This time of year may be about indulgence for some but for others it is about resolutions.
For Duncan Scott it is a time to look ahead. A Commonwealth Games year, the pressure is on Team Scotland athletes to bring back medals and better the previous best from an overseas Games.
That was in Melbourne, in 2006, when the swimmers set the tone for the rest of the Games, bursting out of the blocks and reaping rewards. They did the same in the home Games in 2014, meaning expectations are high.
In April, the Commonwealth team return to Australia, to the Gold Coast with the hopes of living up to them.
“What I do know is that, in 2014, we started really strong. We had Ross Murdoch and Michael Jamieson in the 200 breaststroke. Then we had Hannah Miley. What a start that is there,” said the freestyle specialist. “I got goosebumps there just saying that. Absolutely phenomenal. A gold, a silver and another gold in one night of swimming for Team Scotland. If we can start anything like that, it can only be positive.
“In Melbourne, it was phenomenal what they did. And it was phenomenal what they managed to achieve in one night of swimming.
“If Team Scotland were to replicate that, it can only be a positive. I don’t know if there is any pressure on us to deliver a good start, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing that we have the opportunity. If it doesn’t happen, we can build into it and have a strong finish at least. Every race is different. If we have a bad start, we can have a strong end.”
To do that choices have been made. They involve eschewing some of the life choices open to others their age. Scott says little should be made of that, though.
“I saw a great quote from Robbie Renwick, who did a radio interview,” he said. “They asked him that exact question about sacrifices, and he said ‘they don’t really count as sacrifices when you get to this level’. And he is completely right. Once you get to the level of international swimming, it just becomes habit. It’s not really a sacrifice. It’s what you do. You push away your university friends.
“You tell them ‘sorry, but I have to go to bed at 9:30 because I have to be up at this time’. It becomes a case of that’s just what you have to do to achieve things rather than it be a sacrifice.
“But it’s not all swimming. I love getting away from swimming more than anyone. I’ve got university, which distracts me potentially more than it should. I did the first two years full-time and now I’m doing my third year part-time at Stirling University. They have been absolutely phenomenal at sorting that out for me. What else distracts me? I’ve got a girlfriend and I’m away to the European Short Course.
“I follow football religiously. I’m an Alloa Athletic fan. The last game I went to was the Petrofac Cup final, which we lost 4-1 to Livingston. We had Michael Chopra then. Don’t get me started. I find it quite easy to get away from swimming. The group that I train with are not just swimming mates. We are mates outside the pool as well. So it’s quite easy to get away from the swimming environment. We talk about swimming at the pool and then shut it off afterwards.”
At home it is about Fifa Soccer more than it is about matters in the pool, although the infuriating thing for Scott, who is used to being one of the best, claiming gold at World and European level and silver at Olympic and Commonwealth, is he is not even the best in his own flat at that.
The resolution will be to improve on that but, first and foremost, it is about events in the Gold Coast and Scotland reprising the showings from the past two Games.