We’re about to enter the Year of the Earth Dog.

Even if you’re not into Chinese astrology, you might be vaguely interested to know that 2016 was the year of the Monkey (trickery) and 2017 the Rooster (wake up call). Now it’s time to be true to yourself with the loyal, dependable dog.

The Earth Dog is about honesty, fairness, integrity, healing and stability. And who’d say no to a bit of that?

This is good, because I’m starting 2018 with a two month sabbatical. After 18 months solid client work, I’m finally free to pause and take stock. Reflection is important: it’s a great time to acknowledge and celebrate the good stuff while also learning from the bad.

So I’ll start by shining a light on the things that really matter.

Here are my five New Year resolutions for 2018 (if you see me, hold me to them).

1. Appreciate more

Take time to do more for the ones closest to me. Especially my family and those that have loved and looked after me in recent months. My mum turns 80 in February so we’re taking to her to Tromsø to see the Northern Lights. The past two years have not been easy for my sisters so I’m going to spend more time with them. And my daughter has got used to her mum not being available, so I’m looking forward to doing more with her. First stop is Alice in Winterland. And we’ll be hopping on the District Line to our fave free museum, the Victoria & Albert, for Balenciaga and of course, Winnie-the-Pooh.

2. Blog more

I’ve been running other blogs and neglecting my own, so it’ll be good to think about stuff that interests me and blog about that as well as write up the great things I’ve learnt over the past year or so. I’ve been working in government so it’s been difficult to comment politically. Now it feels strange to be free to say what I like. All the stuff I was angry about is now old news. But I’m sure 2018 will bring its own surprises.

3. Learn more

I want to do a photography course with Makelight. And listen to podcasts while walking the dog. Now that social media is impacting ourselves, our children and society in ways we never dreamed (or feared) possible, I’d like to know more about nudge theory and behavioural science. How do we enable people to be honest rather than scared? How do we create empathy while allowing people to be different? I’d like to know more about becoming teal in a world which seems to be increasingly Black Mirror.

4. Be more healthy

Better food, more yoga. Definitely Yoga with Zaz.

5. Be more politically active.

I’ve joined the Women’s Equality Party, the Green Party and the Labour Party. The one with the least irrelevant spam over the next 12 months will be the one that gets my vote. And because the personal is political, I’m going to volunteer for causes close to my heart. Two of the greatest things we can give our kids is confidence and opportunity. I’ll be volunteering with Design Club and Coderdojo to start with. Hopefully more to come. Watch this space.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and productive 2018.