Famous Scots and their New Year’s resolutions

Lynsey Sharp says her New Year's resolutions are to continue to eat healthily and to not get stressed. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Lynsey Sharp says her New Year's resolutions are to continue to eat healthily and to not get stressed. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Share this article
Have your say

AS THE old year fades away and the bells of 2015 ring in, a host of famous Scots have spilt the beans on what their resolutions are for the coming year.

The Edinburgh ­author ALEXANDER ­MCCALL SMITH: “To finish reading Proust’s great novel and to answer every e-mail within two months of receipt.”

EILIDH CHILD, the 400 metre hurdler who was named Scottish athlete of the year in 2014 and won gold at the European Championships and silver at the Commonwealth Games: “I never really make resolutions, because I can’t stick to them. If I was forced, I know Brian [her fiancée] would like me to stop picking my nails. But I quite like picking my nails. It probably would be that, because I need to have nice nails for the wedding in October. Watch out now – I’ll be picking away at them before my first race!”


Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning

• You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

LYNSEY SHARP, the Edinburgh athlete who won silver medals in the 800 metres at both the Commonwealth Games and ­European Championships in 2014: “Last year I tried to eat healthier, which I’ve kept going this year. So I’d say one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to continue that. And probably to not get stressed about things, and to see the positive in things rather than getting worked up if they go wrong.”

Scottish Conservative leader RUTH DAVIDSON: “At least three of my New Year’s resolutions are the same every January – lose two stone, go to the gym more often and do a bit more home cooking. This year is no exception, but added to that I am going to take up a new sport. I don’t know what I’ll choose yet, it could be anything from martial arts to ballroom dancing, but I want to learn something new and get fitter at the same time. Politically, we have a knife-edge general election coming up in May. I don’t think anyone truly knows what’s going to happen either in Scotland or across the rest of the UK. My goal is to boost the Scottish Conservatives’ fortunes. It’s time to put the panda joke to rest.”

JIM MURPHY, leader of the Labour Party in Scotland: “Personally, it’s the same every year – to cut down on chocolate. Unfortunately, the end result is the same every year too. I’ll also try to find the time to put in the training for a couple of marathons this year. Politically, to make sure that Scotland plays our part in removing from Downing Street a prime minister with a Scottish-sounding surname who is out of touch with the land of his ancestors. “

First Minister NICOLA STURGEON: “My New Year’s resolution is really a very simple one. In my first year as First Minister, I’ll work as hard as I can to make Scotland a fairer country and a more equal society. The fact is that we live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet for thousands of people it just doesn’t feel like that. It’s a scandal that in a country with so much wealth, there is so much poverty. Food banks illustrate that – and the rising demand for them appals me. One of the most depressing developments of recent years has been the growth of in-work poverty. It’s truly shocking that a majority of children living in poverty are in households where at least one person is working. In 2015, myself and my Scottish Government colleagues will do everything we possibly can with the powers we have to tackle that.”

Secretary of State for Scotland, ALISTAIR CARMICHAEL: “2015 marks a new chapter in our lives and for Scotland too. Last year, the people of Scotland overwhelmingly voted to stay in our family of nations and the new year heralds an exciting time with more powers guaranteed on the way. For me politically, I will be overseeing the delivery of the Smith Commission proposals through the draft bill to be published later in January. There will be more powers over tax and the creation of a Scottish welfare state while votes for 16- and 17-year-olds will be fast-tracked in time for the Holyrood elections. On a personal level, my New Year’s resolutions are to eat more healthily, take more exercise, spend more time with my children and do more to avoid stress. If these sound vaguely familiar then it may be because they are same ones I made last year and, in fact, for several years before that. The lack of novelty and, for that matter, the likelihood of any of them lasting beyond the end of January makes them no less worthy.”

Chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service ALASDAIR HAY: “As chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, I’m always busy ensuring our service is focused on protecting the people of Scotland from fire and other emergencies. I like the New Year as there is a bit of a natural pause to consider what you’ve achieved and commit to new resolutions. This year I ran three half-marathons raising funds for the Fire Fighters Charity and our Family Support Trust. So staying fit and raising more for charity is definitely on the list as is losing weight. Not easy, but I work with some exceptionally fit firefighters so they’ll be my motivation! I think it’s good to visit new places and I want to go to Florence in Italy. I’m a great lover of all things from the Renaissance and I’m looking forward to celebrating my wife’s birthday there and seeing the great masterpieces by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.”

Chief Constable of Police Scotland SIR STEPHEN HOUSE: “My resolution for 2015 is to continue to lead this organisation in its purpose of keeping people safe, and in the year that will see Police Scotland mark its third anniversary. I’ve no doubt the year ahead will see policing become smarter and sharper, with communities across ­Scotland wanting to see ­policing become even more local. I agree. We will increase our focus on achieving this – through the prevention of crime where we can, and the tackling and detection of crime, when and where i
t happens. I would like to see 2015 as a year when everyone unites to work even harder on preventing injuries and loss of life on our road network, and strive towards making our roads safer. 2015 will also be a year of wider partnerships – with local communities, public sector colleagues, the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Government – all working together to ensure we are making communities in Scotland as safe as p­ossible.”

AMANDA MCMILLAN, managing director of Glasgow Airport: “I finished 2014 on a high after being appointed chief executive of the newly formed AGS Airports, which comprises Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports. I’m relishing the opportunity of working with the teams at each airport as we seek to secure even more routes and continue to grow passenger numbers. It’s clearly going to be a busy year and I’m determined not to lose my sense of fun along the way. It’s for that reason I’m going to take up tennis. Not only will it tick the health and fitness box, it will give me the opportunity to spend more time with my two children, Rory and Sophie. It may sound strange coming from someone who runs an airport but I also hope to do more travelling in 2015. Most of my time is spent trying to attract airlines as opposed to jetting off on holiday, so hopefully I will have the opportunity to take full advantage of some of the new routes we’ve landed.”

JANICE FORSYTH, radio presenter: “In 2015 I resolve to walk more; drink less; tidy up; boogie on down; feel the funk; sniff the zeitgeist; and stop getting moony about turning down George Clooney.”

KAREN KOREN, artistic director of the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh: “Every year I have the same resolutions that last exactly a day or so! The same old lose weight, eat healthily, cut down on the carbs, get fit. Have three drink free days a week or more. No cheese. Give up coffee. Write my book. Read more. Join the gym. Be nicer to people, smile and be happy. My commitment to becoming a better person is completely true at the time. Then someone asks me to go have a drink with them, or a meal out and my resolve is shattered by the need to have a good time. Let’s face it, we can’t live a good and happy life without being a little dissatisfied with our bodies or having a little of what we fancy, a glass of wine, a lovely piece of cheese and a laugh in good company. That is my resolution to enjoy 2015 as much as I possibly can, in this the Gilded Balloon’s 30th Anniversary.”

Principal of Edinburgh University PROFESSOR SIR ­TIMOTHY O’SHEA: “To walk between all meetings in a two-mile radius.”

IAIN VALENTINE, director of Giant Pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland: “My big New Year’s resolution remains as previous years. I want to do my utmost to help our female giant panda conceive and carry to full term. A cub from the genetic mix of Tian Tian and Yang Guang would be of huge significance to the global giant panda conservation effort; it is also important for Tian Tian biologically too. I want the scientists and conservationists at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, and our related partners in Scotland and around the world, to carry on with the research that is taking place here at Edinburgh Zoo. We believe we can make a difference and help to save this iconic species. As an aside, I also want one of my son’s first words to be ‘panda’!”

Director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland SIR JOHN LEIGHTON: “In my professional life, ensuring the National Galleries of Scotland is engaging digital technology at full pace, making the national collections more easily accessible and bringing great content to new audiences. This is surely the future. However, my personal embrace of the digital revolution has been somewhat more tentative and coloured by a lingering passion for paper, print and pondered communication. So my resolution for 2015 is to wade more deeply into the new digital world. Quite what form this immersion will take has yet to be decided. I am hoping however that there may such a thing as a digital fitness centre so that I can combine two good resolutions in one.”

LILY GREENAN, manager of Scottish Women’s Aid: “I was pleasantly surprised to realise that I achieved most of what I hoped for on the personal front last year, but it all happened in quite short intense bursts. So my main personal goal for the coming year is to do less and enjoy it more. This is a big year for women’s organisations, marking the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action on women’s rights. Scottish Women’s Aid will be running a series of events focused on violence against women as a human rights issue, highlighting what we’ve achieved since 1995 and the debate about what remains to be done. I had great plans a year ago for starting a book documenting some of that progress, but wrote not a single word. Maybe this will be the year for that. Though I’m not sure that will help with ‘doing less’. On a completely frivolous note, I bought a half-share in a banjo in January and I’m determined to add to my four-chord repertoire this year.”

MICHELLE MONE, Scottish entrepreneur and owner of Ultimo and UTan: “To finally get my last stone of weight off and work out more. Also, having made sure my kids are happy, it’s probably time for me to start dating again. I’ve always said no until now, but now the business is sorted I think the time has come. In the spring my book My Fight to the Top comes out. I think 2015 is going to be my busiest and biggest year yet. I feel really positive about it all.”

Legendary panto dame ALLAN STEWART: “My New Year resolution is to have a fresh fruit smoothie made on my Nutri­bullet, every day in the interval, instead of a Tunnock’s tea cake or a Cadbury egg or a Mars bar. I give it til Saturday.”

GRANT STOTT, radio DJ on Forth One, and regular panto villain: “I’m going to sort out my CD collection. I’ve been putting it off for too long. The walls are lined with CDs we never use anymore as we stream all our music off the internet. Shame to get rid of the CDs but they take up too much space, so it’s a clear out in the new year.”

RODDY GRANT , Edinburgh rugby player:

“I don’t ever do these New Year’s resolutions, normally – I find people often make them then go off track. However, this year I would like to resolve to do one good deed – one selfless good deed – every week throughout 2015. That could be anything from buying a copy of the Big Issue to helping an elderly neighbour with their shopping. So that would mean I’d resolve to do a minimum of 52 good deeds throughout the year.”

ANDY GRAY, pantomime legend: “My New Year resolution. Every year I think about stopping smoking. I know it’s not good for me. It’s antisocial. It’s illegal practically everywhere but up a mountain. So wish me luck!”

ANDY FRASER, the Tartan Butler at The Balmoral Hotel: “Firstly, making more time to study. I am studying the Scottish Blue Badge Guide Course on a part-time basis and have essays and exams to prepare for. Secondly, becoming a whisky ambassador. Since Scotch, the whisky bar at The Balmoral, opened I have always been keen learn more. Number three – taking time to improve my fitness. Number four, increasing my tartan collection. Being the Tartan Butler I assist guests with family history and Clan tartans on a daily basis. Lastly, to become a season ticket holder for Heart of Midlothian.”


• Download your free 30-day trial for our iPad, Android Android and Kindle apps

Keep up to date with all aspects of Scottish life with The Scotsman iPhone app, completely free to download and use