As new year’s resolutions go, Sting’s was fraught with difficulty: He resolved to ‘call her up, a thousand times a day’ and ‘ask her if she’ll marry me in some old-fashioned way’. It’s the kind of action that would, in the dawning of a new decade, inspire the boys in blue to go and interview the one true leader of the Police. Calling anyone 1,000 times in a 24-hour period is overkill and speaking down the phone using an antiquated turn of phrase is just plain odd. I imagine Sumner enquiring as to the ‘privilege of taking fair maiden’s hand into the unknown waters of matrimony’ before turning it around with an acoustic interpretation of Roxanne.

I write this week’s column pensively having just awoken at 10am on New Year’s Day. The festivities were enjoyable, but less than riotous, as we sat around supping on Bud Light and criticising those who chose to stand in the freezing cold on the embankment watching a couple of million quid go up in smoke. The celebration no doubt ended in the throngs failing to find a pub and bemoaning the fact that their flaky mate forgot to order an Uber. Come 5am, when they stumble through the front door of their Dulwich studio flat, stone cold sober, they put a rose coloured tinge on proceedings as they attest on social media as to how the fireworks and community spirit on the banks of the Thames were ‘awe inspiring’ and the perfectimondo way of heralding the new decade.

I have just, contemplating my new year’s resolutions, been hanging out of the top bedroom window. It is a resolution borne out of fear of my wife when she is in a rage. She has surmised, correctly, that I have been ‘vaping too much’ and the smell is ‘putrid’ despite my device being loaded up with ‘freshly baked pastry with custard topped with extra thick cream’ flavour. I have begun to view my favourite gadget as a never-ending cigarette, but she believes the hype perpetrated by the big boy tobacco companies and I therefore must ply my hobby in the open air, in a manner of speaking. As I blew clouds of vape down past the neighbour’s house, I noticed a middle-aged lady running along the pavement outside Sid’s house over yonder. I wondered how long this newfound passion would last.

I phoned a friend to see what her resolution would be, and, like many, it was not a S.M.A.R.T objective and undefinable: ‘I’m going to worry less’. Unsatisfied, I put in another call, to a single friend, which culminated in his assertion that he is going to ‘make love every day’ despite the obvious flaws in his well-intentioned target.

I stuck to mine last year to little avail. I joined a gym, cycled 100 miles a week and worked out 4 or 5 every 7 days, yet put on two stone. I vowed to produce a YouTube channel and uploaded the first one yesterday, giving me another tick. Yet despite these personal successes, I feel unfulfilled. They did little to change my lot and I have now changed tack: I aim to do a good deed every day and give a little back, be it opening a door for someone or helping a friend in need. Again, however, that leaves me empty as I already do these things despite reciprocal action often being less than forthcoming. I am changing my diet today and again aiming for massive weight loss as I veer toward doing something outrageous once a year in which to fill the memory bank. This year’s selfish endeavour will be entering the Megavalanche mountain bike race in Meribel, France. It's simple: You get dumped at the top of a snowy peak and then navigate 22km of natural obstacles in what is billed as the ‘biggest downhill in the world’.

Suffice to say my back may not hold up, but I am determined to tick the box before I am too old to do so. My excuses and groans when unloading the dishwasher will have to abate as they, like the dishwasher, just won’t wash any more.

If that fails, and I don’t get to scale the mountain summit, I can console myself in the fact that, should she still be running in August, I have a ready-made running partner as we hurtle headlong into the roaring 20s with hope in our hearts and Sting in our ears.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher who lives in London Colney