New Year goals are much more important the resolutions
IT'S only days since Christmas and already we're being bombarded with messages about New Year plans and resolutions.
There's always pressure at this time of year to turn our attention to self-improvement with annual resolutions - from eating healthily, drinking less or doing more exercise.
We can all admit to our clothes feeling a bit tighter than this time last month, we've probably feasted ourselves to excess and yes, we've all done less exercise (or perhaps none) over the festive season.
But it's days like these when reality sets in that it can be a bad time to rush into new year plans.
The holidays are just over and we're trying our best to get back on track in work, so throwing new year resolutions and plans into the mix for the forthcoming year is a recipe for disaster.
According to Google search trends, most resolutions made at this time of the year involve diet and fitness. But these plans can be very generic and made as a direct result of the excesses of Christmas.
Most of us will know by now that many plans are made in haste or as part of an annual list which are rarely kept beyond the first week of the year.
So this year, why don't we forget about the cutting down on carbs and the gym classes and put a bit more thought into our resolutions?
From growing our own vegetables, eating less junk food and giving more to charity - there are many other ways out there to jump start the new year.
For me, this time of year always heralds a period of reflection, thinking about my life and where I am heading and what I can do differently in the 12 months ahead.
It can be a time to think about where you are in life, where you want to be in a year's time and what will make the most difference to your life over the next year.
What is important is to remember to call them goals and not resolutions.
I've decided on a few alternative New Year resolutions this year, in a bid to kickstart 2017 in a different fashion.
:: Cook more - For anyone who knows me, they'll know I'm no chef and most definitely not a baker. So 2017 will hopefully see me dust off the old cookbooks, buy more ingredients and start cooking. I will not only broaden my diet and skills, but my family won't know what's hit them.
:: Switch my phone off more - We're all addicted to our mobiles, iPads and gadgets nowadays, so I aim to pay less attention to electronic devices. We all know what it's like when we see people looking at their phone rather than the person they're sitting with at the table, so here's hoping we can let the addiction slide a bit.
:: Read more - Whether it's a romantic novel, a thriller or an autobiography, why not try some more reading in 2017. Whether it be through supporting your local library or that Kindle you were given by Santa, why not give it a go.
I see these as aims for the year, something I want to achieve over the next 12 months and not just for the first few weeks of 2017.
Set the resolution like you would a goal - make an annual target that can be achievable over the course of the year.
Goals are supposed to help us achieve great things so try to avoid being drawn into the same old lists of resolutions, telling you what to do and how to live your life.
Now is the time to start to think about life, time to see exactly what you want and don't want and promise to make changes.
If you really want it, work for it in 2017 and you could achieve it. Happy New Year.
The Last Night tells the story of two women, separated by years, but tied by secrets untold and haunted by tragedies that could not be foreseen.
Based on true events in 1952 in Cornwall, Irina spends her days restoring furniture, passing the time in peace and hiding away from the world.
A family secret, long held and never discussed, casts a dark shadow and Irina chooses to withdraw into her work.
When an antique bureau is sent to her workshop, she senses a history to the object that makes her uneasy. As Irina begins to investigate the origins of the piece, she unearths the secrets it holds within.
Decades earlier in the 1950s, another young woman kept secrets. Her name was Abigail. Over the course of one summer, she fell in love and dreamed of the future. But Abigail could not know that a catastrophe loomed, and this event would change the course of many lives for ever.
I have three copies of each book to give away. To be in with a chance to win, simply email your name, address and telephone number - along with the answer to the question below - to email@example.com
Closing date for entries is Tuesday January 3 at noon.
(Q) Which English county is the setting for The Last Night?
Normal Irish News Rules Apply
Help local wildlife - The Belfast Hills Partnership needs volunteers to help plant 13,500 trees and hedging plants before the end of March 2017. The trees are being planted as part of its industrial renovation project, primarily in quarry and landfill sites throughout the Belfast Hills. The trees will help restore these sites to a more natural state. For further information, call the Belfast Hills Partnership on 02890 603 466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Whatever the weather - M&S have the season covered when it comes to dressing your kids for some outdoor fun. Team playful dresses or funky jumpers with a transparent, colour-block lined raincoat to avoid any showers as well as keeping them warm and dry.
Virus - Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher sparked concern after viewers accused her of 'slurring' her words while presenting Sky Sports News. A representative for the host said she was suffering from a mixture of 'extreme exhaustion and a viral infection'.
Last ever GBBO - Emotional viewers are mourning the last ever episode of the Great British Bake Off on the BBC. Viewers of the Christmas special took to Twitter to bid farewell to Mel, Sue and Mary Berry for the final time, with the show now moving to Channel 4.
The winners of last week's competition to win a copy of Rules for My Son/ Daughter are Mary Grant from Cabra and Marie McGreevy from Banbridge.
Easy Peasy Recipe
This week's Easy Peasy Recipe is Winter Rainbow of Roots with sea salt, thyme and garlic, courtesy of The Plough, Hillsborough.
You will need:
3 Carrots / 2 Parsnips / 1/2 Celeriac / 1 Sweet potato / 1Red onion, cleaned and prepped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stalk
3 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil
1 drizzle of Sherry vinegar or vintage balsamic
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp roasted black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
Peel and cut rustic style vegetables carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips in wedges, celeriac in cubes and onion in thick quarters.
Take a clean small non-stick frying pan and dry roast peppercorns and cumin seeds until try start to crack and pop.
Remove quickly and crush in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Add sea salt to create a dry aromatic rub.
Rub prepared veg in a roasting tray with olive oil, rosemary, chopped thyme, garlic and dry seasoning rub.
Toss and then spread out on a roasting tray on silicone matt or greaseproof sheet.
Place in convection for 25- 30 minutes at 190 degrees until golden brown.
Loosen veg and drizzle with a little Balsamic or sherry vinegar just before you serve.
Do not add vinegar too early as it could soften the crispy finish.
Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?
Are you the queen of quiches, magnificent at muffins or can you turn out some nice scones?
If so, then we want to hear from you.
You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:Easy Peasy Recipes,
113-117 Donegall Street,