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Dynamite needed to achieve a resolution

SO, the needles are dropping from the branches of 2013 as we prepare to mulch the year in the brush cutter of time and welcome in a sapling 2014.

That metaphor is not correctly extending, is it?

Erm. I mean, it is nearly New Year -hoorah! Time for clean sheets, a freshly-flipped sandglass, bright starts. Chime the bells of midnight and I will be a better version of myself. I will eat well, sleep more and expend less energy kicking the shins of queue jumpers.

This, sadly, is the time of year when naysayers prattle on about the pointlessness of New Year's Resolutions. Why bother, they harrumph, when you are just setting yourself up for certain failure? Piffle.

Do it right and failure will be a stranger. The key is to start your resolutions at the end of January. Only a martyr would self-flagellate with a set of rules beginning January 1. January in Scotland is the greyest, grimmest month and ill-suited to resolve.

What you want is to pick an arbitrary date - mine is January 27, allowing me to stuff myself with damper and lamingtons for Australia Day - and go at it from then.

Keep simple plans. Maybe you are determined to make the front benches or the cover of OK! magazine in 2014, that's fine. But these are not suitable New Year's resolutions. These, like modern-day beauty regimes, are fulltime endeavours.

Speaking of modern-day beauty regimes: you are unlikely to achieve the body of Cara Delevingne come summer-holiday bikini time. Instead, resolve to cut out one negative foodstuff for one week. When that is achieved keep it going for a second week. Then a third. Before long it will be 2015 and you will be, in the words of one particularly successful yet baffling diet group, lighter and brighter.

Be small, specific and singular in your resolve. Try one resolution a month. Book them in consecutively.

From January 27, I will be less frugal. In stages, nothing rash. I am not going to start buying clothes new; nothing like that. But maybe replacing the candles with an electric lamp. By year's end I'd like to have worked up to buying a washing machine; hand washing is such a time drain, not to mention certain death to my hand-modelling career.

In February, I am resolved to start taking a shopping trolley at the supermarket. This also ticks "be less frugal". Yes, it is daylight robbery at £1 for a shot on a trolley, but you get the pound coin back. Plus, think of the saved expense of all the broken eggs and leaky milk cartons accrued kicking a deadweight basket along the aisles.

March will see me take up jogging, just a fraction too late to run the Women's 10K in May. While it shows I'm making an effort, it relieves the pressure of actually proving my activities in public.

Another idea is to ask your nearest to write some resolutions for you. It is the surest way to sort the friendship wheat from the chaff. Should chums return with honest suggestions that offend you ("Please be on time. Just once. Just to see how it feels."), then you know you're on to a winner. You want friendships to act as mirrors offering honest reflections, not refractions of truth like light through water.

Hearing your favourite people enunciate your flaws is the dynamite needed to truly achieve a resolution.

My friends suggest for me the following: Only eat ice cream on Tuesdays. Cycle to work. Be more selfish. Say no, sometimes. Leave some crisps for the rest of us at Movie Night.

From these, I could take myself to be a greedy doormat. Instead, I will weave them into resolutions April to December and be a model human come next Christmas.

Easy. With the right resolve, anything's possible. Just about.

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