Are you stuck in a cooking rut? We’re all guilty of having our go-to staple dishes we recycle on a weekly basis, but why not find new and improved signature dishes and wow your friends and family with your masterpieces? If you’ve always been scared of baking, for example, pick up a book such as Paul Hollywood’s British Baking and try making your own croissants or scones. Maybe you’ve never known quite how to cook seafood, even though you love eating it when you’re out. Get a copy of Rick Stein’s Seafood and start experimenting. Set yourself some specific foodie goals and make this the best food year ever.
Take up yoga
We’ve all got to start somewhere. Many fear taking up yoga as they think they’ll be surrounded by people with their legs pinned behind their ears and an instructor who will expect them to know all the terms, including “downward dog” and “sun salutation”. However, beginner classes are aimed at just that! Yoga is so popular because it improves flexibility, tones the body and sharpens the mind. It’s also said to help with anxiety, sleep patterns, blood pressure and stress. What’s not to love? If you want to practise yoga from the comfort of your own home, consider buying a book or DVD such as Everyone Try Yoga (which is a book with an accompanying DVD); a great, and cheaper, alternative.
Pick up a pen
Whether it’s a metaphorical pen (for example, writing a blog) or a physical one (writing a diary or a book) make this the year that you write. Set realistic goals, such as 20 minutes per day for the 31 days of January, and you’ll probably find you get ‘the writing bug’ and want to continue. The reason a lot of us give up our resolution is because we promise we’re going to write for three hours a day, and this just doesn’t fit in with a busy lifestyle. Treat yourself to a new diary or notepad, turn off your phone, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door, and let those creative juices flow.
Release your inner artist
Similarly, if you’re a budding artist, or you’ve always wanted to try your hand at painting or sketching, this could be the year that it becomes a reality. Do a little research about the differences between acrylic and oil paint, for example, before you start. Make sure you’re equipped with all the tools you need – paintbrushes, paints, sketchbooks, scrapbooks – and you’re good to go. Focusing on an art project can be very therapeutic and a great way to unwind.
Embark on a home or garden project
Concentrate on a particular home improvement or garden project. Whether it’s painting the shed/garden fence or revamping your kitchen, use 2015 as the year to break down projects into manageable chunks and begin tackling them. You’ll be amazed at how rewarding it is. Use a book such as Annie Sloan’s Room Recipes for Style and Colour for inspiration, and plan exactly how you are going to go about a project before you begin, considering colour schemes and styles.
It’s one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, year after year. For 2015, though, why not try something new when it comes to getting fit? If you have always been someone who says “I hate running”, perhaps it’s because you’ve never given it a proper go? Or maybe you want to try something totally different, such as badminton, squash or golf? Whatever sport you choose, throw yourself into it. You could be surprised with just how much you enjoy it.
Play the host
Are you the sort of person who always suggests going out to a restaurant with friends, shying away from playing the host? This year, why not wise up on hosting and etiquette with a book such as Debrett’s Guide to Entertaining Etiquette and embrace a dinner party? Hosting doesn’t have to mean an evening soiree, though; how about an informal brunch or afternoon tea? The Vintage Tea Party Book can be your go-to reference.
This year, make your New Year’s Resolution new. Did you try something different in 2014, or do you have any new and exciting challenges that lie ahead?