Time to get real about resolutions at New Year

NEW YEAR, New You.

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Drinking and smoking are top of our list of resolutions
Drinking and smoking are top of our list of resolutions

It's time for the annual resolutions that go in one year and out the other.

This time last December, some surveys were claiming that three-quarters of Britons would scrap "old fashioned" targets relating to smoking, alcohol and exercise.

The top resolutions for 2013, driven supposedly by new technology and healthier lifestyles, were about reading more books and saving money. Well, did you?

Don't make me laugh. One year on, it's debatable which suffers most ill health among Glaswegians - their bank balance or a lifestyle that still includes too much booze, too many fags, and hardly any exercise.

Drinking less and quitting smoking were said to rank only 22nd and 26th in the most popular resolutions for 2013. Losing weight was supposedly relegated from its perennial top spot to No3, but that surely wasn't the case among Scots - and won't be this year, either.

With only Americans ahead of Scots in the world obesity league, size remains a distinctly weighty problem. Will it improve in 2014? Don't hold your stomach in.

Next week will no doubt see the annual pilgrimage to gyms, with Christmas cut-price membership deals having tempted a new crop of the unfit to their door.

They will quickly encounter a flaw in their plan: that to achieve any weight reduction or develop that six-pack they will actually have to attend the gym.

In the absence of a time machine to turn back the clock, suffering on shiny machines will soon lose its dubious appeal.

January 17 is apparently the most popular date to abandon resolutions. Now, that's what you call staying power.

How many of you have a to-do list for the first week in January? How many have neglected to plan anything for week two?

It's hard enough at the best of times trying to change your life, but winter in Glasgow, the darkest and most depressing season of the year, is hardly conducive to depriving ourselves of life's little comforts.

It would help considerably if we set real and achievable goals. Forget vowing to lose three stone, for instance.

How about trying for a more modest and therefore sustainable one pound per week? Is that not more realistic than going cold turkey?

And it would be a good idea to share your goals with friends and family. There's nothing like peer pressure - and the risk of ridicule - to keep you on the straight and narrow-waisted.

Of course, 2014 is already guaranteed to be a momentous year in Scotland, and not just because Nancy and me will celebrate our 40th anniversary. (Now there's a lassie with staying power.)

No, an even older union will dominate our lives next year.

Any other wee country would feel challenged on being asked to host the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in the same year.

Not the Scots.

We are compelled to shoehorn in the small matter of the most important vote in our nation's history.

On September 18, 2014, we will be asked: Should Scotland be an independent country?

With Devomax not on the table - yet - I'm still swithering, but I confidently predict that the stultifying negativity and scaremongering will continue, whatever the outcome.

Meantime, price hikes, and not only for energy, will see the cost of living continue to rise three times as fast as earnings and capped benefits.

The Trussell Trust charity predicts up to one million Britons will turn to food banks next year. Business secretary Vince Cable accuses them of scaremongering (well, he should know), ignoring his own Coalition's figures of 13 million Britons living in poverty today.

Will I be making any resolutions? I'll need to ask Nancy. Maybe I'll vow to empty the garage, which has not held a car in 30 years, or put away the tree lights in such a fashion that I won't have to endure my annual two-hour fankle next Christmas.

On my wish list are a Dear Green Place without Deep Dark Potholes, and a George Square that is, if not a rival to the great city plazas of the world, at least not a tacky embarrassment.

I wish judgment day for dodgy bankers, City fat cats and tax dodgers, and that disgusting breed of dog-owner who refuses to clean up after their pets or who dump poo bags in the street.

I'd like action on cold-callers, litter and chewing gum and internet trolls; help for our overworked and understaffed NHS; the retention of corroboration in our criminal justice system; and a bloody nose for the Tories from Ukip in the May Euro elections.

And so much more, had space permitted.

Meantime, to you and yours, may all your troubles last as long as your average Weegie's New Year resolutions.


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