At this time of year, our newsroom is bombarded with the results of surveys and studies claiming that the bare minimum of us successfully achieve our New Year’s resolutions and about half fail by the end of January! I gave up making New Year’s Resolutions a couple of years ago, as they just seem so boring …lose weight, drop a dress size, win the lotto… people just seem to make the same ones every year.

The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 BC when Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar. With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year. New Year’s resolutions have somewhat evolved over time, but the principle is the same: the New Year amounts to a clean slate. So, with this welcome piece of optimism in mind, I’ve done a bit of research, given a little thought to what could be better in my life and devised a few resolutions accordingly.

Firstly, I resolve to make more phone calls. We all rely on email and text so much these days and it’s far too easy to say that’s an adequate way pf staying connect with family and friends. Fair enough, the immediacy and convenience of electronic communication is great, but words on a screen can never replace the sound of a friend’s voice and emoticons will never fully capture intonations and laughter.

Not to get all Pollyanna-ish on you, but one of the best ways to stay happy in life has to be reminding yourself of your Reasons to be Cheerful. They don’t have to be epic- the sun smiling in at me when I open the curtains or spotting a fabulous new handbag at 70% off in the January sales is good enough for me. The simple act of acknowledging the positives in our lives is like self-administering a shot of well-being.

In this time of recessionary doom and gloom, I also resolve to support the local arts scene as much as possible in 2009. As Garter Lane’s Caroline Senior said to me on her appointment to the Arts Council, ‘the arts shouldn’t be the icing on the cake, they shouldn’t be optional in life’. Not only do the arts keep us from becoming complacent and stagnant, they also have a unique ability to make us smile on a day when there’s not much else to smile about. Plus, in these times of cutbacks, your few bob could help make it possible for artists to continue doing what they do.

Of course, it’s worth making the right resolution – one which you can realistically keep. I’m sure plenty of readers could manage to keep at least one of these.


  • Read less, there are better things to do with your time and it only makes

you think anyway.


  • Forget dieting, it’s easier to gain weight than losing weight.

Aim for at least 30 pounds.

  • Stop exercising, it’s a waste of time.
  • Watch more television, there’re too many good programmes that you’re missing.
  • Procrastinate more, you didn’t want to do it anyway. Starting tomorrow.
  • Drink more alcohol, it’s no fun being sober.
  • Get further into debt.
  • Break at least one traffic law.
  • Start being more superstitious, Friday the 13th is unlucky, better stay home.
  • Spend more time at work, the boss won’t approve time off anyway.
  • Stop bringing food from home, there are plenty of fast food restaurants.
  • and last but not least…take up a new habit, maybe smoking