NEW Year resolutions are a terrible idea.

It may sound like a good time to make a big change in life-style or to take up a new hobby but January can be a little gloomy especially if you decide to start spending more time outside.

Winter is more a time for staying in and enjoying the comforts of hearth and home.

It is far better to take up a new hobby or sport in warmer weather when the sun is up until late in the evening. Many resolutions are about getting fit or taking up a sport but you do not have to be in the prime of life to benefit or to get involved. Many clubs and societies would love to have new members and it is normally fine to be at any level of fitness to begin with.

The Leigh Journal has just printed a wonderful article on the Atherton Care Village and the work they are doing for their care workers.

During this time when we are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was so positive to see how organisations can support their staff. With a fitness and nutrition plan, carers have not only improved their fitness but also have better sleep, mood and morale.

Improved mental health is one of the most important aspects of starting a new hobby whether it is to do with exercise or anything else. It is not just the activity that is beneficial but also the social side. Most clubs are really social and many members will be active in other parts of the local community so, if you are interested, you will soon learn about more than the club you have joined.

Leigh Ornithological Society, in normal times, runs a series of meetings and field trips so you can enjoy nature, take a little exercise and learn about ornithology all in one place.

They have also been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service because of the many years of great work that they have done in the local area.

Members of Parliament have slightly unusual working pattern so it can make it difficult to participate in a regular club but it is useful to have a goal and strive towards it. Having run the London Marathon for the last three years I was quite looking forward to running the Bolton Marathon this year but COVID-19 has interfered with that as with so much else.

This marathon has not been run for years and is far tougher than the flat London version as much of the route is on the western edge of the Pennine Moors. It is a relief to have a year off…

There is so much going on and, post-Covid, there will be so much more so now is a great time to resolve to do something new.