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New Years Resolutions Worth Making (For A Better Body, Mind and Life)

I'm sitting at the departure gates in Dublin, about to board my post Christmas return flight to Gatwick. Harried looking women are stuffing handbags into bigger bags under the jaded gaze of the Ryanair crew. Others simply stand in line, eyes flitting from their luggage to the metal cage it will need to fit into if they're to bring it on board. (Bring a rucksack folks, they never check it if it's on your back)

Nobody wants to be that person shoving boots and books and aftershave around in a futile effort to make their luggage lie down and behave, or literally airing their dirty linen in public as they cast about for items to jettison. I can't remember if it's libel or slander when it's the written word but here's one of them; Ryanair are bastards.

Two types of people get a Ryanair flight; those who queue and those who take a seat and stroll in at the end. I myself, generally a solo flyer and not labouring under the misapprehension that the front part of the plane will take off before the back, am of the latter camp. Hence this little list of resolutions worth making, composed pre flight while the others line up.

Resolutions for the body-

If you're embarking on a weight loss program, get help. Go it alone and you're likely to fail. Ideally, chat to somebody like me, but at the very least ask a friend who knows what they're doing to come to the gym with you.

Try Dryathlon- I've always been heartened by the fact that the liver is an incredibly robust organ, perfectly capable of total recovery after periods of mild abuse. A recent conversation with a client however, revealed that the same cannot be said of our brain cells. Unless you're a member of the British Nationalist Party you probably intend to use your brain this year, so give it a rest with a booze free January.

Resolutions for the mind -

Learn New Skills- If you've found yourself saying "I wish I knew how to X", more than once about the same skill, get your act together and start learning it. Skill acquisition provides the experience of being totally absorbed in a task and eventually the feeling of "flow", which is a huge element of leading a happy and less stressful life.

I'm taking my own advice and booking some private flamenco guitar lessons as soon as I land.

Read a book that intimidates you- I love a Lee Child page-turner as much as anyone, but actual literature, as in a book that rewards a bit of hard work and cognitive effort, is an excellent workout for the brain.

Over Christmas I read Flann O’Brien’s baffling but brilliant At Swim-Two-Birds, soon to be made into a movie starring seemingly every Irish actor currently breathing and walking upright; Fassbender, Farrell, Gleeson, the lot.

If you want a few other ideas for classic reads check out this piece I wrote for FHM

Resolutions for a better life

End hurtful relationships- Easier said than done but probably the most important thing you can do for your own mental health this year.

Travel more- I was hampered this year by my own procrastination and the vagaries of the labyrinthine Irish passport system, which meant I wasn't able to travel in the summer. January's task is to remedy that by getting some travel plans dotted about through the rest of the year.

Give- I mentioned this last time but it's a big one. As wooly and "karmic" as it sounds, research shows that giving makes us happy.

Buying lunch for someone makes us happier than having it bought for us.

Beyond the amount necessary for survival and a few modest luxuries, money does not make us happier unless we give a significant portion of it away.

So if you want to be happier start giving, not just at Christmas.

Happy New Year folks.

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