New Year's Resolutions of the great and the good revealed

Sir Tom HunterEntrepreneurWork hard, play hard and give something back, but this time not to the banks.

Ian McLauchlan

SRU President

I used to say, to stop fighting on the rugby field, but I never kept it, so what I wish for now is Scotland beating England twice in one year for the first time since I played in 1971, in the Six Nations and the World Cup. But that is going to need help from others.

Richard Wiseman

Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire

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My resolution is to prevent as many people as possible from achieving their resolutions. So, for example, a good friend of mine is trying to lose weight and I have just sent her a large cake as a gift. Another friend has said that he is going to go to the gym each day, and so I have stolen his training shoes. It is great because you then get to revel in someone else's failure, and also help provide much-needed work for psychotherapists. For me, it is a win win situation.

David Shrigley


If a resolution is worth making then I suppose it should be done immediately, regardless of the date. I seem to remember that I made a resolution last year to be more healthy after a particularly debauched Burns supper, having spent the evening sitting next to someone whose fitness (and moderation) put me to shame. Also, I seem to remember when I quit smoking about ten years ago it was in the summertime; it would have seemed ridiculous to wait until the New Year. New Year's Day is a bad time to start any kind of resolution, since one's resolve is usually compromised by being hung over.

John Byrne

artist and writer

I have two resolutions. I've started the first one already because I reckon as soon as you make a resolution you should start keeping it. I don't mess around. So the first is not to be so disparaging about contemporary art.

I'm just sick of banging on about it and being a total bore about it. I always go on about how people can't draw to save their lives. And the second resolution comes with the first. It's to be a benevolent face in 2011. I could definitely do more of that. Do more and do it better. In fact, that's it. My resolutions are more and better.


DJ and "Fleshcreep" in Jack and the Beanstalk at The King's, EDINBURGH

I always aspire to maintain the weight loss I manage to achieve during panto season. I could spend all year eating Chinese food and drinking white wine and it gets to November and I start my regime of running around in my leathers of villainy for seven weeks.

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Trust me, if you do that twice a day for nearly two months, it's amazing the pounds you lose. I usually get to my ideal fighting weight by the end of January and I always vow to try and maintain that but inevitably slip into bad habits. I also always promise my accountant that I will get my finances properly organised so that this will be the year I get everything done and don't rush to him in the middle of January with a shoebox full of papers so that he can sort out my tax.

Those are the two big ones I go for and although I never really see them through I still think it's a good thing to do. It's a chance to take a wee look at your life and have a think about how you can improve it or do something better.

Vicky Featherstone

artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland

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Watch all The Wire, empty my inbox every day but not by deleting everything. Not fall asleep on the sofa at 9pm. Drink less cheap wine.

Drink more expensive wine. Learn piano. Get more five-star reviews. Not be such a slave to the star reviewing system. Eat more fruit. Walk to work. Swim the channel. Finish the pile of books by my bed. Stop buying books I don't have time to read. Get everyone in Scotland who has never been to the theatre to come to the theatre. Get everyone in Scotland who has been to the theatre to come again and bring a friend. Stop agreeing to do these kind of lists at short notice – it seems to throw up a whole world of contradictions.

John Burnside

Poet and novelist

I have made one resolution this year. To enjoy life more. I feel as though something has crept up on us, we are always busy and preoccupied and burdened down with stuff. My theory is that if I do keep that resolution to enjoy life more I will actually lose weight and get more healthy and eat less and drink less.

Those mostly seem to be compensatory activities for being bored from what you've done, or exhausted by the day and thinking about what you have got to do still.



In my experience the resolutions that don't work are the ones which attempt to change the fundamental nature of a person overnight. I hate exercise so why should I suddenly decide to become a gym bunny? I love drinking so why should I suddenly become a paragon of virtue because a new year has started? At the age of 36 I can honestly say I have never ever stuck to a New Year's resolution that involved changing something about me.

I still drink, I still bite my nails, I can still eat an M&S tub of ready-whipped cream in under a minute and I still refuse to join any friends who do any activities on a Sunday morning that involve the words "walking", "running" or "climbing". If you didn't want to do it in November you won't want to do it in February. For a month you will be walking on air as you suddenly become the person you always wanted.

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Then the person you always were will sneak in, batter the "new you" over the head and your gym kit will remain under your desk at work until New Year's Day 2011 when it starts all over again. Don't do it to yourself. Don't decide to "change". I don't want to change. I think I'm ok, which is why my New Year's resolution is always the same: just do what I did last year but muck it up less. Easy, and not a gym membership in sight.



New Year's resolutions are tradition and traditionally mine are to lose weight and join a gym, but this year I'm not doing that. I've realised that it's a waste of a good resolution because I know I'm always going to break them. In the past I've always had a whole clutch of them and the only one I've ever stuck to is to stop smoking.

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It's not really a good ratio of success. So this year my resolution is to live each day as if it's my last because one of these days I'm going to be right. And let's be honest, there are days during the year when you really just can't be bothered, but in 2011 it's going to be about just getting up and getting on with it. I'm fed up of all this doom and gloom and I'm just going to rise above it.

George McNeill

Former world sprint champion, now after-dinner speaker.

To lower my golf handicap. It's 14 at the moment and it would be nice to get it down to single figures, although at Archerfield where I play that could be quite tough. Then, later in the year, my resolution is to go and see – and speak at – the Melbourne Cup horse race in Australia. It's one of the great events in Australian sport. I've already spoken at the Stawell Gift race, which I won, and at the Australian rules Grand Final, so doing the Melbourne Cup would complete the hat-trick.

Ed Monaghan

managing director, housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel

This year's New Year's resolutions are split in two, very much like how I see the year panning out. In the first half of the year I intend to remain positive and upbeat at a time when the economic news is not likely to be good. The second half of the year will see a slightly improved trading position, with my second resolution being: be bold when the data says be cautious. Oh yes, and running that marathon I didn't get to last year.

Gavin Brown

Conservative Lothians MSP

Middle age is catching up on me and my resolution is to lose ten kilos over the course of the year. I used to run to work quite bit, but that's dropped off so I want to run to work and home twice a week. It's five miles from where I live in Edinburgh to the Parliament. The run in isn't too bad, because its mainly downhill, but the run home is all uphill. I used to do it quite a lot when I was training for the Edinburgh marathon, but in the last six or seven months I've piled on the pounds, so I've decided to do it twice a week. I'd say my "fighting weight" would be about 80 kilos and I'm currently about 90 kilos. Diet is something I will look at as well, although I find it easier to exercise than cut down on food.

Tommy Sheppard,

director of The Stand Comedy Club and the Glasgow Comedy Festival

xI'm on the detox from 1 January. I'll be giving up everything – no alcohol, low carb diet. And I'm going to try to get fit. I was thinking of doing the 5k run on 8 January – but I haven't run for so long I might have to give it a miss. But I'm going to start training again.

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I always give up the drink for at least two months a year – just to prove I'm not an alcoholic. If you are a social drinker and you work in this industry it's sometimes hard to know where to draw the line.

I'll do the GI diet – high protein and low carb. I always feel so much better when I do it. A couple of weeks in you begin to feel really good – you sleep better – and then for some reason you stop being good and it starts all over again.

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Maybe eventually I'll manage to do it in a way that's sustainable throughout the year – but it is better to be good for two months than not to do it at all.


I have been emptying packages and I have decided I must try to be more green this year – to make a real effort to recycle. I also have to catch up with writing – to write back to all the people who have been in touch with me – particularly over Christmas. This year I hope to begin some serious writing.

I would like to write a book which would raise money towards Alzheimer Scotland. We have raised 22,000 so far, which means we have got about one and a half million to go – the idea is to raise enough money to pay for a specially trained dementia nurse for every health authority in Scotland. My biggest goal this year is to really make a difference for people in Scotland who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Craig Brown

Aberdeen manager

I am not really one for resolutions because I think they are a bit like superstitions and I have never really been one for them, either. I'm not one of those people who stops to take stock just because it is the turn of the year and suddenly thinks I'm going to stop smoking, or makes some other dramatic change.

I suppose my only resolution is to make Pittodrie a proud place again for the Aberdeen fans. We want to be successful and, to be honest, if 2011 is as enjoyable or as successful as 2010 then I won't complain. As a "recycled teenager" I'm proud of every year I now get the opportunity to work at this level in football and my resolution every day, not just at New Year, is to make the most of that.

Mark Cousins

filmmaker and author

I've got two New Year's resolutions. The first is to get a window cleaner. The second is to read Plutarch. My windows have been minging all year and it's been horrible. I want to read Plutarch because I've been reading Montaigne and in his essays he goes on and on about Plutarch as the greatest classical writer. I spent a lot of 2010 sitting on the cheap seats in aeroplanes making a world history of cinema that will be shown on More4 next summer over 12 weeks.

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It's taken me more than three years to make, starting in Japan and working westwards. I'm pretty knackered. So in 2011 I want to travel less and spend more time in Edinburgh, looking through my clean windows and reading Plutarch.