Harsh experience taught me not to waste valuable time making resolutions going in one year and out the other. It has to be much more fun lining up fences for the rest of earnest mankind to trip over.

This grand steeplechase of doomed ambitions starts with an overdose of bravado every January, the month named after Janus, Roman god of gates and beginnings.

He would have made a useful referee in the Coliseum Premier League with that uncanny knack to look both ways at once, “I’m booking you all to face the lions…”

Now we have to be satisfied with the old Norfolk trick of looking backward and forward at the same time, especially when a new year whirrs into action and brighter souls accept it is simply a perfect opportunity to practise giving up things for Lent.

Relish for so delicate a balancing act as weighing up fore and aft in one dazzling movement is best captured in a cheerful rustic invitation like  “There’s a good dew down the pub ternyte, are yew a’gorn ter come?”

Norfolk experts, well versed in treating the unorthodox as commonplace, can manage both together without breaking sweat, let alone damaging a limb as they march confidently alongside the old adage that if you know roughly where you’ve been you’ll have  shrewd idea where you might be going.

Perhaps it can be too easy to set up  certain characters for inevitable falls. We know football managers and politicians at all levels will carry on refuting the downright obvious while so-called celebrities wallow in fresh vats of banality.

Television chiefs will deny they are dumbing down even as even more programmes go practically subterranean.

The most cursory backward glance shows it need not always be like this. I recall healthy little bursts of self-denigration lighting up the sporting scene during my full-time years in journalism trying to make sense of it all.

Halifax manager John McGrath stunned a post-match gathering of hardened football reporters with his own question-and-answers session: “Do you know the three most used words in football? Halifax Town nil!”

Airdrie boss Alex MacDonald wasn’t far behind with this unique excuse after his team’s defeat: “We ended up playing football, and that doesn’t suit our style.”

American golfer Lee Trevino joked after a surprisingly poor round: “I’m not saying my game was bad, but if I grew tomatoes they’d come up sliced.”

Former Australian cricketer Arthur Mailey, leg-spinner, journalist and butcher, admitted: “I used to bowl tripe. Then I wrote it. Now I sell it.”

Boxer Chris Finnegan wisecracked: “I know it’s said that I can’t punch, but you should see me putting the cat out at night.”

Politicians have never worked too hard for laughs at their own expense. George W. Bush summed it up neatly when he suggested: “I think the voters misunderestimate me.”

Just in case we didn’t get the message. He produced his own abacus and declared: “It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it,”

Old chum Arnold Schwarzenegger kept the chuckles flowing with his heartfelt statement: “The forest fires are the worst disasters in California since I was elected.”

I reckon we can leave Winston Churchill to put our Westminster affairs in perspective during  a general election year: “ Political skill is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”

Oscar Wilde clearly foresaw the merciless rise of the “celebrity” class when he warned a room packed with arty hangers-on: ”To be popular one must be a mediocrity."

He might have said: “Appreciate me now and avoid the rush.” There’s no semblance of wit or irony in the current clamour to be noticed for doing something stupid.

Oliver Cromwell recognised that thin dividing line between adulation and scorn when he reflected on his hard-earned elevation to the top: “The crowds cheered me as I passed by. But they would be just as noisy  if they were going to see me hanged.”

So where to look for sunny solace from sportsmen, politicians and thousand of also-rans in the race for fame during the next 12 months? The odd concession to humour and self-mockery will help.

I’m dying to see a Mastermind contestant jump up and punch the air on leading the way after the specialist round instead of pretending not to be smug, complacent or almost triumphant.

I’m waiting for an MP to disarm Laura Kuenssberg with a Stanley Unwin impression crossed with a burst of Basil Brush laughter or a Roy Orbison growl.

I’m praying for Pep Guardiola to say the referee had a splendid game following a 5-0 FA Cup defeat at the hands of Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium “although the fourth penalty may have been a trifle harsh”.

I’m longing for a call from Norfolk County Council to indicate plans for a new drawbridge at Thetford will be given all-party support “as long as unhinged elements can be kept in check.”

I’m fairly certain natives blessed with the gift of looking backward and forward at the same time will swear thy have seen and heard it all before.