It's taken a little longer than I planned as I've been working through the 42 remaining boxes of Celebrations that I had in the cupboard. However I think the weight (not a mistake) has been worthwhile.
It has also been a little while since I posted a blog. So, dear readers (and that odd Taiwanese gentlemen who keeps arriving at my blog after googling leather trousers) I give you my top tips for 2014.
- Lay off the booze through January. It's great for your health and your pocket. This may be a little difficult if you are a parent of small children. However if you replace your crippling alcohol addiction with something much healthier and cheaper like knitting, sudoku or online pornography you'll feel much better for it.
- Get fit. Many of us resolve to get fit in the New Year. However getting fit is incredibly hard work, gym membership is expensive and it is difficult to watch your diet when you still have 4 Christmas puddings in the fridge. The answer is a focused period of civil disobedience. Don't sit in your chair moaning about the influx of Romanian pick pockets and the possible abolition of first class rail travel. Take to the streets with some home made weaponry. You'll be able to spend countless hours running from riot police snatch squads, dodging rubber bullets and smashing the window of your local Dixons. You'll lose weight, get fit, secure a new flat screen TV and most of all, have fun!
- Get a new job. The New Year is traditionally the time that people reflect on their careers and consider a change in vocation. They look at their lives and question whether their job is fulfilling and contributing to the progression of human kind. This year, sod the progression of human kind. Jack in your exceptionally rewarding and fulfilling job as a teacher, doctor or social worker and secure a role as a merchant banker, estate agent or lap dancer. You'll be just as miserable but you'll be able to fuel your holiday home in Cornwall by burning £20 notes.
- Learn a language. For decades we've been told that our lives are increasingly part of a global community. Primary school children everywhere are learning Mandarin in the hope that they can become collaborators when the Chinese decide to invade. However Mandarin is a complex language so if you are feeling a little overwhelmed start with something more achievable like American. On the face of it, and after watching any George W Bush press conference, you may think that speaking American is beyond your reach. Just start small. Begin with simple phrases like "can I get a latte please?". If the barista in your chosen coffee house responds with "yes of course, they are just in the machine over there, help yourself" you'll know that they are English speaking and confused by your new language skills. Replace the word "get" with "have" and they will understand your requirements. Don't be disheartened. Keep practicing.
- Give up smoking. Smoking is the single biggest killer in the UK, if you exclude sharks and tornados. Giving up will have incredible health benefits and save you a fortune. Of course giving up is not easy. However these days there is a solution. Using electronic cigarettes will give you your nicotine fix without having to smoke cigarettes filled with any number of toxic chemicals and poisons that could fell a race horse. Plus when you inevitably fall off the wagon and start buying Marlboros again you will still have your e cigarette kit allowing you to smoke inside and outside.
A new year is a time for reflection on the past and thoughts of the future. Use 2014 to be the best person you can be. That may still be a very shit person but it's all relative. If you can end 2014 not quite as good as Ghandi but slightly better than Hitler it's a step in the right direction.
Good luck and be well.