As we stumble into 2021, bedraggled and half beaten, resolving to change our practices may prove trickier than ever before, courtesy of Covid.

They are but lame promises we make to ourselves that have as much chance of reaching the promised land of December as I do of growing a Mohican by Wednesday week. Still, I persist, two score years after I vowed to get signed up by a professional football club, hook up with Claudia Schiffer and purchase that Lamborghini I hankered after. Sadly, I fell hugely short as I found myself lacking considerably in the talent, looks and finance departments, then as now.

Sting famously ‘resolved to call her up a thousand times a day’ which should have warranted a call to the Police. Sumner followed up his initial stalk by asking her to marry him in ‘some old-fashioned way’: ‘Dear heart, thyne is a fair maiden, whilst though make an honest man of thee?’ No doubt, unless she is a first generation relative of Jacob Rees Mogg who gets aroused by such a turn of phrase, she should, if furnished with any sense, be going ex-directory and heading for the fringes of Outer Mongolia to avoid the tantric lover boy.

Curious as to what my glorious failure should be this coming annum, and lacking inspiration, I searched Google for the most popular New Year’s resolutions. I was expecting to be underwhelmed and I wasn't disappointed.

Harrow Times: Have you made any New Year resolutions? Photo: PexelsHave you made any New Year resolutions? Photo: Pexels

Not feeling enamoured with the top 10, I hovered the mouse over the words ‘read more’. Thinking this was an invitation, I clicked on it repeatedly to see what numbers 11 to 20 were, until I realised it meant what it said. ‘Travel more’ came in at number nine, which is fantastical at best at present as the fresh new tiers begin to flow once more.

At seven was ‘quit smoking’ which, for years, was top of the shop, but as the scourge of John Player has been largely defeated due to rampant tax hikes on tobacco products, it is dropping down the list like a lubricated rat in a drainpipe.

To save ‘more’ money is at six, when ‘any’ would be a start in these most uncertain of times. At five, a curiosity: ‘to live life to the fullest’ which could mean gorging on yet another Netflix box set to while away the latest lockdown.

Learning a new skill or hobby piqued my interest, despite the antiquated use of the word ‘hobby’, which encourages visions of a relaxing game of shove ha'penny by t’hearth of t’fire.

The third most popular resolution: ‘to get organised’ was a curio, as surely to undertake any resolution there must be an element of organisation in situ prior to commencement.

First and second place are the old favourites that go hand in hand: ‘Exercise more’ and ‘lose weight’. Thankfully, due to getting rid of most of the machines and changing rooms ‘because of Covid’, gyms have scared paying punters off so much that the rotund, like yours truly, no longer have to spend the new year avoiding the manifestations of the obesity crisis. These part timers are gone by February, yet, prior to that inaugural work out that never quite materialises, they give themselves a January treat of an hour or three in the hot tub thus blocking your nightly post workout warm down.

As for me, I endeavour to go for the eighth most popular resolution as, well, 2020 has set the bar pretty damned low in terms of achieving the objective: ‘to spend more time with friends’. It shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve as we couldn’t possibly see any less of each other than we already do…could we?

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher