High resolution

New Year's resolutions – we make 'em and we break 'em. For many, they're already receding by Australia Day, and are nothing more than a guilty memory by Easter.

Time Magazine's 2012 list of Top 10 most commonly broken New Year's resolutions included losing weight, getting fit, giving up smoking, saving money, spending more time with family, becoming less stressed and volunteering.

There are a few steadfast souls who gird their loins and give it a red-hot go.

There are, however, a few steadfast souls who don't just "set and forget" their January 1 goal; they gird their loins and give it a red-hot go.

Executive Style caught up with three high-fliers who actually followed through on their New Year's resolutions.

Peter James, Ninefold chairman

Former Adcorp chief executive and iiNet board member Peter James is now chairman of cloud computing specialist Ninefold. He embarked on a fitness kick at age 55, scaling up from five-kilometre dashes to the 14-kilometre City to Surf and then half marathons (21.1 kilometres).

Two years later he resolved to up the ante, and in January 2007 entered the New York marathon, paying his airfares and entry fees upfront to lessen the likelihood that his resolve would weaken in the intervening 10 months. "I made a commitment then told the whole world," James says.

Training runs were squeezed into a gruelling schedule of meetings, overseas travel and late nights, with the 57-year-old determined to complete the 42km in style.

"I wanted to run sub-five hours and finish well," James says. "I wanted to actually sprint home the last five kilometres and never to stop."


That November he strode out from Staten Island in green and gold alongside more than 30,000 others – "one of the most amazing things I've ever done" – to finish in four hours and 50 minutes.

2013 resolution?

James is yet to set one, but says his mind is turning to ocean swims and the dream of one more long run – the original stretch in Greece from Marathon to Athens.

Amanda Newbery, managing director, Articulous Communications

Completing her first novel was communications specialist Amanda Newbery's chief goal for 2012, along with establishing her own PR consultancy after several years heading another national practice.

Sporadic bursts of inspiration had seen her manuscript grow to 45,000 words over the previous two years, and Newbery resolved to have the second half of the yarn knocked off by the time January 2013 rolled around.

Interstate plane flights and holidays chained to the keyboard saw her crank out an additional 45,000 words by August, and plans for a second book are now in train.

“I always set New Year's resolutions – I can only work if I'm given a deadline,” Newbery says.

Previous successful resolutions have also involved working with words; Newbery's 2011 goal being to master the art of the cryptic crossword.

2013 resolution?

Finding a publisher for novel number one.

Jacqueline Lehmann, Regus country manager

The Australian head of serviced office supplier Regus, Jacqueline Lehmann grew up in the Swiss countryside and spent her early career climbing the corporate ladder in Zurich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Melbourne.

Last January saw the 52-year-old resolving to go bush – a long-cherished dream that had always seemed incompatible with her role running a national business.

"Combining career goals and the goals of business and realising a life dream … they usually don't go side-by-side," Lehmann says.

Since June, home has been a run-down former cattle farm at Lancefield in central Victoria, where the long to-do list involves more hands-on tasks and less delegation than the day job.

"Instead of sipping a latte, you're buying a tractor and a chainsaw on Saturday morning," Lehmann says.

"I really like to sit on the tractor and do a little bit of grass slashing … it's very peaceful and there's a big sense of achievement. Sometimes in business it takes a little bit longer to get results."

2013 resolution?

"Mastering what I've taken on!"

What New Year's resolution do you intend to keep?