Staff from the North West Star share their New Year resolutions

We were in the middle of a planning team meeting in early November when I said to my journalists in “we should all do new year resolutions and put them on our website”.

Maybe it was the idea of new year being still two months away or the obvious vulnerability of making public something you are not likely to follow through on, but it was probably not the most warmly received suggestion I’ve ever made.

There was a definite feeling the best new year’s resolution was not to make any resolutions at all. 

But undeterred, I raised the ante and suggested we do five resolutions each.

“FI-IVE?” they groaned, as ​the concern levels in the room went up a further notch.

“Yes, five,” I confirmed.

If looks could kill I would have been cremated but no one was game enough to openly tell the editor to “get stuffed”.

The idea stuck.

Now here we are in January 2018 (happy new year, folks) and it’s time to get real. The resolutions must be real too - achievable and measurable – and not the sort of things that would end up in the waste basket at noon on January 1.

Being the bright spark who came up with the idea, it was up to me to start the ball rolling.

Derek Barry’s five new year resolutions

The North West Star editor, Derek Barry.

The North West Star editor, Derek Barry.

1. Drink more water. It seems a cliche that a journalist would be a hard drinker, especially of alcohol, but also of coffee. Maybe because I’m an old fart now, I don’t drink as much hard stuff as I used to, but my caffeine levels are still maxed to the nines. If I’m honest I’m averaging around six cups a day. Let’s be real about this and understand that cold turkey ain’t going to happen. But at least aim to get it down to four and drink a glass of water instead. Heck, coffee is a diuretic, so it’s not like I’ll be going to the loo anymore often.

2. Double my writing. Look, I know I do a lot of writing in the paper, but I’m also indulging in a bit of a busman’s holiday. In my “spare” time (what makes time spare anyway??) I’m writing a book about why we need a treaty with Indigenous Australia. I believe it is an important subject, but it’s fair to say it’s going slowly. My ambition was to write at least one well-researched sentence a day, and although sometimes I don’t even make that. But let’s aim to modestly double that output to two. That way the book might be written by 2035 instead of 2135.

3. Play football. By football, I mean the round ball stuff. It’s the game I grew up with and still love. Maybe at 53 I’m too old for this, but I refuse to believe it. I’m still in good shape fitness-wise thanks to the running and in 2016 I trained with the Atlas crew for the soccer pre-season but due to work commitments couldn’t commit to the regular season. That will still be a problem this year but if I seek out the Parkside over 35s, called the Rangers (which is a bit disturbing for a Celtic fan, but I’ll deal with it) the pressure to play each week won’t be as intense.

4. Keep running. This is more a commitment to continuation than a new task. My job can be stressful and there is nothing like a stress busting run up a hill at the end of the day. On Monday evenings there is no place I’d rather be than at the top of Telstra Hill looking out west towards to the city and east into the vastness of the Outback. Getting up there is bloody tough, but it is worth every ounce of energy and makes me realise why Mount Isa has got under my skin. I’ve been here two years and I’ve yet to do the Outback to the stack run but that is an omission I promise will be fixed in 2018.  

5. Increase our page impressions and unique visitors to the North West Star every month in 2018 compared to the previous year. We also achieved that in 2017, increasing page impressions every month on 2016 but missed out in one month on the unique visitors when I realised the problem too late in the month. We’ll be out to rectify that in 2018 with lots and lots of compelling content. This is my only professional resolution on the list but an important one. The North West Star may have setbacks in recent years going from five print publications to three but online, it punches well above its weight. Around 2000 people visit the website every day and in big months like August (rodeo month) we can have over one million page impressions a month, often outdoing areas with much bigger population catchments. Take a bow, readers, but please remember to keep coming back. It’ll be worth it, I promise!

The North West Star senior journalist, Samantha Walton.

The North West Star senior journalist, Samantha Walton.

Samantha Walton’s five new year resolutions

1. Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Losing weight is something that has been on my resolutions list for many years, but in 2018 I am more determined then ever. With a baby due in early February my main goal for the year is to lose the weight that I put on during my nine months of cravings, late night feasts and over indulging in chocolate. I plan to eat healthier and stay active, while spending the next 12 months at home on the station looking after our little bub.​

2. Learn to cook. I can tell you now, my fiance does not want to marry me for my cooking! Having lived in the North West for over two years, I have become way too lazy with my cooking, relying on fast food outlets to supply lunch or dinner. There are a handful of meals that I love to cook on a frequent basis including butter chicken, curried sausages and chicken carbonara; but I will shamefully admit most of the sauces I use come from a jar. I would love to take the time to learn to make meals from scratch.

3. Spend time with people that matter. It may sound cliche but I am sick of making effort for ‘friends’ who do not make time for me. In 2018 my whole life is expected to change and I have no doubt I will find out who my true friends are, but meanwhile I plan to spend as much time with family as possible.

4. Save money. Another one that tends to make my resolutions list each year. While I wait to become Mrs Campbell in 2019, 2018 is all about saving the dollar bills. Even though we had planned to have a smallish wedding – it isn’t planning out that way. All weddings are expensive but we plan to make the process easier by saving some extra money in 2018.

5. Compete in my first campdraft. Located in the middle of rodeo and campdraft central, this is something I have always wanted to do. I have grown up around horses, but have only become more serious about horsemanship and competing over the last three years, purchasing my Australian Stock Horse last year. Competing in a campdraft was on my resolutions list for 2017 but was put on hold due to a baby on the way. In 2018 I look forward to partaking in both rodeo and campdrafting events around North West Queensland.

The North West Star journalist, Esther MacIntyre (and unawares editor, Derek Barry).

The North West Star journalist, Esther MacIntyre (and unawares editor, Derek Barry).

Esther MacIntyre’s five new year resolutions

Firstly can I just say, we should really be setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals, not resolutions. With that out of the way, here are my vague hopes for 2018.

1. Make a bedtime and stick to it. Having always been a terrific night owl and terrible morning person, this will be hard. Working in breakfast radio did nothing to help my plight, for waking up at 4am is so unnatural. As much as I adore my sleep, and am constantly reading about its multitudinal benefits, I rarely get to bank a full eight hours a night. If I had my way, the working day would start at noon, and include a siesta. It seems my inner child is alive and kicking, and in need of a spot of discipline. Wish me luck / send me sedatives.

2. Master touch typing. I know, a journalist who can’t type is a pitiful thing to imagine. I am actually pretty fast, but sloppy. My Year 7 typing teacher would be horrified to witness just how far and often my right hand wanders from the jkl; sequence. Tisk! The lovely Mavis Beacon is a more understanding teacher. I purchased the latest version of her famous touch typing program for $60 this year and I am sure it will be worth every cent when I get around to using it. Which leads me to my next goal.

3. Be focused, and mindful. I know mindfulness was a buzz word circa 2015, but I really need to jump on that band wagon, stat. Mindfulness, being present in the moment, can be a tool for managing anxiety. Focusing on one thought, one image, one idea, rather than getting caught up in all the things you think you have to do ‘now'. I am quite prone to list-making in an effort to organise my thoughts, tasks, and mental stresses, but lists only get you so far – you actually have to do the things! I reckon multi-tasking is a myth. For me, choosing a single thing to focus on is essential to getting anything done.

4. Eat more vegetables. With the convenience of packaged meals and fast food joints, our hunter gatherer instincts have largely fallen by the wayside. That’s what I’m blaming this on – not my love of fried things, or sheer incompetence in the kitchen. My favourite vegetables are potatoes, which is problematic. My vegan friends boast the benefits of a plant-based diet, and while I’m not about to give up my Sunday steak at the Isa, I feel I could do with more green on my plate. 

5. Save serious money. I’ve always been fairly good at stashing my cash, but I would like to be even more disciplined in 2018. Work hard, scrimp and save, then enjoy the rewards. Easier said than done! Like most, my soul needs a few regular rewards to stay motivated, but I guess I probably don’t need two $6 coffees a day? They say it’s easier to save when you have a goal in mind. But saving for saving’s sake can start a sound financial habit to stand you in good stead for the future. Cha-ching!

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