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24 March 2011updated 17 Jan 2012 6:00am

How I’m doing on my new year’s resolutions

A spring report.

By Mark Watson

I rashly made 31 new year’s resolutions. Here, just in case you’re interested, is a little spring report on my results so far. It’s as much for me — because doing this publicly ensures conscientious effort — as it is for you. But it might make you think about your ten-year self-improvement challenge and stuff. Or it might just be sort of interesting. Anyway, here we go.

1 Stop losing things, for God’s sake
Getting there. Haven’t lost my glasses this year. Small improvements in the field of thinking-hard-about-what-I-don’t-want-to-leave-behind. Did lose a favourite cardigan in Perth, however.

2 Learn to be more passive about things I can’t change and bolder about things I can/should. Like in that prayer you sometimes see on tea towels
I think I’m managing to do this. The tricky thing is that passivity tips over easily into apathy, which is not a good thing. For example, with Libya, it’s best if I don’t get too emotionally involved because there’s bugger all I can do about it. But I wouldn’t want to be uninterested in the whole situation. So, yes, not easy but I’m doing alright.

3 Do shows in at least a dozen places I’ve not been before
This is happening. Some of these shows have already been announced. Some will be advertised imminently. I’ve done pretty well in this area.

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4 Eat slightly less red meat for environmental reasons and to avoid gout
Not easy but, yes, I’ve succeeded in choosing non-beef dishes more often than not. I know it would be better still to avoid meat altogether. I know, I know. But still. This is something.

5 Drink slightly less red wine to avoid gout, liver failure, death, etc
I’ve just about pulled this off. Lucky I stipulated a “slight” reduction. Still some work to do but steps in the right direction.

6 Find at least three new foods I like
No, still mostly eating curry. Must try harder.

7 Give blood at last
Nope. Not yet.

8 Stay abreast of the news at all times, rather than just in the 48 hours leading up to appearances on topical panel shows
Yes, I’d say I have managed this.

9 Do fewer topical panel shows
Yep, just the one recently and that was in Australia. Approaching a time when I don’t have to say, “I know what news story this refers to but first I’ll riff entertainingly for some minutes!”

10 Never read anything about comedy or about myself, where possible
Mixed success. I rashly read a review of myself in Brisbane because someone posted a link. It was nice, though, but I shouldn’t have done it. I’m managing to avoid the comedy press in general. Not bad.

11 Fulfil my musical ambitions
Some progress. You’ll have to see my next live show to see how it’s panning out . . .

12 Have regular massages
Had one, in Brisbane. I suppose that’s sort of regular. Could do better.

13 Stay in touch more with essential people; stop breaking my back for inessential people
Without wanting to go into details, I’ve made a good job of this. The friend pyramid is now a bit better ordered. NB If you’ve not heard from me for a while, this doesn’t mean I hate you.

14 Do at least six big things for the first time
Nowhere near. Not sure I’ve done ANYTHING big for the first time. I’ve got a couple planned, though.

15 Avoid distractions — ie the internet, thinking about football, thinking about self — which squander time that could be spent working or being a good family man
I’ve been on Twitter less. Thinking about football around the same amount but, hey — the season will end in a couple of months.

16 Continue what charity work I’m doing and try to extend it
I gave money to Comic Relief for rabbit facts. Not bad.

17 Make the most of having a baby, before he becomes a 12-year-old or something
Think I’m doing this, although I was away for a couple of weeks. I’ve taken a lot more photos and made a big effort to enjoy everything he does.

18 Keep working towards conquering some of my many fears
Little real progres. Thunderstorms is the key one. Have to do something about this before I get caught in another one.

19 Run once a week
Just about on course. I let it lapse but I ran twice in Melbourne last week. I found I was badly out of shape. Will not let it lapse again.

20 Resist becoming too much of a “dad” by continuing to pursue unusual and challenging hobbies
Haven’t really delivered on this. Not enough time for hobbies.

21 Help one person a week
I’ve just about done this, though not always at the exact rate of one a week. But if you add it all up.

22 Swear just a bit less just to prevent it from losing its impact
No. I said the C-word on Aussie TV last week. Without even meaning to. Must do fucking better.

23 Continue trying not to be quite such a blight on planet earth with carbon footprint etc
Hopeless. Flying back to Australia this weekend. I don’t fly for recreational purposes much at all these days — it’s all business — but still. Hmm.

24 Make no public negative statements
Oh. That last one was a negative statement. Er. Well, I’ve done much better at being upbeat on Twitter and stuff. Yes, not too bad.

25 (related to 24) See a confidence coach
Haven’t done this yet but I have found one. More news as we get it.

26 Be bolder with my artistic aims
I’m sort of doing this, yes. I have a lot of ambitious projects on the go which I might have hesitated to even try, not too long ago.

27 . . . but, seriously, stop being so competitive. Really
No. Still failing at this. It’s so fundamental to my personality. This is something I really do want to change. Will keep trying.

28 Always have my flies done up, where possible
Better. But work to be done. Still unacceptably often I find a gaping hole.

29 Get my head round the Israel/Palestine thing once and for all
Some progress. Read a book about it. Starting to have some opinions. Plan to offer both parties a watertight solution by October.

30 Save one resolution for the middle of the year, then announce a 30th resolution based on what has happened so far
Yes — to ring my mum once a week. It was suggested by my mum.


31 Above all, try to remember that things normally work out all right
They do, don’t they. I’m remembering this most of the time.

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