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New year

avoid, trying a different drink instead of ‘the usual’ and moving your bed to a different place (the adult equivalent of a kid sleeping with their head where their feet should be). Then progress towards paying a stranger

a compliment, trying a new look and going to a train station and buying a train ticket to somewhere you’ve never visited before.

5. Exfoliate your life We regularly exfoliate with gritty scrubs and loofahs to slough off dull, dead skin, letting the new skin underneath shine through and get the blood pumping – so why not do the same to our lives? What dulls your shine and drags you down? How much brighter and lighter would you feel if you let go of it? Give yourself permission to drift away

from those vampiric friends and lovers who drain you, exploit your good nature and take much more than they give. This will leave more room in your life for nurturing, energising, positive influences. Are you drowning in paperwork? Always

tired? Painfully shy? Terrible with money? Perpetually single? Depressed? Feel guilty about everything? Been the same way for years? Fight back and break free. Whatever the problem is, you can fix it.

Seek expert help, invest some time (maybe ‘spend’ a few days of annual leave on it) and make those changes so you don’t waste another second. Once you start reaping the benefits, you’ll wish you’d done it years ago. If you don’t know where to start, local

life coach Pat Hoare at Case Confidential in Gandy Street ( could help. And hypnotherapy can help with many issues – local experts include Penny Albertella ( and Mike Uttley (

6. Start scrapbooking As Ferris Bueller famously said, “life moves pretty fast – if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”. Scrapbooking is a great way of capturing memories. Collect keepsakes all year from days out (a feather, a ticket, a leaf ), print photos (don’t just leave them on your digital camera or computer) and make a scrapbook or collage to keep happy memories alive. It’s also a great way of visually setting out

what you want to achieve in the future, so take some magazines and scissors, and snip.

7. Get passionate Passion makes our eyes sparkle. What’s yours? Maybe you loved watching live jazz before work or kids got in the way. Perhaps you’ve got a hidden talent which used to bring you joy. Dust off your old

Why not change your routine and start the day with some yoga?

mountain bike from the garage, pick up that paintbrush again or cook for your friends and stage your own version of Come Dine With Me. Revive the old, discover the new. Why not join a choir such as Exe Valley

Voices ( in Tiverton who sing pop, jazz, gospel and folk. You don’t even need to know how to read music as all songs are learnt by ear, and the choir welcomes all ages and abilities. Or join the (K)nutty Knitters at Exeter’s

Picturehouse cinema every Sunday (see for more details).

8. Make a Star Wars list Have you ever eaten a pomegranate? Sung karaoke? Ridden a horse? Slept under the stars? Been to the opera? Milked a cow? Hit show I’ve Never Seen Star Wars takes

a celebrity and introduces them to things they’ve never experienced before. Nigel Havers ate his first Big Mac, Ian Hislop tried on his first pair of jeans, Esther Rantzen listened to hip-hop for the first time, Barry Cryer changed his first nappy, Suggs learnt to tap dance . . . Why not make your list and do them all?

9. Seek a natural high

When life gets overwhelming, either through the sheer number of demands on your time and pressure on your shoulders or the endless monotony of the life you’ve ended up living but never planned for yourself – stop. You need to feed your soul. Volunteering just a few hours of your

time to do something for somebody else will not only help them, you’ll get a natural high – and you might just find a new vocation.

Visit for ideas. Or try a random act of kindness: buy a bunch of flowers and give them to a friend, offer to walk a dog for your neighbour who’s broken his leg, or cook a meal for a new neighbour.

10. Mix up your routine When travelling from A to B, don’t always pick the quickest way, take the scenic route sometimes. If you always have your steak well done, try it medium or rare. If you have long hair but always wear it up, wear it down for once. If you always shave, grow a beard. If you start every day with a coffee and a cigarette, why not instead start your Wednesday morning with a yoga session at The Mint in Exeter with Chris Croft ( Mix it up.

11. Go back to the future

Jimmy Saville is no longer with us, so that letter you wrote to Jim’ll Fix It as a kid is unlikely to be answered. So why not revisit your childhood ambitions now, as an adult? If you dreamed as a tot of swimming with dolphins, driving a train, playing a panto baddie or helping to bathe an elephant, make a few phonecalls and make it happen. Why not?

12. Silence the voice You know the one – it says you still haven’t made a will, seen your GP about that niggle that won’t go away, made that difficult phonecall you’ve been putting off, fixed that wobbly bannister or called a truce with the friend you fell out with but can’t remember why. This voice keeps us awake at night, and ignoring it could have dire consequences. Bite the bullet and do it – then it’s done. EL

30 Bath Life Exeter Living 29

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