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Oh, the pressure to reinvent yourself in 2012. There are, however, some appealing ways to help you start out on the right foot.

No doubt, as the clocks chimed in January 1, 2012, sozzled on champagne, you vowed to create a better you in the new year. If 2011 is anything to go by, your good intentions will be out the window by the end of Jan. It’s fair to say only a few of us are steely enough to see these self-promises through to their conclusion. But don’t worry, as well as a city of vices, London also boasts a plethora of do-good activities.

There’s no shortage of classes and workshops to help kick-start a new you, whether it’s to help banish the bulge, get fit, or nourish your mind. Gone are the days of dreary self-help classes and dismal weight-loss workshops, in 2012, they’ve got a sexier, more classy intellectual vibe.

The School of Life is renowned for its diverse array of weird and wonderful to help you lead a better life. If losing weight is top of your resolutions, learn about ’A History of Beating the Bulge’, with ideas based on the wisdom of historian, Dr Louise Foxcroft, who will, in a 90-minute class, trace a fascinating past of calories, corsets and attempts to achieve the perfect body – from eating carbolic soap to swallowing tapeworm.

“The Greeks and Romans had it right 2000 years ago,” Foxcroft says. “Yes, some did silly things to lose weight like not having sex, or walking around naked, but their system of keeping slim was just eating in moderation. It’s not sexy at all, but in this age where we’re all looking for a quick fix, we’ve completely lost track of how simple it is."

“In modern times, we’ve done everything to slim down – from electric-pulse therapy to squeezing fat through pores, like mashed potato through a colander. However, I think we need to get back to basics.”

And if Foxcroft’s advice urges you to stop injecting even more cash on the multi-million-pound weight-loss industry, consider turning your attention from round tummies to a well-rounded mind.

Love Art London is an engaging way to help you get cultured in 2012.With four insightful events each month, members have access to art experts, private collections, and, indeed, artists themselves. The concept behind the experiences, which end with a debrief in a pub, is the brainchild of the well-connected founder Chris Pensa, a former Courtauld Institute graduate and Sotheby’s British art expert.

“Love Art London is kind of a cultural gym membership,” Pensa says. “The art world is very cliquey, and unless you know the right people, there are barriers. I wanted to redress that to make special art experiences available to ordinary people, not just wealthy collectors.”

A membership grants you the privilege to tread the halls of the Bank of England and take in its art collection, plus there’s the saucy Tits And Arse Tour of the National Gallery.

As resolutions go, shrinking your waistline and expanding your mind is not a bad start – let us how you get on.

Words Rebecca Kent


A new year kick-start
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