5 Resolutions for 2019 from Sophie Hannah, author of How to Hold a Grudge

5 Resolutions for 2019 from Sophie Hannah, author of How to Hold a Grudge

I love resolutions when they’re proper and meaningful and heartfelt. All of my five below are, but in previous years, I’ve cast about desperately for things to resolve to do, and it’s all been very much for form’s sake. One year, for example, my resolution was to take better care of my nails and wear nail varnish more often! I didn’t stick to this resolution because it didn’t really matter to me. I’m all in favour of meaningful resolutions, though and not only on New Year’s Eve. In fact, my sixth resolution would be to make resolutions from now on at any time of year, whenever I want to and feel the need to. Also, if I don’t stick to any of my resolutions, I’m not going to beat myself up about it at all. Life is emotionally draining and sometimes you need to  for example eat too much cheese and spend a day reading Twitter judgmentally. If I slip up, I’ll just try to get back on my resolution wagon the next day, without blaming myself for the lapse.

  1. I will sort out the way I work and live. For about the last five years, maybe longer, I’ve been insufficiently organised during the day time, and procrastinated too much or been too easily distracted, and this has meant that, in order to get all my work done on time, I’ve had to stay up till 2 am nearly every night. So, in 2019, I’m going to plan and use my time better, avoid distraction and procrastination, enforce my boundaries better (which means saying ‘no’ a lot more), and schedule more time for relaxing/sleeping/looking after myself. I will add to my schedule plenty of time for the things I love: seeing friends, swimming, deep-tissue aromatherapy massages, reading, watching musicals at the theatre, going on long walks with my dog, Brewster. I won’t allow myself to be swamped by work so that there’s no time left over for the things I most love doing.
  2. I will ruthlessly cull, sort and tidy every single inch of my house in Cambridge so that, by the end of the process, there is nothing in the house that I do not actively want or need. This is my project for January. By 1 Feb, my entire house will be a model of order and minimalism.
  3. I will eat and drink in the way that I have decided is The Best Way. (In case anyone is interested, this Way is the one invented by Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School – I strongly recommended her books, articles and podcasts about eating and how to approach it/think about it.
  4. I will make a five-year plan of what I want to write/create between now and 2023. I have all the books I’d like to write and all the projects I’d like to create at some point rattling around in my head, but I haven’t yet had time to focus single-mindedly on them, or to choose which to do first, so I’m going to sit down, organise and prioritise.
  5. I’m going to continue, passionately and actively, to share the wisdom of The Grudge-Fold Path. ‘What is that?’ I hear you ask. Well, in 2018 I published my first self-help book, How to Hold a Grudge. I also launched a podcast with the same name. In both, I advance the theory that our grudges contain a power that, used correctly, can transform your life for the better and make the world a more just and compassionate place. Grudges can be great motivators and a powerful source of inspiration, as long as you manage them in the right way. Every single dictionary definition of the word ‘grudge’ is wrong, and I can prove it. Thanks to these incorrect definitions that we’ve had drummed into us, we’ve all bought into the belief that holding a grudge is an obstacle to forgiving someone and moving on, unburdened by past pain. In fact, the opposite is true: holding grudges in the right way allows us to forgive and move on faster and more easily. How often have you read a self-help book and thought, ‘Yes, that’s a great theory about how to be all Zen and enlightened no matter what, but I just know that here in the real world, I’m still going to lose my temper the next time someone treats me really appallingly’? I’ve thought that hundreds of times — which is what led me to create my own self-help program: The Grudge-Fold Path. Grudges can act like charms on a charm bracelet, protecting you and keeping you safe. They can act as a series of stepping stones, pointing you in the right life direction and reinforcing your highest values. So many people have not yet had a chance to learn how The Grudge-Fold Path can enhance their lives, and my mission for 2019 is to spread the word as much as I can!

Sophie’s latest book How to Hold a Grudge is out now!

5 New Year’s Resolutions from anti-guru Sarah Knight, author of Calm The F**k Down

5 New Year’s Resolutions from anti-guru Sarah Knight, author of Calm The F**k Down

It’s that time of year again where we’re promising to hit the gym, eat more salad and stay up-to-date with current affairs. But why make promises we know we’re going to break? To help ease the guilt, here’s our favourite anti-guru Sarah Knight, author of the No F**ks Given Guides, with some New Year’s Resolutions…

  1. Oh, did you think I was actually going to share my resolutions to get fitter, richer, or more adept at stand-up paddle boarding? I am not. I don’t believe in setting arbitrary goals at a random time of year—let alone shouting them to the public—only to likely fail in both public and private at something I was inspired to do merely out of cultural/societal pressure in the first place.
  2. That said, I would like to recover fully from the hand I broke in July, so I’m “resolving” to   use my heat pack twice a day and do some exercises that I found online. (It was broken by one of my adopted feral cats, a story that you can get in detail in the Epilogue of my new book Calm the F**k Down, should you so desire.)
  3. I also want to be able to fit into all my winter clothes by mid-January when I have to travel to London to promote the aforementioned book, so I should probably cut a few baguettes (per day) and bottles of wine (per week) out of the old diet between now and then. I’m a recovering anorexic and bulimic who no longer believes in deprivation for the sake of weight loss, but I also live in the Dominican Republic these days and only have one set of cold-weather clothes so I can’t afford to grow out of them. It’s a pickle.
  4. I need to work on my Spanish. Or should I say, Tengo que practicar mi Espanol.
  5. What else, what else? Ooh, here’s a good one—unoriginal but earnest—I’d like to read more books in 2019. I’m not going to give you a number (see: unrealistic goals at which I’ll probably fail), but there’s a metric ton of literature I didn’t get around to this year and that’s coming out next year that I’m more than happy to add to my TBR pile. CONSIDER ME RESOLVED.

Sarah’s new book Calm The F**k Down is out now!

My New Year’s resolutions – Olivia Beirne

My New Year’s resolutions – Olivia Beirne

If, like me, you’ve been wearing the same trousers (and by trousers, I mean pyjama bottoms) since Christmas Eve and you’re trying to peel yourself off the sofa from the mounds of Quality Street wrappers that have you welded to the cushions like a left-over Toffee Finger, you’ve probably done Christmas pretty bloody well. And is it still okay to eat a turkey sandwich days after Christmas Day, or should have I have bowl of cereal – even though I really want a hunk of yule log? Or should I just eat all three? (Yes). Until suddenly, with very little warning, it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re expected to get out of your pyjamas and squash into something with maximum sex appeal to prove that you are ready for the New Year.

I used to hate New Year. I hated the entire idea of forcing my post-Christmas body into a dress I ordered online (which, obviously, looks nothing like the model), pulling my feet from my slippers and into a pair of explicable high heels, and taming my hair down from its ‘messy bun’ (that term is used loosely) that I’ve been rocking since my hangover from the work Christmas party. I also hated the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It made me feel like the version of me I’d been parading for the past year wasn’t good enough, and that in order for me to enter this new, glittering year, I had to be richer, thinner, fitter and basically more successful in every way. Why can’t the current me stay as I am? Why do I have to improve myself every year? Also, what on earth is going to happen to me when I’m 80? Will I expect myself to be running Google out of the west wing of my castle, rocking a designer dress wrapped around my miraculously toned body *despite* the Camembert?

So, with that in mind and biscuit tin in hand, I changed my mind set for New Year. I don’t write a list of New Year’s resolutions anymore. I write myself a ‘to-do’ list of things that I want to experience this year.  As you may have guessed, I have spent the last year writing lists, but here are my top five:

1. Go to Disneyland (I know, I’m a child) 

2. Run 10k for The MS Society (if you know, you know) 

3. Learn how to cook (this one is quite important as I feel that the age of dinner parties is looming, and I don’t think I can serve Chicago Town pizza as a starter, main and dessert)

4. Go to Edinburgh Fringe Festival 

5. Read 1 book a month 

From now on, I will only put things on my ‘to-do’ list that I will enjoy doing, and bar the training for the 10k (lord help me), I think my five goals for 2019 sound quite fun. 

Happy New Year!

The List That Changed My Life

You can pre-order the paperback edition of my debut book, The List That Changed My Life, here!

Team Bookends' New Year's Resolutions

Team Bookends' New Year's Resolutions

Looking to change something about your life? Draw inspiration from our resolutions for 2018.


Last year I said I was going to go to the gym, look after myself a bit more and learn calligraphy. I can report that I signed up to a gym – was very good for about a month and then froze my account. I also bought all the bits I needed for calligraphy (in November) and gave it a go. I’ll be sticking to this one as it’s very relaxing so can I say to learn calligraphy again? Second time lucky! Helena

My New Year’s Resolution is to bring in more packed lunches so I can splurge on the weekend in fancy restaurants! And to try reading more crime novels. Oh and of course to be myself (inspired by my favourite anti-guru Sarah Knight’s new book You Do You). Hannah

The obvious one is “read more books”! But I’d also like to get to more exhibitions this year. I used to work for an art gallery and be able to swan into any exhibition I liked. It was fantastic! Now I have less free time, but an hour or two in front of beautiful or thought-provoking pictures is very good for the soul, so I need to get back into the habit. Alice

I’d really like to learn meditation and a martial art, to take more notice of my breathing and calm my mind. I find it quite hard to relax, so I think meditation will be really beneficial, and a martial art – well, I’ve always thought they are so cool! Aimee

To learn a new skill – I have been talking about pottery which sounds like the perfect antedate to a stressful day in in the office. I love the idea of switching off, and creating something beautiful at the same time! Vicky

Get STRONG with Zanna Van Dijk

Get STRONG with Zanna Van Dijk

After spending ALL of  Christmas eating chocolate in our pyjamas and making regular trips to the fridge for a chunk of brie, we’re ready for a brand new start and that all important health kick.

Luckily, the lovely Zanna Van Dijk has a brand new book to help us along the way.


STRONG is full of exercises and delicious recipes to help you achieve a balanced body this year…we promise you it’s not just kale and green juices, there’s even a recipe for the ultimate chocolate brownie!

Why not try the ultimate winter warming dish this January with a delicious Vegan 3-bean Chilli.

If you like the sound of this, why not try

Xochi Balfour’s Lamb Tagine with Cauliflower and Parsnip Couscous



Deliciously Ella’s Frozen Raspberry, Peach and Orange Smoothie

Team Bookends' New Year's Resolutions

Team Bookends' New Year's Resolutions

After Christmas is over our attention inevitably shifts to improving our health, well-being and happiness. At Team Bookends, we like to do things slightly differently, so here are our obligatory New Year’s resolutions, alongside some bookish alternatives!


New Year’s Resolutions

Along with every other person in January I’ve actually joined a gym. This year I will look after myself, drink more water and learn calligraphy. By December I should be strong, glowing and holding a book full of beautifully written notes . . .  watch this space. Helena

My non-reading resolution is, wait for it, to not make a resolution. I’m sure lots of people find the New Year a helpful moment to take a breath and reassess, but, for me, I worry about setting unrealistic goals in the heat of the moment. Again, this might just be me, but this only leads to failure by 31st January and a feeling that the year is already off to a bad start. I prefer making incremental micro-changes throughout the year, so that in twelve months’ time I’m doing something completely differently almost accidentally. But maybe that still counts as a resolution? Dammit! Alice

This year I’m planning to get back to the gym. I stopped going last May due to an ankle injury, and have been having physiotherapy on my gammy limbs ever since. The aim is to get back running on the treadmill very soon. Aimee

My non-bookish resolution is to carve out more time to spend with friends. There’s no greater feel-good moment than laughing until your body aches. Vicky


Bookish New Year’s Resolutions

Weirdly my New Years resolution is to read more. Unfortunately I seem to spend more of my time on the tube staring sleepily into space than with my head in a book. I’m aiming for a book a week . . . wish me luck! Helena

My reading New Year’s resolution is to take more risks and read more books outside of my safe, regular choices. I’m sure there are hundreds of wonderful authors to discover! Alice

Last year I set myself a target of 50 books to read over the course of the year. Tracking my progress with Goodreads I actually managed over 80! But this year, I’m going for the big 100. 100 books in 1 year. I’m nothing if not adventurous. Wish me luck! Aimee

My 2017 bookish resolution is to read more, having lost my reading mojo slightly towards the end of a busy year, and to read more books which I am not working on. First up is Eleanor Olipant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, a new book I’ve heard lots about in advance of publication and I can’t wait to read. Vicky