Whether it’s health, culture or sex, London offers a wealth of opportunity for you to change — or simply tweak — your life in 2009. Words: DANIEL LANDON
The New Year is a pretty miserable time to be the in the UK.
The festive party season is over; most of us are broke from buying presents, partying or trips; and there’s at least two months of crap weather before spring takes hold.
The good news is that London is home to some of the newest, hippest, funkiest, wackiest ways to fulfil a new year’s resolution.
You want to do something meaningful with your free time
Doing a course is a great way to learn some new skills and exercise your brain.
Books for Cooks is a London institution, hosting classes and events at its Notting Hill store.
Gresham College in Holborn runs free public lectures on a wide range of topics.
City Lit is a London-based centre for adult learning that runs affordable part-time courses on a mind-bending variety of topics.
You want to be healthier
If you avoid major roads London is actually OK for cycling (seriously).
On-road cycleways are well marked and there are great rides along the Thames and in Epping Forest.
Walking along the paths of London’s many canals gives you a different vision of suburbia. Regent’s Canal runs across north London — Little Venice to Angel is a good route.
Fit for a Princess runs outdoor keep-fit sessions in Wandsworth, Battersea, Fulham and Clapham.
Parkour is the action-packed sport of jumping and running up and over obstacles, from a wall or building to bins and benches.
You want someone to cuddle with, more sex, a rock on your finger
The singles scene (for lack of a better term) in London is huge.
Speed dating is a great way to meet new people — one TNT staffer went along reluctantly but met her future husband.
Original Dating has well-organised fun events.
There are kinky nights out to suit just about every kind of sexual inclination.
Why not try a naked disco (www.starkersclub.co.uk) or go along to a fetish night (www.torturegarden.com).
To nurture a relationship, professional advice might help. For information on courses in London see www.sexandrelationshipcourses.com.
You want to get some culture
London has dozens of galleries and museums.
Cordy House, near Liverpool Street station, hosts a bizarre range of events, such as “You me bum bum train”.
Look it up online and see what comes up.
Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields is the world’s first and only site based on still-life drama. Cool.
You want to look and feel good
You can pick up bargain, brand-label clothes at occasional, one-off sales around London. Sign up at www.designersales.co.uk and www.designerwarehousesales.com.
If you keep putting off a trip to the dentist, book an appointment at the Covent Garden Dental Spa, where you get a massage after your check-up.
Also in Covent Garden, The Sanctuary is a ladies-only day spa that’s perfect for a treat.
Colonic irrigation can do wonders for your wellbeing.
A TNT journo raved about one at Ealing’s Body and Soul Zone. Yep, seriously.
Geo F Trumper is a very cool traditional male grooming salon.
You want to get out and meet people
Join a football team (www.londonfa.com) and gain an appreciation for England’s national sport.
See London on horseback on a group ride (www.wvstables.com; www.kingstonridingcentre.com; www.ridgwaystables.co.uk) through Wimbledon Common or Richmond Park.
Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden has classes in more than 40 styles for beginners and pros alike.
The School of Life runs many events, including dinner parties.
In west London there are book slams fortnightly, and poetry parties (www.troubador.co.uk) on a regular basis.
The Dana Centre runs events that are a great way to meet people.
How to keep your New Year’s resolutions
Don’t be in the 88 per cent who fail:
» Don’t bite off more than you can chew — make only one resolution.
» If you made a resolution out on the lash on NYE, think hard whether you can see it through.
» Be specific. Say you will go to the gym each Tuesday and Friday morning, rather than just ‘get fit’.
» For women: Tell everyone about your goals and ask for support. You’ll falter along the way, but keep going.
» For men: Make specific, measurable, time-based goals, and focus on how things will be when you achieve your goal. Source: www.quirkology.com