Don’t start believing in ‘new year, new you’ – you can’t shed a bad habit overnight
Dry January encourages sensible drinkers to ‘beat’ alcohol, reporting withdrawal symptoms such as fancying a glass of prosecco with the girls
Walking into someone’s house and seeing “live, laugh, love” on their wall makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out with a fork. And over the years, I have had the same reaction to those who insist on writing “new year, new me” captions on the first day of a new year.
Christmas is finally over and the new year is here, which can only mean my Instagram feed is going to be flooded with essays about snazzy bullet journals, vowing to be happy and avoiding f***boys. Plans to stop procrastinating or to lose weight are often top of the list, as is turning vegan for a month.
A new year seems to mean starting a clean slate and becoming someone completely different to who you were a day before. In December, you were a 65-year-old meat-eating cis man who enjoys noshing on a chicken and mushroom pie and now, come 1 January, you are a non-binary, polyamorous, vegan millennial who spends their time wailing kumbaya and doing yoga.
Gyms across the country will hum with the sound of schmucks pounding the treadmill in the first two weeks until they inevitably turn into a ghost town. Cue the exaggerated, but very serious, magazine articles that scream: “HOW TO SHED BELLY FAT IN UNDER TWO MINUTES BY EATING F*** ALL” and “LOSE FOUR STONE IN SIX WEEKS BY EATING A CUBE OF CHEESE BEFORE YOU FAINT.”
Dry January encourages sensible drinkers to “beat” alcohol without the trauma of three-day benders, delirium tremens and drinking White Lightning for breakfast. Instead, these social drinkers report withdrawal symptoms such as fancying a glass of prosecco with the girls or feeling slightly more bored than usual in the pub.
For Veganuary, meat-eaters will suddenly give up pigs, cows, chickens and ducks because they have nothing better to do. They will spend 90 per cent of their time policing every Tom, Dick and Harry about their dietary infractions. Meanwhile, smokers will argue to their death that they have given up since 31 December and will spend a whole month saving £11.30 a day on a pack of Marlboro Lights while picking fag butts off the street in sheer desperation.
If I could bet on the amount of times people don’t fulfil their new year’s resolution each year, I would be a millionaire living my best life on a yacht in the south of France. Some 80 per cent of new year’s resolutions fail by February so the odds are already against you.
Don’t get me wrong. I used to be one of these imbeciles. I made resolutions. Often they were big things, like stopping chasing emotionally unavailable men (smashed this), drinking less alcohol (nailed it) and cutting my sugar intake (I’m on fire). But depriving myself of the things I loved most wasn’t the best way to stop, it only made me want them more.
Instead, I chose to fulfil those resolutions when I felt the time was right, whether that be in March or August or November. And in reality, I became a happier person knowing exactly what I wanted. A new year shouldn’t be an excuse to pressure yourself into something you haven’t fully committed to. If you do, you’ve set yourself up to fail.
Whether you believe a new year will encourage you to become a better you, it should also be the time to shower yourself in abundance of good energy and continue as you are. If you procrastinate, it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down and rest. If you reach for the bottle, AA always offers breakdown cover.
So eat that bag of Maltesers, scoop up your emotionally unavailable love interest and sail into a happier, more energetic and boozeful new year.