolving to…well, resolve nothing.For two years I have been following a New Year plan trademarked by my friend posh Jen (named as such because she is the poshest person I know). One year Jen was bemoaning the fact she didn’t have anyone to go to Madrid with when her sister, sick to the back teeth of hearing the broken record again, just said “why don’t you go on your own? Why are you waiting for someone else? You always go on about all these things you want to do and you NEVER DO THEM!”
And that was that – Jen got to thinking about all the other things which she said she wanted to do but never actually did: put a new kitchen in, take sign language classes, organise a singles dinner. She took the bull by the horns and did one thing a month for the whole of 2011. The result…12 experiences that she was in total control of, instead of a clutch of resolutions that were subject to the whims of the world.
In 2012 I snatched up the gauntlet, I read Pride & Prejudice, cooked mussels, made hummus and baba ghanoush from scratch, went to the theatre 3 times. And so instead of that emotional and mental flogging you give yourself when you break a New Year’s resolution, I had a year’s worth of fat ticks when I had completed my list.
So instead of thinking ‘I’d like to eat there’ when you pass that Indian restaurant on the bus you actually go and eat there. Tick! It might be finally asking for that pay rise (but before you do bear this in mind: 76% of HR Directors believe that an employee’s style of dress at work influences their chance of promotion). So bearing that in mind it might be sorting out your work wardrobe once and for all. And while it may not be anything as drastic as Cheryl’s back tattoo, small things can have big consequences which are probably more fun than stopping biting your finger nails will ever be.
By Stephanie Roper