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Image / Editorial

Whatever you do, don’t do a New Year’s resolution

by Holly O'Neill
06th Jan 2020

Are you in a January shame spiral?

Have you changed everything yet? It’s January, you know. And it’s 2020 – not just a new year, a new decade.

If you’re not feeling guilty over everything you have enjoyed since the clock struck midnight on January 1, you are doing it wrong.

Now that you’ve read every single good thing that happened to everyone you know over the last ten years via Instagram Stories, it’s time to take stock of your life. Was the last decade as happy for you as it was for everyone else on Instagram? Thought not.

So what are your goals and objectives for the next ten years? Did you sit down with your new notebook, like everyone else on Instagram, and make a list of all the greatness that will happen to you once you stop eating / buying trend-focused fashion / spending four hours a day on Instagram / letting work become too much / cancelling on friends in favour of Netflix? No me either. I was too busy eating cheese.

But it’s the first month of a new decade, which means it’s time to reevaluate and change everything about your life, from your diet to your sleep, fitness levels, career, skincare routine, wardrobe and hairstyle. Oh and mindfulness. Don’t forget to fit in some mindfulness.

The race is on. Having just come down from the rush of finding the perfect Christmas present, cheeseboard and selection of outfits to wear over the break, we enter the new rush, the rush of The Perfect Wardrobe. The normal level of guilt and pressure to become the new you in January feels significantly stronger now that we enter a new decade, and this decades version of me plans on owning a curated selection of wardrobe-essentials. Like French women. I will quit fast fashion, but in order to do this, I must throw out all my sad, old clothes from the last decade and enter into a new decade with all-new, shiny things.

I must have those chunky leather boots in all the shops at the moment, especially this & Other Stories pair, but I’m sure I’m too small to pull off such a long boot. I must have the perfect sized handbag to fit everything in, though no matter the size of the handbag, I always tend to fill it to stretching point. I must own a vinyl belted mackintosh (yes, like The Matrix) though I’m not sure if I really do like them or if the influencers have just got to me. I need weather-proof, durable clothing, the clothing of a woman with places to go and people to see, not a woman who spent the last two weeks eating chocolate oranges in M&S loungewear while binge-watching season two of You on Netflix.

After a month of excess and bunking off early from work and eating brie all day, everything feels a bit disarming and serious again. No one is drinking anymore and everyone who was a prosecco fiend last week is now a vegan. The fact we could no longer put brandy cream in our morning coffee this morning and can’t eat shortbread on the hour, every hour, will be significantly less hard to digest with a new belted, beige knitted wool dress and if we are expected to wear footwear other than Uggs again, we must have new leather boots.

Just one problem. We are supposed to be mindfully purchasing now. We have an elevated cultural consciousness now about the environment. It is borderline taboo to suggest you ditch your wardrobe and head to the shops and splurge on a new one. The Earth is burning down around us, for heaven’s sake. Give it a rest, and give your old boots a wash.

Well, I want you to know that it is not your fault. New Year’s resolutions are predestined to fail. Your body is still craving pâté for breakfast, it’s lashing rain out and you’ve a new fresh diary with absolutely no night outs scheduled and nothing to wear your new wardrobe of sequin dresses and glitter eyeshadow to. Take this month off from quitting all things you love, and try again any other month when you don’t have to take down the Christmas tree and face your email inbox and commute again. Just promise me that you won’t put it on Instagram and send us all down another shame spiral for having failed our own resolution to quit wine.

If the world’s pressure to change everything about yourself including your hairstyle (please, take my most strongly held beauty belief to heart: you don’t need bangs, you need eyelash extensions) has become too much, just take your time. You can’t quit everything you love, including wine, chicken wings, milk in your tea and sugar in your coffee all at once. What’s the point in living another 30 years if you can’t eat chocolate? Take it one at a time or just try to cut back so that you’re not living a life of misery.

We’ll be grand, we’ll get through it. By next week, everyone else will have failed their resolutions too and have stopped posting goat’s milk lattes and Pilates classes on their Stories. Take an Instagram Story break until February and come back when everyone’s eating chocolate again. That’s all you need. Well, and those & Other Stories boots.

Photography by & Other Stories.

Read more: I wear the exact same bra all the time (please don’t judge me)

Read more: Do girls inherit their body image issues from their mothers? 10 women tell us what they think

Read more: World War 3 memes have taken over social media — but not everyone is laughing

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