Happy New Year, you filthy animals! Welcome to 2024 and whatever it might hold.

Since, in our house, 2023 brought serious illness, four house moves, one abandoned house purchase, a disastrous boat experiment, two lost jobs and, last but not least, three beloved relatives passing away, it will not surprise you to hear that I was more than happy to set fire to that metaphorical wheelie bin on New Year's Eve. I sent 2023 off with a champagne toast, a two-fingered salute and a cheer of “thank bloody God” but with more swearing.

It’s not just the last year I’m glad to see the back of, I also particularly enjoy these early days of the new year that feel pregnant with opportunity. The pressure of Christmas is finally over, we’re left idly picking over last year’s events and the leftover Quality Street and anything still feels possible.

Join me for a game of New Year Bingo. In 2024 I will be fitter and finally get back into running/hot yoga/cross training. I will cook from scratch every night. I’ll reply to emails the minute I get them. I’ll stop running perpetually ten minutes late. I won’t look like I chose my outfit from my bedroom floor (because I did), instead I’ll wear classic tailoring and crisp white shirts. I’ll finally read Proust instead of just quoting the Madeline bit. Bingo!

Except, when you write it all down, it all seems, well, like a lot of joyless effort, doesn’t it? My lifestyle, my habits, my personality don’t change overnight just because the clocks ticked forward. Now I’ve learned to enjoy these first weeks of the year by not setting any unrealistic expectations for myself.

In fact, I decrease my expectations of what I’ll do. I won't be doing dry January (I’m already practically tee-total but it’s the principle, in fact I may have an occasional drink for the sake of it), or starting a new fitness regime. I won't be cracking down on budgeting – Christmas spending will do that for me. No multi-step skincare routine will be instigated – if I do fall asleep in my make-up, I’m simply going to appreciate how good my eyeliner still looks in the morning.

Essentially, my New Year's resolution for January is to get through January. Because as much as I enjoy the start of a new advent, January is inarguably the coldest, skintest month, topped only by, actually inarguably, February, which is, of course, even bleaker.

Read more: Kerry Hudson: Pamela Anderson has inspired me to ditch make-up - what about you?

Instead, I'm going to be good to myself. I'm going to keep munching through the Christmas chocolate until there’s only Strawberry Creams left. I'm going to have a wee shop in the sales, and not for a timeless classic, in good fabric that will last me for years, not an “investment piece”. I’m going to buy some Pat Butcher multicoloured chandelier earrings and a massive bright jumper that will make me look like a Teletubby has rioted in a wool shop.

I'm going to join a socialist choir and bellow protest songs (off key, and I won’t care one bit) with the group of similarly angry, off-key, middle-aged ladies, likely wearing similarly ridiculous statement earrings and sweaters.

I'm going to get the banjo my husband bought for my birthday restrung and pick away at the chords enjoying myself just making a noise. And, vitally, at peace with the fact that I probably will never learn to play a single song on it.

This year I'm going to prioritise daytime naps. As a chronically ill person and a freelancer, daytime naps have always been a fairly important part of my day but I'm really going to do them this year, you know? In nice pyjamas and I’ll use pillow spray, I'm going to treat naps like the lovely duvet baths that they are.

Speaking of baths, I'll have more of those too, thank you. I'm going to read entirely for pleasure this year and if I do find myself unluckily reading a book that is worthy or zeitgeisty but which gives me no joy, I'm going to happily discard it halfway through. I will cook from scratch this year but only if it’s a ridiculous dinner my kid has requested or a cake I really want to eat.

If you think this list seems frivolous and hedonistic, I think you'd be right. But in 2022 I almost died, saved only by an emergency surgery that allowed me to breathe again. Last year I was bed-bound for months with an auto-immune condition that was only remedied by injecting myself weekly with hardcore medication I’ll be on for the rest of my life. If I've learned anything for the last few years, it’s that life is desperately short and we have to prioritise joy and pleasure.

Read more: Kerry Hudson: Why I’m logging off from social media

Ironically, I’ve found that from being nicer, more gentle with myself, that extra productivity, self-improvement and evolution sometimes does come. As though by removing the pressure from yourself, not constantly berating yourself and instead being grateful for all the things you are and what you're already doing, you find confidence and energy to tackle the things that feel less natural.

After the tinsel has come down and the last of the Christmas cake is eaten, all we're left with is our one “wild and precious life”. I’m going to make mine as happy as I can and, no, that probably doesn’t involve downward dog or Proust.