Opinion

New year, new you: What are you left with after all the January fads?

Christmas is over and 2018 is in full swing – that means giving up all the things you scoffed and swigged at the end of 2017 in a transformative journey towards a better you

January 2018

This is your year. That 2017 version of you who wouldn’t get off the sofa for anything less than a full pack of Jaffa Cakes has been left behind from the very second you sung half-remembered, half-slurred words to Auld Lang Syne. New year, new you.

Assuming you got this far into 2018 with your resolutions intact – ahem – you will now be partaking in the nation’s favourite January pastime – giving stuff up.

It’s cold and dark outside, there are more pounds on your waist than in the bank and your cupboards are packed with the last remnants of the festive stodge, so time to kick the booze and anything you love and indulge in January’s greatest import – misery.

First, you’ll lay off the beer because, let’s face it, Dry January is now an institution. Alcohol Concern’s campaign has become ever-more popular since launching in 2014 – more than 3 million people are expected to attempt abstaining from alcohol for 31 days this year. Whether you want to replace drink with incessant social media posts about how you’ve successfully completed another painstaking day is, of course, completely up to you.

If your life is devoid of awkward portmanteaus then you could also opt for Veganuary.

Already barred from the beer, you can give meat, dairy, eggs and honey the elbow for the start of the new year, which already sounds great because it involves eating no more turkey.

Veganism means eschewing all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose – so you can forget that leather jacket that Santa brought you too.

But at least you’ve got chocolate, right? It sustained you through Christmas with the relatives and with many dark chocolate bars – between 55 and 85 per cent purity – fit for vegan lifestyle it can get you through Veganuary too. For the next 40 years anyway – if US scientists’ estimates for when cacao plants will go extinct are correct.

You are eating better and you’re off the alcohol, it’s time to give up that other vice – sitting down. Mental health charity Mind are challenging people to run every day in their R.E.D. January initiative, allowing you to flex your muscles in support of the grey matter upstairs.

And even that doesn’t get you to hit the ground running in the new year, you could always give something back too. The Prince’s Trust is urging people to stop ditching stuff and take up volunteering instead as an e-mentor supporting young people in courses on everything from business plans to finance. So what once was filled with gin and ice cream will now be replaced by a warm glow at least.

Rest assured, you will finish your gruelling 31-day journey transformed – a lean, mean healthy-eating, tee-total, marathon-running, serial-volunteering Adonis. Or maybe you’ll give in after a week, rummage around the cupboard for the last mince pie and nip of sherry and tackle 2018 with the same vigour that got you here in the first place. Up to you.

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