People are asking me the old chestnut, what are your new year resolutions?
I try not to set the bar too high when it comes to resolutions. Therefore, I only allow one simple resolution and consign everything else as intentions. It's a non-pressure system that works beautifully by not putting pressure on you, the resolver.
Intentions, aspirations, ambitions, whatever you want to call them, have no set timescale - and if they don't happen, one may be bumped up to resolution status if you're bothered enough by not getting round to it this year.
As an indender, I am free to intend in my own time, which may or may not come to pass within 365 days - no deadline by which guilt will be inflicted if the intention has not come to pass, with the additional knowledge that I am capable of dealing with one set resolution, and in that rests hope.
And this year hope will be fostered in the bountiful form of cheese straws. Yep. Cheese straws. My one resolution for this year is to learn how to make cheese straws. Because cheese straws are something to aspire to. They seem relatively simple to do, and well, they're nice, aren't they? Cheese straws may play no profound part in my life or the workings of the universe, but they will surely grease the wheels by making people who are presented with them happy in some small degree. And if that isn't hope, what is?
There's no sugar in 'em either, and this year one of my lesser aspirations is to cut down on sugar. Not completely, obviously, because biscuits generally contain sugar and a world without biscuits is unthinkable, more so than a world without cheese - it's just that biscuits will not be my main focus this year because I intend to shed a teensy bit of weight. Intend, though. D'you see what I'm doing here? No pressure. More haste, less speed, an' all that.
Other intentions are as follows; go out of the house to do something nice at least once a week even if unwell, travel to London and see more exhibitions, get out of the habit of saying "Excellent!" to everything all the time, open and file my bank statements in a timely manner, contact people more often and generally be more sociable, buy more clothes that actually match my disproportionate shoe collection, experiment more with hair dye, nail my Access to Work application and actually start a big art project I have been dreaming of for the past couple of years.
All scary stuff, of course.
Last year my resolution was to moisturise my neck. I got the idea after seeing a program about Margaret Thatcher having a portrait painted. I'm not, nor was ever a Thatcherite, but when Maggie turned round and said "One of my few regrets is not moisturising my neck, look how wrinkly it is in the portrait" I thought, hmm, that'll do, I'll have a crack at that... One year on, thanks to the former Tory prime minister, I'm still moisturising.
So, with a smooth neck - and cheese straws - under my belt, surely nothing will seem impossible in the coming year? Nothing!
Happy New year everybody.