I hope you had the Christmastime that you wanted and are all feeling positive about the New Year ahead. Of course there will be resolutions … with lots of people taking last year’s resolutions, rewording them, adding a ‘Plot Twist’, and then rolling them back out as ‘recycled’.

Apparently it is best to write your resolutions down. If something is in writing, you are 27% more likely to achieve it. They’re pretty good odds in the scheme of things and well worth investing a bit of time putting pen to paper – or finger to keypad.

Research shows that ordinarily, 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail before the end of January and only 7% of people actually achieve their New Year’s Resolution at all.

It is widely thought that the main reason the ‘January inspired goals’ are not realised is that you don’t really want them. If you can wait till the start of a year to say you’re going to do something, then it’s not really that important. A burning desire is something that you can’t wait to start. It’s something you need to start right away. Whatever the date is.

The top ten New Year resolutions are:

Exercise more

Lose weight

Get organized

Learn a new skill or hobby

Live life to the fullest

Save more money / spend less money

Quit smoking

Spend more time with family and friends

Travel more

Read more

So if your list resembles that, maybe it’s time to include ‘Be more creative!’ I think being specific helps too. ‘Exercise more’ is a bit vague and open-ended, and therefore unlikely to motivate. It’s also difficult to know when you have achieved it – so maybe ‘Join one exercise class a week’ or ‘have a walk every day’ would be easier to validate. Similarly, if you want to lose weight then specify an ‘achievable’ amount and if de-cluttering then start with a single room or even a drawer. The smaller chunks you can break down your goals into the easier they are to achieve and you get that satisfying feeling from ticking them off – ‘little wins’, my brother calls them.

Making changes is all about doing things you enjoy and get pleasure or a positive result from, otherwise you are setting yourself up to fail. Why would you do that? Be kind to yourself; play nice. And maybe that should be a new year’s resolution for some.

Of course, January is always a good time to think about changes you want to make to your garden. Indulge in leafing through good books, or scrolling online, and make a note of the things you would like to achieve in your outdoor space.

I always suggest three lists: Little Changes – which may include a few new plants, Medium Changes – which might be incorporating some design ideas and Lottery changes – the things you would do if you won the Lottery. Assuming it wouldn’t mean a house-move – the latter is always a lot of fun and shouldn’t be ruled out. Someone’s got to win.

Anyway, I hope 2024 is your best year yet and if you are struggling to come up with your own resolutions

I’ll leave you with a friend’s list, possibly the only New Year’s resolutions you need make:

1. Stop making lists

B) Be more consistent

7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.