New Year, New You…Or The Same You…Honestly, It’s Fine by Tom Beasley

As I write this latest column, we’re still in the first week of a new year and indeed a new decade. We never quite came up with a good name for the 2010s, but we now don’t need to spend time worrying about that for another hundred years. Lucky us, that will free up at least enough time to catch up on a few Netflix shows. We’re now back in the 20s, which presumably won’t be as ‘roaring’ as they were a century ago. In fact, Terrifying Twenties feels far more likely at this point.

But let’s park the negativity for now because New Year is a time for optimism and new beginnings. Indeed, by the time you read this, you might still be in the midst of a semi-successful resolution or just about clinging to the calorie limit of your latest healthy eating regime. Or maybe, you’ve failed dramatically and you’re currently two thirds of the way through a Terry’s Chocolate Orange while cancelling your gym membership online.

And if you have, it’s totally fine.

We all put enormous pressure on our 21st century lives, and that pressure is never more acute than in the first quarter of any year. For some reason, we swerve abruptly from the all-eating, all-drinking festival of consumption over Christmas into a period of enforced detox. Appropriately, you’re often eating cold turkey while going cold turkey. Whether it’s Dry January keeping you off the booze or the recently popular Veganuary keeping you away from the aforementioned turkey, there’s always something restrictive to adhere to, with little hope of success.

But what’s the point, really? It’s pretty difficult to change your way of life in one fell swoop by doing something drastic, just because of what the calendar says. All that happens is that you spend February hooked up to a vodka drip with a mountain of boxes of Quality Street, undoing any of the good work you managed the previous month. No gym membership in the world is enough to recover from that.

That doesn’t mean that you should give up, though. It just means that a little dose of realism is required. Maybe give Dry January a miss this year and just drink a bit less. Veganuary might be a long shot, but there’s no reason not to try making a meat-free meal each week. You don’t have to turn your workout schedule into a body-sculpting odyssey akin to that of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, but a couple of weekly visits to the gym is not an unachievable goal.

The notion of ‘New Year, new you’ is absurd, but there’s no reason that it can’t be an incentive to make some incremental changes. It doesn’t have to be wedded to the new calendar you’ve purchased and it certainly doesn’t have to happen immediately. We put so much pressure on the New Year when, really, it doesn’t matter whether the changes happen in January, June or October. They’ll probably all have been reversed by next Christmas anyway, as soon as there’s a discount on pigs in blankets at the corner shop.

But, of course, I’m the very last person you should be listening to on this front. I’m currently three quarters of the way through a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and I’ve only made one visit to the gym so far. Maybe I should have tried for cold turkey after all.

© 2020 Tom Beasley

Tom Beasley is a freelance film journalist living just outside London and originally from Coventry. He can be reached at tomjbeasley@gmail.com.