Ringing the changes

MOST people's New Year's resolutions dissolve quicker than an Alka-Seltzer on January 1 so by this late stage I doubt many haven't been broken.

This time round I didn't bother making any, or at least I didn't commit any to paper.

Obviously, like almost every woman and many chaps, I made a mental note that this year I would actually use the machines at the gym – not just the sauna – and try harder not to spend more than I earn.

They don't really count as resolu-tions as they have become more of an eternal quest over the past few years – about as likely to end in success as the cabbage soup diet.

This year I figured, why bother setting yourself up to fail again?

So far, so guilt-free.

Then, suddenly my diary fell open and threw a spanner in the works.

There, sandwiched between the names and addresses section and metric conversions was an evil page screaming out "change your life".

In the top left-hand corner, in bold type, was the heading New Year Resolutions.

Below that, the sentence: "I am setting the following goals for me to achieve in 2008 and I commit myself to make them happen."

A blank page beneath it would have been intimidating enough – all that space to fill.

But it was worse.

It was divided into 10 sections: physical; mental; self-development; money; career; family; social; spiritual; emotional and property.

Surely no-one wants to change that many things about their life.

And if they do, they probably need therapy more than they need a diary.

With 10 categories to work towards I can see why you'd need a list, you wouldn't be able to remember them all otherwise.

But there's enough room to write four resolutions under each heading, if you can come up with that many.

And the madness doesn't stop there.

Each line has a little box at the end, in a column labelled "priority".

Presumably Mr Diary Designer either expects us to rank our resolutions from one to 10, or one to 40 if you're desperate to change absolutely everything.

(It had to have been designed by a man; no woman would suggest such a hard-headed approach to self-help.)

Or maybe he hoped we would rank the aims in each section from one to four, then draw a graph to chart our progress.

I think Mr DD could have a serious case of OCD and one of his many resolutions should be to stop having such a rigid approach to life.

I'm sure he thought he was doing us a favour by inserting his handy little reminder right at the front of the book so that not a day would go by without seeing those nigh-impossible goals we set in that idealistic moment at the start of the year.

There's no chance of forgetting them – but it rams it down your throat a bit. I mean most people want to improve their money situation, lose the flab, maybe move house and start a family – but are there really many of us with spiritual, mental and emotional ambitions so pressing they need to be written in black and white and carried around at all times?

Should I pledge to worship at temples other than Topshop? Ought I to spend less time meditating on the pros and cons of Botox?

I trawled the internet in search of spiritual enlightenment but didn't much fancy the suggested New Year's resolutions of daily prayers, making my own prayer beads or following the church calendar.

Fortunately I did find one spiritual resolution I'm happy to "commit myself to make it happen".

It is this little gem: "Practice the Sabbath – stop doing chores and work for one day a week and let yourself unwind."

I don't know what unrealistic goals you chose to set yourself but I reckon this is one I could keep up all year.

Maybe that diary designer had the right idea after all.

So farewell then, Ben...

FOR anyone who read this column the other week you will know Ben, our 17-year-old schnauzer, was not long for this world.

Thankfully we were spared the agony of watching the vet put him to sleep as he passed away peacefully in his bed the night before the dreaded deed was due to happen.

And thanks to the weird and wonderful world in which we live you no longer have to bury your pet in the garden or ask the vet to dispose of the body.

These days you can take your beloved companion to a pet crematorium for a more dignified send-off.

If you think that's a bit odd, how about the owners who have the animal's ashes turned into "memorial glass"?

We're not quite that mental.

I think we're going for the more "traditional" option of scattering them in his favourite walkies spots.

Very stylish investment

I'VE made a giant sartorial breakthrough already this year.

Instead of hitting Primark and buying two 8 dresses for a fiver, or scouring the rails at H&M to get 10 off a 25 top, I decided to make a more grown-up, long-term investment.

The "70 per cent off" sign in the window of Whistles lured me in like a moth to a perfectly-tailored flame.

There I found myself two beautiful dresses and spent just 95 on clobber that would have cost me 245 pre-sales.

That's what I call a bargain.

So why is it so hard for men to appreciate that it's the 150 saved that's most important, not the 95 spent?

I guess they just don't understand the unwritten rules of sales shopping like us girls.

Jeremy Corbyn

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