New Year’s resolutions

Prospect Magazine

New Year’s resolutions

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Prospect asked what people will do—or not—in 2013

Will 2013 bring randomness and children running wild? (photo: Chris Penn/Eye Ubiquitous/Corbis)


Mo Farah Olympic gold medallist
I would like to learn another language, either French or Spanish.

Hilary Mantel Winner of the Man Booker Prize for fiction
My resolution for next year is to stay at home in Devon and write, to make progress with the final part of my Thomas Cromwell trilogy. Outside working hours, I mean to taste all the delights and depravities Budleigh Salterton has to offer.

Arianna Huffington Co-founder of “The Huffington Post”
I’m on a mission to reduce stress in every area of my life. I want to parent with less stress, travel with less stress, work with less stress, etc etc etc. But because not meeting goals, like New Year’s resolutions, can be stressful, I resolve to not stress out if I don’t meet my goal of not reducing stress.

Peter Mandelson President, Policy Network; Labour peer
I should make the case for Europe once a week as allowing its unity to break apart will not help Britain (or the rest of Europe). I hope backing Europe in 2013 will be a less lonely place.

Rolf-Dieter Heuer Head of CERN, the particle accelerator
Keep science moving up the popular agenda, with people talking excitedly about Higgs bosons—and understanding why they’re so important.

Wade Davis Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction
Like everyone else, my New Year’s resolution is to get in shape. Ten years ago in  Peru, I took part in the mujonamiento. Runners begin at 11,500 feet, drop to the bottom of a sacred mountain, storm up to 16,500 feet, cross two Andean ridges and finally run the 24 hour circuit for home. At 48 I was the oldest ever to complete it. Today, I can scarcely climb as high as my desk! In the New Year this will all change.

Cherie Blair Barrister
Every year I resolve to live more healthily so this year my aim is to try and keep to that, at least until February.

Bonnie Greer Playwright, trustee of the British Museum
Continue to adapt more plays  by my lovely  “wintry white guys”: Ibsen and Strindberg.  Work with more musicians and composers.  Write fiction, non-fiction. Dance. Listen more. Eat the best food, drink the best wine. Live my life like a jazz lady.

Danny Alexander Lib Dem MP; chief secretary to the Treasury
Fair tax will be the top of my agenda for the next 12 months—cracking down on avoidance, and continuing to help hard working families with their tax bill through 2013 and beyond.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Professor and author
Have a bit more randomness in my schedule—the good type of randomness.

David Steel Former Liberal Party leader
For 2013, make fewer speeches but better ones and not just in USA and South Africa. And try not to be so cross about the great coalition.

Chris Patten Chairman, BBC Trust
I’ll read Ulysses on the Tube—not.

David Sedaris Humorist and author
Make more Korean friends.

Jon Ronson Writer
My New Year’s resolution is always the same. It’s a product of the clash between two of my mental disorders—my generalised anxiety disorder and my malingering. Usually sufferers of generalised anxiety disorder don’t also suffer from malingering as it tends to make us feel quite anxious. But I am an anomaly. So my resolution is the resolution I always have: I must work harder.

Ken Livingstone Former mayor of London
I never do New Year’s resolutions—they’re crap.

Charles Kennedy Former Liberal Democratic leader
I have the pleasure of representing the largest—and arguably one of most beautiful— constituencies in the country, so I hope to embrace any free time I have this year to show my son, Donald, more of the wonderful scenery and people along the way. At 12,000 sq kilometres, it may take more than a summer recess!

Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite
My wish for 2013 is to continue to fight the government’s harsh economic and social polices and fight for jobs and growth, so that working people and their families have hope for a better future, with more employment and restored public services where the rich pay their fair share of taxes.

Norman Tebbit Conservative peer; former party chairman
To try harder to understand why so many other people can be so wrong about so many things at once.

Will Self Novelist
I’m going to take my money out of NatWest and put it in the Co-op—the next revolution will be consumer led!

Margaret Hodge Labour MP; former culture minister
Everybody should pay their fair share of tax. The UK should create a tax offenders’ register to name and shame wealthy individuals and profitable businesses who avoid paying their proper and fair share of tax.

Andrew Neil Broadcaster
Get David Cameron and/or George Osborne to be interviewed by me on the Sunday Politics, even if I have to promise to be nice to them (I’ll be lying, of course).

George Monbiot Guardian columnist
I’ll give my children no option but to learn to roam wild.

Tristram Hunt Historian & Labour MP
New Year’s resolutions are irrational.

Lisa Randall Physicist
Since most resolutions are doomed to failure anyway: to solve the problems of the universe—and to clean my office.

James Caan Entrepreneur
I believe that if we want to see the economy flourish once again we need a renewed focus on youth entrepreneurship. My new year’s resolution is to encourage as many business leaders as possible to offer their time to inspire, motivate and help young people to become entrepreneurs. Business mentoring can make a massive contribution to the success of of startups. It’s young people just starting out on their chosen career path who have probably paid the highest price for the recent recession, but actually they are the ones who will help us rebuild the economy and create jobs.

Marcus Brigstocke Comedian
Bring visits to Twitter down to just 20 a day. Lose some weight / eat more cheese; I don’t mind which. Both of these if possible. Read at least 12 “proper” books before the end of 2013. Stop visiting online postings that serve no purpose other than to make you feel sad/ desperate/alone/grumpy/snarly—Mail Online, this IS about you.

Tessa Jowell Labour MP; former minister for the Olympics
My new year’s resolutions are to be able to swim 10 lengths of the Olympic pool doing front crawl by October, to bake a cake every week and to be less cautious.

AM Homes Author
Become more politically active. I’m always thinking up things that would be good for America, now it’s time I actually do something—become an agent for positive change.  Spend more time reading (less time Googling)  and get down on the floor and play with my kid.  Watch more TV and learn to drink more—I rarely drink and it seems to leave me on the outside of all the good fun.

Alastair Campbell Political strategist
It is likely to be the same as last year’s, and the year before… Stop swearing, stop eating chocolate. I usually last half a day… Also hope to write another novel.

Lizzie Armistead First British medallist at the 2012 Olympics
I need to get better at staying in touch with people so I’m going to try and reply to emails and make sure I listen to my voicemails.

Steve Jones Biologist
I’ll vow, as every year, to drink less, and as in every year, I’ll fail.

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