IT COMES around every year, it makes us take a long hard look at our life but seldom does it stick around - yes, it’s the New Year’s resolution. At the start of this New Year, The Star looks at Sheffield’s approach to resolution-making.
WHAT’S your New Year’s resolution this year? Is it to stop smoking? Lose weight? Save money?
These are the common wishes of most of us. But how many of us actually stick to our resolutions and why do we make them in the first place?
Andrew Leigh, 57. from Killamarsh, has been advising people about how to change their lives for more than 10 years and says that January is his busiest for business.
“I am my busiest in the first week in January - it’s at this time that people want to change their lives,” he says. “But really, my views on New Year resolutions are controversial - I think it’s best not to make resolutions at all because they don’t work. They are just statements of intent.”
So, according to Andrew, the key to making something happen is not to make a resolution but to have a plan.
He says: “If you want to lose weight you have to first ask yourself how much weight to you want to lose and by when? Then you have to look at how you are going to do it.”
Andrew, a former English lecturer at Barnsley College, says sticking to one or two resolutions is better than making several. “Some people make six, seven or even eight resolutions, but that’s too many,” he says. “It’s best to focus on one and perhaps move onto another one in another month.”
And while some resolutions will stray into wacky territory, with wishes to go bungee jumping or sky-diving, most of us stick to the Holy Trinity: saving cash, stopping smoking or getting fitter.
Even Clinton Woods, former world champion light heavyweight boxer and gym trainer, says he wants to get fit for his New Year’s resolution.
“I want to get fit again,” says the sports star. “Over the last three to five weeks, particularly with Christmas, while I have been training other people I have not been doing so much myself. Another one is to take the wife out a bit more often.”
Temporary Chief Constable Bob Dyson, of South Yorkshire Police, says: “My New Year’s resolution is to get a bit fitter and to find a new hobby.
“My thoughts for 2012 are that by the end of the financial year I would like to see a reduction in crime, to ensure the Olympic torch passes through the region safely and for the force to play it’s part nationally in the Olympic celebrations.”
Mr Dyson’s predecessor, former chief constable Med Hughes, who retired in October after seven years at the helm, also says he wants to get fitter and healthier in the new year.
“My resolution is to lose the weight that civic dinners have put on me over the years,” he says. “And to climb more mountains.”
BBC Radio Sheffield presenter and comedian Toby Foster has no intentions of mountain climbing for his resolution, but vows to ‘drink less’ and stop smoking.
“I am going to try to stop smoking and drink less in the New Year,” he says.
“I haven’t drank for about three weeks, because I’ve been working so much, but I have to say I do really enjoy drinking and I have missed it.”
“I’ve never made any particularly weird resolutions, but there was one year when I said I’d visit 10 countries that year and it happened to be the only year where I never left the country!”
And if resolutions are not about self-improvement, they are sometimes used as career targets, such as with Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East.
He says: “Apart from urging Wednesday to stop conceding last-minute goals, which is becoming an unfortunate habit, I want to work harder to try to create jobs for people within my constituency. This New Year will be a grim one for many families.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group on Sheffield Council, says: “On a political level, I want to be as honest as possible with the public - we need to tell people the bad news as well as the good.”
Coun Jillian Creasy, Green Party member for the council’s central ward, wants to eat less meat, though not giving it up entirely.
“Eating meat contributes to your carbon footprint,” she says. “Meat production is inefficient, because you have to give an animal much more food than it produces and cows produce methane.
“Reducing the amount of meat you eat has the same impact on the environment as using your car less. On a political level, I want to focus on making sure we protect the most vulnerable people when the council makes cuts.”
And then there are others, who, perhaps from experience, are rather ‘Bah Humbug’ about the New Year resolution, such as former Sheffield Lord Mayor and shadow home secretary Lord Roy Hattersley.
The 79-year-old says: “I am certainly making no New Year’s resolution. Christmas Eve I completed three alcohol free weeks and thereby used up all the willpower I shall have at my disposal for the next year.”
Xox pop - What’s your resolution this year?
Retired Catherine Wilson, 68, a mother-of-two from Woodseats
“I think I would like to curb my talking. I enjoy chatting to people but I do sorry that I’ll hold them up. Everybody’s in a rush these days. But I do love chatting, so my resolution is to carry on talking but curb it at the same time.”
Father-of-two Mark Hopkinson, 41, a road worker from Arbourthorne
“I want to drink less and lose weight this next year and try and be a bit healthier.”
Self-employed chiropodist Wendy Hopkinson, 34, a mother-of-two from Arbourthorne
“I want to lose weight but not straight away by doing anything drastic, I want to do it steadily, that way I think I’m less likely to break it.”
Nineteen-year-old Gabi Leigh, who works at Morrisons and Screw Fit, from Woodhouse
“I don’t make any resolutions. I don’t drink much really so I don’t have to cut down on that. I suppose I could be better at saving money.”
Unemployed Paul O’Brien, 27, from Woodhouse
“I don’t see why you should make resolutions. It’s irrelevant when you make them - especially if you’re not going to stick to them anyway. If I was going to make one is it to get a job though.”