New Year, New Me?

Staff writer Clara Brannigan looks at the positives and challenges of post New Year’s fads.

The tradition of making a New Year’s Resolution is centuries old and most of us have vouched to make changes at one point or another. The New Year often inspires motivation for self-improvement, which for many involves getting healthy, losing weight, or giving up smoking. Approximately 50% of the population make resolutions each New Year.

After the celebrations and overindulgence of the Christmas period, there comes a time at the beginning of January when people start pledging to go on diets and change their eating habits. These New Year’s resolutions may give some people the motivation needed to kick-start a healthy lifestyle, but are they sustainable?

There are many New Year’s fads that have emerged such as ‘Dry January.’ This is the annual movement developed by the UK charity ‘Alcohol Concern’ through which millions of people give up alcohol for the month of January. This trend has made its way to Ireland, it drives a conversation about alcohol consumption and why we drink, but experts are divided over whether giving up alcohol for a month is the answer to our culture’s troubled relationship with alcohol. The latest trend is ‘veganuary,’ with an increasing rise in people turning to a plant-based diet; many tried going vegan for the month of January.

experts are divided over whether giving up alcohol for a month is the answer to our culture’s troubled relationship with alcohol.

One particularly popular Irish trend is joining groups like ‘Slimming World’ or ‘Operation Transformation.’ OTwo spoke to Maura Laramie who is in her final year of Social Science. She shared her journey of choosing a New Year’s Resolution to become healthier. She joined operation transformation “to become fitter.” Maura noticed that people joined to “lose weight, for stress relief and some for the social aspect of it.” The support you are given in these groups can be the key part of staying motivated and reaching your goals. This can be a positive starting place for people as it feels like a fresh start while also embracing a lifestyle change and not a restrictive diet.

Now that it’s February many may have forgotten these resolutions and have gone back to their normal lives, but there are still some who find it motivational. It may not work for everyone but “It’s important to remember that you can change anything you want in your life at any time, and you have to start somewhere.” The key to keeping your New Year’s Resolution is to remember the supports out there, and to keep it realistic so that it doesn’t become more of a weight on your life.