The few remaining hours before the end of the year are looming for many of us, and aside from working out exactly what basement bar you'll be fighting for air in at midnight, you have to also work out what your resolutions may be for the year ahead. For some reason, the typical ideas of 'giving up base-jumping' or 'not hugging sharks' that suffice for occasions such as Lent won't suffice.
A new year means a new you – or if last year was anything to go by, it may mean a same you and a new hangover followed by the potential of new clothes. Every year, we make totally unrealistic resolutions that only succeed in making us feel disappointed that once again we have not set up a new business, written a novel or lost 90% of our body weight.
Judging by Google's findings of what people have searched in the last week, we are all looking to better ourselves once more, with fellow resolutionists searching for tips on how to get rid of stress, how to write a resignation letter and how to crochet a beanie. Break it down, though, and you are left with the exact same ideas: be happier, lose weight and start a new business. Granted, not everyone wanting to crochet beanies is going to go throw themselves into a full-scale business, but the sentiments are similar.
With this in mind, we have decided to scrap the resolutions that are annually made in favour of realistic goals that everyone can achieve.
Old resolution: Must lose weight, drop two sizes
New resolution: Don't eat less – eat better
You will never never keep up with a diet that is totally different to the one you already have. Instead, try changing some of the aspects of how you eat: if you eat out every night at the moment, try and cook two meals a week at home. This way, you know exactly what is going in your food. Instead of trying to give up certain foods completely, why not try having one or two days a week without them? One day a week with no meat, one lunch without bread, and so on. Oh, and don't do juice cleanses, as they don't work for all and you will bore everyone else to death.
Old Resolution: Join the gym as "the money I pay will make me go"
New Resolution: Do not join a gym
Obviously you can, but DO NOT join a gym on 1 January only to never set foot in the place after February. It is a known fact that most regular goers forgo their usual routines in January as the gym is full, only to resume once more a month later when it empties out again. If you're not a gym person, do not join. Instead, find a weekly class you like that is pay-as-you-go and treat that like you're gym – no fuss, no wasted monthly fee. Also, try and walk part of your commute at least once a week. If the whole journey takes less than an hour-and-a-half, try and do the whole thing, if you can run, try and jog this every two weeks. You will notice a difference very quickly.
Old Resolution: Learn a new skill
New Resolution: Remember old skills you once had
Instead of a half-hearted attempt at Spanish or basket weaving, try and reclaim an old skill you once had. Write a letter to someone by hand (yes, they still exist) or spend a whole evening without looking at your phone and have a straight-forward conversation, or perhaps just try one dinner without checking texts and emails. These small changes might seem ridiculous, but at least they're manageable, and may be more challenging than you think.
Old Resolution: See the world
New Resolution: Plan short breaks, often
Often, plans to travel more are thwarted by being overwhelmed by your own great expectations. Try booking cheap flights to places you have never been, if you do this a few months in advance, you always have something to look forward to and you can still save money for a big trip if you want to, but without feeling like you haven't been anywhere.
Old Resolution: Find 'The One' and marry them
New Resolution: Go home – you're drunk
This is one of those ridiculous pressure-laden goals people set for themselves at the beginning of the year after way too much gin, and it will get you nowhere. If this is the statement that is going to be on your online dating profile, you need to stop. Never set a goal to get married if you're single or otherwise, unless you are making that decision with a partner.
If you're starting the year single, amazing: make a resolution to actually chat to people when you're out and not just your friends, find another single person to wingman you, and be open to meeting people without the pressure of 'having to find someone'. That way, the year will be far more fun.
If you're in a relationship and desperate to get engaged, make a resolution to discuss marriage, not just to 'get married'. You have to start somewhere, after all.
Finally, to satisfy the millions of people searching how to cook the healthfood they will eat for a week-and-a-half before giving up, here are some great ways to eat the greens you are ferociously Googling:
How to steam broccoli: Don't steam – simply break the florets up and add to a hot wok with some coconut oil, soy, finely chopped chilli and water, cook for around two minutes and serve. They will be crunchy and flavour-rich as well as steamed, for the added cholesterol lowering benefits without tasting sad.
How to cook lentils: these pulses are the perfect for thickening homemade soups, but a wonderfully quick and easy way to cook them is to make dahl, a really simple Indian side dish that is low in saturated fat, delicious and really filling. You can find a great recipe here.
How to cook cabbage: shred half a red cabbage, half a green cabbage, add one finely sliced, deseeded green chilli, the juice of a lime, a dash of red wine vinegar and some coriander and toss together, and you have an incredible fresh, raw salad that tastes amazing.