I have a confession to make: I've made the same New Year's Resolutions for roughly the last 20 years.
In no particular order of importance they are: lose weight, get fit, drink less, eat more healthily, save money, and take up some sort of hobby (to date there's been yoga, pilates, Spanish, knitting, creative writing – I could go on, but I won't).
Occasionally I ring in the changes and set myself a 'small, manageable goal' like learning to love wheatgrass (bleurgh) or snacking on dried goji berries instead of giant chocolate buttons (hmmm), but my good intentions never last.
Trouble is, most people's New Year resolutions are all about self-improvement – and self-improvement is boring, dull, tedious and depressing.
January is also boring, dull, tedious and depressing. This is the time of year when we need all the vices we can get, which is why I'm usually back on the Sauvignon and salt and vinegar crisps within 72 hours.
I am living proof that resolutions don't work, so why do I bother making them over and over again?
I blame it on Christmas.
This is partly because after a month-long food and booze marathon, even the most committed salad-dodger starts to fantasise about broccoli and an invigorating walk in the countryside.
But it's mostly because we get all nostalgic and reflective at Christmas. As soon as the Christmas music comes on the radio and I hear John and Yoko's Merry Christmas (War is Over) with the killer opening line, 'So this is Christmas, what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun', I start to feel guilty.
Because I realise that I have mostly shopped for shoes, eaten M&S Melting Middle Chocolate Puddings and had impure thoughts about One Direction.
These are not noble, character-building pursuits and I find I can no longer conceal the fact that I am terminally shallow, weak-willed and possibly a little bit pervy (in my defense, Harry Styles is 17, ok?)
In the face of this new knowledge, I inevitably decide that I must take action: change my life, cleanse my soul, become a Better Person. After working for magazines for the best part of two decades, I know for a FACT, that the way to do this is to body brush twice daily, eat rainbow-coloured superfoods, buy the Tracey Anderson workout dvd (worked for Gwyneth) and do a month-long detox.
So I do my annual trek to the health food shop, stock up on supplements and energising juices (pomegranate and coconut water this year, in case you're interested) and prepare myself for several weeks of pain, denial and boredom.
The first week is usually quite enjoyable: no one can be bothered to go out anyway and there's lots of good TV to catch up on.
But then it starts: the creeping realisation that Saturday nights' in aren't as much fun without a takeaway and a bottle of wine; the building irritation with the grunting man at the gym and the woman in the changing room who uses a hairdryer to give herself a totally new kind of Brazilian blow-dry; the knowledge that I'll never prefer bircher muesli to a bacon sarnie.
And so I crack: I order a curry, skip the gym, have a second breakfast. And realise that I'm much happier as a result.
As far as I can tell, the basic problem with New Year resolutions is that they're no fun – and I'm going to make it my mission to change this.
So for 2011, my resolutions are as follows:
I will only drink cocktails (Vodka, Lime and Soda is allowed - it's Liz Hurley's fave, you know?)
I will go on holiday more than once (that includes camping or a night in a Travel Lodge)
I will only eat food that I really enjoy (no goji berries)
I will have at least one lie-in per week (preferably two)
I will dedicate at least a couple of hours per week to sitting about doing nothing (a couple of hours per day if I'm feeling especially, ah, virtuous)
Now these are the kind of resolutions I'll have no trouble sticking to.
Happy New Year - it looks like 2011 could be a good one...
By: Ceri Roberts