Starting a new life the perfect time for a new me

WHEN I arrived in Gladstone, it wasn't just with my life's possessions, squeezed and teased into the shape of a car.

I'd been planning the long haul for months. And for me, plans to overhaul life-as-you-know-it promises one thing: optimistic New Year's resolutions.

"Oh, once I'm in Gladstone, I'll definitely ride to work every day!"

It was a commitment made purely on the basis of a squiggle on an unfamiliar Google map. Looking back, I might have actually been mapping streets in Gladstone, Tasmania.

But the unseen kilometres could be counted on one hand - I had supreme confidence in the new Gladdy me.

I arrived. Three weeks of monsoonal rain greeted me. No big deal, I could wait. But the rain stopped, and the bike stayed immobile under the porch.

New good habits seem so much more achievable when you project them onto a future you, safely 2000km away from the current version.

Gladdy me could finally tick off pages of the long-time bucket list: putting my fancy camera to work, cooking a gourmet feast every night, learning to swing dance, getting a column in my favourite magazine. (Half-tick: I did get a column in my favourite Gladstone newspaper!)

But a new town isn't just a chance to seize those things you never did - it's a chance to fix the ones you do. All the time.

Ten years working in blokey, high-drama newsrooms have left me plenty of strange habits - not least, a ship's worth of colourful sailor talk.

Previous attempts to kick the cuss words have failed under pressure. But I was determined I could change.

Of course, I didn't last a week. (I think it was a colleague's misguided thoughts about the use of apostrophes that pushed me.)

I can't move town again, but the coming new financial year has me taking stock.

Gladstone, my attempts to deliver a better version of me might have stalled, but come July 1, I'm back on the bike. Or in the case of the real bike, on it at all.

Please offer encouragement if you see me coasting along the Dawson - although if it's raining, you might want to cover your ears.