Famous Scots and their New Year’s Resolutions

Picture: Neil Hanna
Picture: Neil Hanna
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FROM the First Minister to some of the country’s top broadcasters, some of Scotland’s great and good have set out their resolutions for 2014.

Alex Salmond First Minister

Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Picture: Phil Wilkinson

“2014 will be a monumental year in so many ways for Scotland – which makes it fairly easy for once for me to make my New Year resolutions. Firstly, I want to keep focused on my progress on the 5:2 diet. I have had some success in recent months but it’s easier some times more than others, as anyone trying to shift some weight will know!

I also want to ensure that during these historic 12 months, Scotland’s reputation in the world is second to none as we showcase our wonderful country through an extremely successful Commonwealth Games and welcome thousands to our shores for Homecoming.

September will see the people of Scotland deciding for themselves if we should be an independent nation, and I will be dedicating all of my time to putting the case for a brighter, better future for Scotland.

And finally, I will be at Gleneagles in September to see the European team lift the Ryder Cup for a historic home win. Surely the perfect year.”

Picture: Ian Georgeson

Picture: Ian Georgeson

Alistair Carmichael Secretary of State for Scotland

For years now it has been a standing joke in the Carmichael household that come the New Year, I resolve solemnly to spend less time at work and more with my family, eat a healthier diet, drink less alcohol, lose weight and take more exercise.

For form’s sake I suppose I should do so again, although, in truth, we all know that my good intentions will be in tatters again by 3 January.

So this year I will spare you my pious thoughts about eating a balanced diet and reading the classics.

My resolution is not about what I am going to do, but instead about other people.

For me, as for many Scots, 2014 will be dominated by the referendum on 18 September.

My resolution is to make sure this important debate is not all about politicians but that the voices of people across Scotland – their views, hopes and concerns – are heard.”

Ruth Davidson Scottish Conservative leader

“My personal New Year’s resolutions are the same as they are almost every year: lose two stone, go to the gym more often and do a bit more home cooking.

This year I also want to make more time for my family– particularly my nephew and niece who are very soon to be six and four, respectively. They are growing up so fast and I don’t want to miss it.

Politically, I want to play my full part in a resounding No vote at the referendum.”

Janice Forsyth Radio Scotland presenter

“I resolve to be less predictable in my resolutions list. In 2014, I resolve to lose weight, tone up, perhaps even turn up at the gym I signed up to for a year.

I’ve failed the first resolution immediately. But God loves a trier so here are the rest:

Only drink alcohol at weekends (or not at all).

Unwind not by watching Masterchef, but by reading some of the brilliant Scottish literature I’ve missed.

See my lovely friends on a regular basis before they dump me.

Declutter my house.

Polish up my French and Spanish language skills.”

Vivian French Scottish author who penned the bestselling children’s series The Tiara Club

“1. To check my emails before pressing send! In 2013 I sent invitations where the date and day didn’t add up, messages ending ‘Loafs of love’, kisses to the bank manager, a letter to someone I was desperate to impress that began ‘Deaf Jon’, and corrections on a book that offered the suggestion that I’d edditted it all very carefilly.

2. To look at the map before I say I’ll go and run a workshop. It is NOT sensible to book Plymouth and Perth on consecutive days.

3. To buy five pairs of scissors so I can have a pair in every room.

4. To leave scissors in the room where I was using them.

5. To give up umbrellas. I live in windy Edinburgh, travel on buses and I ALWAYS leave them behind.”

Kirsty Wark BBC Newsnight presenter

“I’ve come to think that most resolutions are made to be broken – for example, an alcohol-free January – but one that I am determined to stick to is to complete the first draft of my second novel. It is filling my head and so now it needs to spill out on to the page.

My second resolution is to travel to parts of Scotland I’m ashamed I have not seen before. Therefore a trip to Skye is on the cards – if only because I used a wonderful recipe from The Three Chimneys in Masterchef – and I have to pay homage.

My third resolution is to reread Sunset Song. It was a book that has been hugely influential for me, so on a January Sunday, when it is dark early, it’ll be fire on, candles lit, book open and a glass of Arran malt in my hand – I said there was no point in an alcohol-free January.”

Margo MacDonald Independent MSP

“Like all other years, 2014 presents no difficulty as regards pledging to do certain things and avoid doing others. The challenge comes in prioritising – inventing a fail-safe system to take my daily diet of pills on time, thus maintaining my optimum health and wellbeing and my marriage, helping to win sovereignty for the Scottish Parliament, reading some good books, instead of magazines and papers, and getting on top of a smartphone.

Some of the above are jostling for places on the podium with my bill giving the right to have assistance to end their lives to people who are judged to be terminally ill.

The cost of living is also a worry, so I’ll have to give up olives… well, perhaps not big, juicy green Greek ones.”

Elaine C Smith Scottish actress and comedian

“I don’t normally commit to a New Year resolution. Like most women, the pressure on us all to do everything and be perfect is there constantly. So there is never just one thing we want to make happen in the year ahead.

“But maybe this year I can stop putting pressure on myself and stop measuring every aspect of my life against an unattainable image of perfection.

So it has to be that I will be more present and aware each day. I am about to become a grandmother and I want to spend time focusing on the current, not looking back to the past, or too far ahead. A happy New Year to everyone.”

Paul Wright Scottish film director who was awarded best debut director at the British Independent Film Awards for his movie For Those in Peril

“1. Continue to try and make projects I feel passionate about.

2. Be able to pay the rent.

3. Figure out how to keep resolution 1 & 2 at the same time!”

Alexander McCall Smith Author

“To listen to more Bach, to go to the gym more often and to worry less about things that are none of my business.”

Martin Wishart Award-winning chef and restaurateur

“I want to run a marathon, donating the proceeds to a charity.

I want to sail to Shetland in the summer on my own yacht with my dad and brothers, spending some quality time together.

My family has just been increased from two children to three with the birth of my baby boy. I will be taking more time to spend with my girls and getting to know my new son whilst giving my wife some personal time to spend on herself when not looking after the children.

To maintain my Michelin star in both my restaurants in Leith and Loch Lomond with a goal of always striving for more.”

Marc Austin Commonwealth Games hopeful who was recently named Athlete of the Year by triathlonscotland

“Like most Scottish athletes, my biggest aim for 2014 is to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and race in front of a big crowd in my home city.”

Jackie Bird BBC Scotland presenter and newsreader

“On the professional front, 2014 is going to be a very busy one. I would particularly like to contribute towards making television programmes that do justice to the memory of the sacrifices of the First World War.

So much time has passed and there are no survivors for our soundbite-obsessed media. Making television about the war that has an impact, especially on young people, is my wish.

On the personal front, I’d like to complete an endurance sporting event – but as my hamstring is shot to pieces and I hate cycling, I’m running out of options. Swimming and long-distance darts seem like a best combination.

I also resolve not to be such a grumpy so-and-so and not to be such a worrier, but I worry there’s not a lot of chance of achieving either.”

Gary Locke manager, Heart of Midlothian FC

“I tend not to look too far ahead, but there are a few resolutions I could make this year. To try to sign a few players to strengthen the squad would be the obvious one. Then the other one, just as obvious really, would be for the club to come out of administration.

I know the first one is out of my hands – at the moment we’re not allowed to sign any players because we’re in administration – but the second one is achievable, and it’s certainly what anyone associated with Hearts would want to happen in 2014.”

Andrew McTaggart, named the Scottish Opera emerging artist for 2013-14

“January will mark the beginning of the end of my time as an emerging artist with Scottish Opera. I’ve had a wonderful experience and resolve to make the most of my remaining time on the programme.

I also resolve to make sure my family, friends and colleagues who have supported me in the past and continue to support me know how much I appreciate them.

And lastly, I bought a new house, so DIY is high on the resolution list!”

Margaret Lynch chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland

“To count my blessings every day and give thanks for all the good things in life. To spend more time with the people I love. To do what I can to get the food bank in my home town of Coatbridge up and running … and to go on campaigning for more jobs and a living wage and benefits to ensure that food banks are not needed anymore.”

Lily Greenan manager at Scottish Women’s Aid

“I don’t usually make New Year resolutions, in the interests of not adding to my to-do list, but I do have a few thoughts about things I would like to do next year, aside from the usual ‘exercise more, sleep better, eat healthier’ mantra.

Number 1: I want to have more time away from the city, so I’ve booked a week in Barra to start the year off the way I hope to go on.

Number 2: I love Middle Eastern food and decided to try cooking (and eating) my way through the Jerusalem cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

That might link nicely with number 3: grow more fruit and veg. I’m getting quite serious about ‘urban farming’, so this year the plan includes starting an asparagus patch and putting in some blueberries.

Oh, and I want to start work on a book I’ve been planning for a few years about women’s networks. Just in case the healthy living gets boring.”

Belinda Dickson Cashmere designer

“Give time and consideration to the old – many simply crave company and it’s something I have become aware of with my parents.

Try hard not to procrastinate. It is really appreciated and also rewarding.

Drink less, eat better: one meal a day, juice and soup!

Improve fitness: minimum five sessions a week, mainly cycling, swimming and walking.

Work hard to keep the UK together. I am proud to be both Scottish and British and cannot see the case for splitting a historic union that works well.

Edit down junk in our home! Buy less and where possible buy luxe and quality. Cut down wardrobe choices.

Keep my car clean. Acquire some DIY skills. Improve on IT editing and presenting photography. Learn how to sell on eBay! New things I have never used!

Stay at home more and learn to love cooking.”

Robin Galloway Radio and TV broadcaster, currently working for Clyde 1

“I do hope you don’t find this something of a cop-out, but I kind of started my New Year’s resolution early. July 2013 early. My halfway-through-the--year decision, which came about on 1 July, was to ditch the car, embrace public transport and, wherever possible, cycle to my destination. I’d begun a new national breakfast show and, as the studio was a mere five miles away, who needs a car, I thought.

The four wheels were duly swapped for two, and during the long hot summer of 2013 my daily sojourns to work were actually bliss.

Fast-forward several months and a couple of punctures later and I’m still on my bike. Plus I’m happy to report that I’m a decent, caring cyclist. I wear a helmet, have very bright lights and never jump junctions – ever.

Not only do I smugly predict to still be cycling this time next year, I can honestly say it’s changed my world.

Which just goes to show: you don’t have to wait until New Year to turn over a new leaf.”

Charlie Wood Director at Underbelly, which is jointly running Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations

“2013 has been quite a year for Underbelly.

Clearly, we have had a lot of feedback – some positive, some negative – and we will work hard in the next few months to listen to it and make appropriate changes for 2014.

I also have a young family and I’m looking forward to responding to their ‘feedback’ (!) and spending more time with them this year: cooking for my wife, teaching my one-year-old to walk and going to the park. Simple pleasures.”

Jason White Former Scotland rugby captain, British and Irish Lions player

“My first one is to make sure I spend quality time with my family. I have three young kids and I’m determined to make sure I get to spend time with them.

I’ve retired from professional rugby and started on a new career – it would be very easy to get completely engrossed in making progress there! I want to share in my kids’ growing up and not miss out at all.

My second one is to find time to exercise. As a professional sportsman, it was part of your job to stay fit and healthy. Now I see how hard it is to work a full day and then find time to exercise. This has been really tough for me as I love the buzz you get from working out.

I see my time management holds the key!”

Louise Martin CBE chair of Sportscotland, the national agency for sport

“I want everyone in Scotland to benefit from the Commonwealth Games in some way.

And of course we want everyone to get behind the team – go Scotland!”