Crispin Wickenden

Oxford Mail:

Head of donor management at NHS Blood and Transplant

New Year resolutions are easily made, but just as easily broken. Research shows that fewer than one in 10 of us will keep our resolutions – so why bother? What’s the point in setting yourself up for disappointment?

The goals we set often fail because they are too ambitious – we try to make a huge change immediately. But aim to make small changes in easy steps and you are much more likely to succeed. Research shows that making a resolution actually increases your chances of achieving your goal tenfold.

Most commonly New Year resolutions revolve around fitness, money and giving up bad habits. But in addition to giving up, have you thought about making a resolution to give?

There is a resolution that is easy to make, easy to keep and could change not just your life, but the lives of many other people too. A pledge to give blood is genuinely a lifesaver.

Blood donations are used every day to treat cancer patients, for mothers and babies before, during and after childbirth and to treat chronic illnesses for which there are no other effective treatments.

Six thousand donations are used every day across the country, and each one of them has to be replaced.

If you are Black or Asian your donation may be in particular demand because rare blood groups needed for patients with thalassaemia or sickle cell disease are often found in these populations.

It’s easy to give blood in Oxfordshire. There’s our permanent donor centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

We also hold regular sessions in Cowley, Botley, Abingdon, and many other places across the county. Giving blood takes no more than an hour of your time and it is the only resolution that gives you a biscuit afterwards!

To register as a donor, just go to and give us your details – we’ll send you all the information you need.

Remember – you are 10 times more likely to achieve your goal if you make a resolution.

So make it your resolution to save lives this New Year and pledge to give blood in 2016.

Annette Cunningham

Oxford Mail:

Former Oxford Times columnist

Admittedly, It’s taken me about half a century to work it out, but I’ve finally realised that the only New Year’s resolution you should ever contemplate is to never make one.

Let’s face it, at this time of year there’s already enough to cope with.

On top of whatever the weather decides to throw at us there’s also a depressingly depleted bank account to mull over, an overflowing wheelie bin and a house full of unwanted Orange Creams to dispose of.

So the last thing you want right now is to set yourself up for inevitable failure.

Because, face it, unless you have a will of steel that is exactly what you are going to do.

If you’re lucky, the new regime you have promised yourself may last as much as a whole day, if you’re incredibly dedicated maybe, just maybe, most of January.

And be warned, giving something up definitely proves harder than committing to do something new – people who have publicly committed to giving up smoking will be chomping at the bit by 1pm on New Year’s Day, but the gyms will be full of wannabe fitness freaks for most of January (by the way, please don’t hog the equipment – I’m told you really wind up the regulars).

We need to understand that despite the hype, the only real difference between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is nothing more than 24 hours.

The stroke of midnight between these two days doesn’t possess any magical ability to transform you into the person you wish to become any more than a random stroke of a lucky Leprachaun might do.

But don’t lose heart, if you genuinely want to make a life-changing commitment you can do it – regardless of the date.

I should know, I gave up smoking in my twenties and it was dead easy... I did it loads of times.