New Year's resolutions are a load of rubbish - every January we set ourselves up for failure (a University of Bristol study found that 88% of people fail at their resolutions) and eye-rolling from friends with unsustainable vows: "I'm going to the gym every single day/ cut out all sugar/ drop two dress sizes before summer/ read at least ten new books a month (unless you have a mammoth commute or are retired) etc, but it is nice to think about the fresh new year ahead and what you'd like to achieve in it.
With that in mind, here are a few of my small, achievable changes and promises which will be easier to maintain in the long term rather than fizzle out in a fortnight.
2. Weekly me time - do a face mask and hair treatment once a week. I have loads of exciting new products to try at home, yet I rarely get round to it - each only takes 20 minutes, so I'm going to try work them into my weekly routine and make it a habit so they becomes second nature.
3. Cut back on drinking - the classic new year's resolution! - we share a bottle of wine with dinner most nights and I'm sure I'd sleep better, have clearer skin and shed a few pounds if I had at least a couple nights a week without.
4. Learn to drive - top of my personal development priorities is passing my driving test in the next year. Hopefully. I did 16 hours of driving lessons before I moved to Paris last year and haven't picked it up again... Until 2015!
5. Write a letter once a month - it doesn't sound like much but if I vow to write once a week, I know I won't stick to it or they'll be woefully light on content. Everyone enjoys receiving a note from friends and family.
6. Try one new restaurant or lunch place a week - everyone has their go-to places, but there's so much to choose from in London! It doesn't necessarily have to be a fancy place or one I've wanted to try for ages, I just want to mix it up.
7. Reduce simple carbs - they're easily avoidable these days. I haven't bought bread in months, rarely have sandwiches at lunch and will continue to replace starchy carbs as much as possible: pulsed cauliflower instead of couscous, beans instead of arborio rice in risottos, courgette base pizzas and am getting a spiralizer to make veg spaghetti to cut back on pasta.
8. Exercise wardrobe discipline - I want to stick to the "if you haven't worn it in a year, take it to the charity shop" rule. It's just so hard! What happens if my teenage flares
fit again come back into fashion? Get. Rid. (to make room for new season arrivals.)
9. Add more variety to my exercise routine - I cycle to and from the office so spend 40 minutes on my bike every day, cycle before work once a week (in summer, turbo trainer in winter) and go out on my bike most weekends I'm at home (although again, in summer... I've been pretty bad in the past few months) so I'll continue doing that in the new year, but I'd also like to get back into fun classes (the gym bores me): Zumba, trips to the velodrome, barrecore, spin at Psycle, Clubbercise, aquabiking... London has so much choice. Also I can run again after an injury: my half marathon days are behind me, but I'd like to do a couple of 10km races this year. Oh and get a better RideLondon 100 time - in 2013 I did the inaugural ride in 6 hours and 13 minutes (let's be Strava buddies!), and I'm beating it this year. I missed the 2014 race as I was in Chicago, but the 2015 training starts soon...
10. Visit three new countries - 2014 was a great year of travel: I moved back from Paris in February, back in Paris in April, Tenerife in May, Hungary in June, Provence in July, Chicago in August, Poland in September, Paris again in October, Budapest in November, Paris again in December... And long may it continue! I'll hopefully be visiting the Far East for the first time in a few months and a few countries I haven't been to yet. I'd also like to explore the UK more, as there are so many places I haven't visited.
What are your realistic resolutions?