Resolving to make better resolutions...

29 January 2014

I want to talk about New Year's Resolutions. Don't worry, you haven't woken up from a really epic...

...Groundhog Day style hangover to find it's STILL January 1st, it is indeed nearly February, but it's never too late to make a change for the better.

According to big bad science, January 17th is the most common day for people to give up on their New Year's Resolutions. Yep, that's a fairly pathetic 17 days of 'effort' before our naughty former selves come back to life. Head to the gym in the first week of January and it's not much different to taking the Central Line at 8.07am on a Tuesday: sweaty, horrible and rammed full of people looking tired and sad. Go today and there'll be half as many people queueing for the treadmills.

The point is that January 1st is not the best time to decide on big life changes. By New Year's Day we tend to be broke, bloated, hungover and sick to death of our nearest and dearest.

"I'm so awful! All I do is drink sherry and watch crap telly and eat sausage rolls" you'll cry, whilst vowing to take up rock climbing and learn Japanese. The thing is, you probably don't watch that much telly and eat THAT many sausage rolls at any other time of the year.

Christmas has us all behaving pretty badly so we naturally come up with resolutions that are the polar opposite of this. What's the opposite of all the Christmas drinking? NEVER DRINKING AGAIN! What's the opposite of eating a Terry's Chocolate Orange twice a day? NEVER EATING CHOCOLATE AGAIN! Or, better yet, NEVER EATING SUGAR AGAIN! (Why is this so trendy?! Argggh!). You can see how we end up in this weird mindset of banning stuff completely as we're simply so overindulged and ashamed of ourselves that we reach the point where no more crisps/vodka/duvets actually becomes appealing.

According to one survey, 60% of people made the same resolution this year as last year. So that pretty much sums up how effective they are. A Journal of Clinical Psychology study found that only 8% of people ultimately succeed with their resolution goals by the end of the year, but on a more positive note it was also found that people who do make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behaviour than those who don't. As long as there's a will there's a way? Maybe.

A new year simply tempts us to make a change, just like how a new pad of paper makes us want to write neatly or diets 'have to' start on Mondays. But we're all adults here, we don't NEED an entire new shiny 'year' to make us do stuff. We can change our lives whenever we damn well please - and it's important to remember that. Vital, in fact.

I don't think there's anything wrong with making your 2014 resolutions now, after all February is the shortest month so at least the first month can be over and done with quicker!

If you are going to make goals and targets for yourself just do yourself a favour and make them realistic, achievable and measurable. Have a strategy in place. Instead of "I want to lose weight" say something like "I want to lose seven pounds by the end of March and I will do this by going for a 30 minute run three times a week and not eating cake all the time".

Don't be too hard on yourself and just remember that's it's never too late to change for the better.

To quote Nina Simone, it's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me....and I'm feeling good.

Poppy Dinsey is the founder and editor of the UK's largest outfit sharing site Poppy has been named by The Evening Standard as one of London's "1000 Most Influential People" and has been heralded by Stylist Magazine as "changing the face of the fashion industry". Her favourite cocktail is a Pornstar Martini and you can tweet her at @PoppyD.

Poppy Dinsey Late Night London

Poppy Dinsey