Number 6: Have an adventure (no matter how small) / Design Pics Inc/REX Shutterstock

2016 is the year to set realistic goals

Well then, what’s it going to be? Are you going to lose a stone, kick the cigs or, as you awake groggy on 1 January, swear that you’re NEVER DRINKING AGAIN? While we might all have the best intentions, only 8 per cent of us will actually stick to our New Year's resolutions, according to a US study.

High on the agenda this year, as well as the usual vices, are pledges to embark on a "digital detox" - cutting back on the time tethered to a smartphone - and to use less text speak. A survey of 2,000 people by Thomas Cook also found that our self-improvement wishlist also includes reading more, starting a hobby, cooking from scratch, volunteering, and saving money.

But how realistic are our great plans? Here are 10 resolutions that might just be possible. 

Get out of breath every day

That 5km run you planned to do before work every morning is a bit tougher to do when it’s pouring with rain/the kids have the flu/oh look, there’s a stain on the carpet that immediately needs tackling. Instead, resolve to get out of breath every day. 

Walk up the escalators, get off the bus a stop early, park at the other end of the car park, walk the dog, dance around the kitchen, whatever. Who needs power pump classes?

Take a time out

2015 was the year of mindfulness, when everyone who was anyone seemed to be heading for the nearest mountaintop. Too busy to sit cross-legged for what feels like hours?

Even a moment here and there can be beneficial, says Tessa Watt, author of Mindful London.

Use a commonly annoying noise like a siren or alarm to bring you back to the present, take a breath and assess how you are feeling.

Or apps like Headspace, Buddify and Digipill help you to take short breaks from the day, even if you only have 10 minutes.

Embrace the JOMO

You’ve heard of FOMO, right? The fear of missing out? But think about the joy of curling up in front of the telly on a Friday evening with a cuppa and a Twix while everyone else is muttering about their heels and paying through the nose for a gin and tonic.

Make the experience even more joyful by cancelling all your plans early, instead of flaking out at the last minute. 

Switch off

The notion of a digital detox will make most smartphone users’ palms start to sweat.

For me, a day without a smartphone would probably result in miffed friends, bitten nails and ending up on the wrong bus. 

But baby steps can help. Leave your phone downstairs when you go to bed - or at the very least put it on airplane mode.

Or download the app Anti-Social - it blocks the sites most likely to distract you for set periods of time.

Think of how productive you’ll be without all that procrastinating.


Do you suffer from BRF (bitchy resting face)? According to studies, cracking a smile, even if you don’t feel like it, can help to alleviate stress, boost your immune system and even trigger the release of mood-boosting endorphins.

Plus it’s infectious - if you smile at someone and they smile back, it will lift both your moods. Just don’t grin too inanely at your fellow passengers on the commute.

Have an adventure (no matter how small)

Yeah, yeah, we’d all like to be canoeing down the Amazon sometimes, and wading through paperwork is less than adventurous. But little variations from the norm can work wonders.

Cook something completely outside your comfort zone for dinner. Get tickets to a play you’d never normally watch. Or try your hand at trapeze/dance/open mike night. Then remember how much you hate all those things and return to your regular life with satisfaction.

Fix that niggle

Is there anything that’s been preying on your mind - you know, that thing that keeps you awake at 3am? There is no greater satisfaction than sorting a little thing that has grown much greater in your head. Whether it’s getting a mole checked or sorting out the chaos under your bed, just pick a day, and DO IT.

Take stock

Hypnotherapist Chloe Brotheridge recommends having an end-of-year stock-take to assess your year and your goals.

"When we get clear on what we want and create a plan - we're so much more likely to be able to create that for ourselves than if we just begin the year with no plan, or half-hearted New Year’s resolutions," she says. Her worksheet can be downloaded by clicking here.

Pick progress over perfection 

No. You will NOT look like a Victoria’s Secret model by this time next year. If you aim for some vague, unattainable notion, no wonder you’ll struggle to hit your goals. Why not instead say, "I want to lose half a stone by this time next month - and here’s how I plan to do it."

Pledge to stop making New Year resolutions

Perhaps the greatest stresses and pressures in life come from within. A US study of obese people who began dieting found that 48 per cent became preoccupied with food, 44 per cent suffered increased anxiety, and 27 per cent were more depressed.

So maybe make this the year where you quit the self loathing and embrace that extra half stone/scatty (but loveable) personality/amazing Candy Crush capabilities.

You might just be happier in the long term.