With the excesses of Christmas behind you, it's time to make some changes for the better...
1. Resolve to watch Newsnight more regularly; not just for Paxman's beard.
2. Resolve to know what day and time Newsnight is on.
3. Stop signing petitions about saving animals. Unless they are big animals and therefore practically human. We have too much work to do with humans before animals get our attention.
4. Read online petition emails more carefully. I think I have signed up twice now to save the bees. Why did we only have '24 Hours to Save the Bees!' both times? And what malevolent force is holding bees to ransom so frequently? And with such a short window of negotiation? Why don't we form a long-term bee plan and give ourselves, say, 24 months to save the bees, thus sparing the embarrassment of repeatedly failing an entire species? It's also mean to give bees false hope (see resolution 3 for the solution to this all; the bees have probably died out anyway by the time you read this, so scrap the 24-month plan, eat jam instead.).
5. Do things before 3pm at the weekends (washing, eating, and scrolling gormlessly up and down cat montages while you scratch yourself do not count).
6. (You liked that, didn't you?) Read books by David Peace and Hilary Mantel. This way you will always have something highbrow to say to your boss/ex-lover's new lover/chiropodist.
7. Accept that pasta and mayonnaise is not a meal.
8. When you buy it, read the main part of the weekend paper, not just the magazine. Then put the main paper in loo for guests; it's the last thing they would expect you to do. "Where's the supplement, Julian?" you'll hear them cry through the door, their voices tinged with regret. This way you'll look much cleverer than you are, and you will save infinitely on loo roll in 2014 once word gets out of your constitutional literature choices. This one does require you changing your name to Julian.
9. Do regular exercise. (Wearing Lycra leggings and a sports bra around the flat doesn't count).
10. Complete the full 30 days Abs Challenge, starting on January 2nd, and do not give up at day 12 again.
11. Read the 'How To Do A Sit Up' page before beginning said challenge, as Day 13 is 60 sit ups and you (I) currently can't do one properly.*
12. Once you have a stomach like a glockenspiel, wear cropped t-shirts and pretend you are an 18 year old H&M poster girl/boy with friends called things like Peonie, T-J and Tash. Until your actual friends disown you for being a nob, or you get cold.
13. Buy vests long enough to tuck into waistband.
14. Join a choir. This is one I actually believe I might do.
15. Cook more, and experiment with different cuisines.
16. To achieve 16, learn about ingredients which you can only buy in East Dulwich, like lemon salt, fresh marjoram and aspirational root vegetables.
17. Stop pretending you know or care about mortgages.
18. Do something creative every week for pleasure (this counts).
19. Only drink alcohol on days that have the letter r in them, or are primary or secondary colours in my mind when I visualise them (I have mild synaesthesia when it comes to the days of the week. Monday: yellow or orange, Tuesday: aquamarine, Wednesday: navy blue, Thursday: brown, Friday: black, Saturday: yellow or sometimes white, Sunday: red, or no colour at all. You can claim this simple system too if you like.).
20. Sundays are bad enough; never promise to not drink wine on a Sunday.
21. Eat more pulses.
22. Shine your shoes like a real grown up.
23. Clean out the drainage hole in the shower, don't just kick aside the hair collector, or 'Eye of Sauron' when it's too clogged with four people's hair to let the water drain away anymore. (Suggestion: Google images 'Eye of Sauron' for juvenile amusement).
24. Throw away all pants with (unintentional) holes in the gusset.
25. Travel to somewhere you haven't been before. Cockfosters doesn't count.
26. Hang up photos and carefully chosen artwork which you don't yet own, in carefully chosen places, not just where pre-existing hooks and nails are.
27. Stop taking your phone into the loo.
28. Watch at least the first Die Hard. Don't- I KNOW. (If this isn't on your List of Shame, watch another seminal film you've been pretending you have seen and haven't).
29. Watch Braveheart- again, I know....
30. Watch Borgen.
31. Consider your own political potential. (I am keeping this deliberately ambiguous in case I discover I have none).
32. Never attempt Padmin (Personal Admin) after 9.30pm.
33. Explore more local pubs. But go home at last orders; do not continue to grotty ironic nightspot.
34. Ride a bike.
35. Get saddle for the bike which you could be riding.
36. Cry occasionally, it's apparently good for you. But in private, facing wall.
37. Sit up straight. You're getting too old to risk slouching your breasts into your lap. This resolution is unisex.
38. Sing. Like there's no one listening. Even if there is and the children are crying.
39. Play your guitar/trumpet/accordion/nose-flute/whatever you choose, loads. Preferably with no trousers on.
40. Buy the new guitar/trumpet/accordion/nose-flute/whatever you choose, that you should've bought in September.
41. Stop playing Ignition or requesting it at weddings as R-Kelly really is an appalling man and not just a provider of novelty RnB for white people**
42. Dance. Like there's no one watching. Even if there is and you're asked to put your trousers back on and leave the boardroom.
43. Keep Being Incendiary. "Be Incendiary" was my secret motto for 2013. I never decided what it meant but its broad church of meaning was both a useful cover and unjustifiably enigmatic if anyone asked me.***
44. Develop an unhealthy interest in matches to achieve the above.
45. Get that thing checked out by a proper doctor. It shouldn't be purple, or look like Kenneth Branagh in profile.
*How did I previously get to Day 12 without knowing how to do a sit up you may wonder? Well technically it was Day 11, as Day 12 is Rest Day. I admit I made up my own version of the sit up, which involved windmilling my arms around my head until I could propel myself into a vague sitting/undignified birthing position, yelping, and falling down on my back again. Repeat several times until severe neck injury is incurred. NB: Since beginning to write this I have achieved no.10 and failed at no. 11.