Ever made a New Year’s resolution and stuck to it?

A New Year’s resolution is a promise of intent and Promises, Promises features three very different people who for varying reasons all make New Year’s resolutions – their aim, to change and improve their lives.

I’ve always been a fan of starting a new year with a goal of some kind, but undoubtedly the best resolution I ever made was to write a novel. Admittedly it took me nine months to make a start, but once I got going there was no stopping me. Promises, Promises is my fifteenth book and after all this time I’m still amazed that such a random promise has resulted in changing my life so dramatically.

At the start of this year I celebrated a significant birthday and it seemed entirely appropriate to promise myself to do some of the things I’ve always wanted to do – probably with a sense of Quick-do-it-before-it’s-too-late!

One of those things was to go to Russia and the other was to learn to ice skate. Now I have to be honest with you, it’s early days with the ice-skating. My wonderful instructor is patience personified but sadly I am his worst ever student because I can’t get to the rink as often as I would like. But I’m not going to give up. Just as soon as life calms down a bit, I shall be gliding effortlessly and elegantly across the ice. Well, a girl can dream …

As for going to Russia, I went! I took a river cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow in August and it was everything and more that I could have wished for. And the reason I wanted to visit this incredible country? Well, blame it on a childhood fascination with Russian ballet dancers, Russian gymnasts (I so badly wanted to be Olga Korbut after seeing her in the 1972 Olympics – I was twelve at the time) and of course, there were all those wonderful Russian ice-skaters. I was also fascinated with the strange parades in Red Square – I was oddly impressed by the peculiar marching, but unnerved by the missiles and sinister tanks rolling by. At such a young age I had no idea what it all meant but it certainly intrigued me.

To me, Russia was another world – a world with a romanticised tilt towards Dr Zhivago and Anna Karenina and beautiful snow-covered landscapes at one end of the spectrum and the to-be-feared shadow of Soviet might and power at the other end. And to top it all there was the stirring music I fell in love with – am I the only person to own a CD of Russian funeral music? One of the absolute highlights of my trip was late at night in Moscow, standing in an illuminated Red Square looking up at St. Basil’s Cathedral. It was a truly magical moment.

So have you ever made a New Year’s resolution and experienced something wonderful and life changing as a result? If not, why not think of something for next year?