The January cliches: running, Nutribullets and ending your marriage
Workplaces reek of dirty runners, reheated soup and the pious stench of self-flagellation
In January, the office kitchen fills with the pungent aroma of other people’s reheated veg curry and lentil Bolognese. Photograph: Ross Anania/Getty Images
The office reeks of dirty runners, other people’s reheated, spiralised vegetables, and the pious stench of self-flagellation: there’s no mistaking the seductive whiff of January in the air.
If there were any doubt that humans are an irrational species, we can safely put it to bed every January. This is the darkest, coldest, brokest month of the year – and yet it’s also the one we have adopted as the optimum time to swear off booze, punish our bodies with exercise classes and wheatgrass diets, and consign our evenings to learning the art of candle-making in underheated community centres.
Here are some warning signs you may have become a January cliché:
1. Embarking on a hipster diet
This January, it’s all about “clean eating” and the Whole30 diet. These are deceptively wholesome sounding names for what is basically a form of ritualised self-harm, involving cutting out sugar, alcohol, gluten, grains, “gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa”, dairy, weighing yourself and fun of all kinds. Your reward for all this punishment is that you get to boast about how you’re on a diet which was recently ranked as the least effective of 38 diets in a US survey. On the upside, the Whole30 diet does allow ghee. What a time to be alive.
2. Signing up to a hipster exercise class
A hipster exercise trend is one that sounds like it was conceived with a toddlers’ birthday party in mind. Anyone for trampolining? Rabble – a one-hour class of playground games like dodgeball and capture the flag? Or crawling around on all fours?
3. Starting a bullet journal
A bullet journal is a collection of tasks and goals written in bullet points in a customised notebook. In other words, it is a “to do” list for adults who never quite outgrew their fancy paper collection. (Wait. That actually sounds brilliant.)
4. Saying: “Well, that’s it done and dusted”
For the last two weeks, this has been your standard greeting – your signal to the world that not only are you not the kind of person to get all sentimental and gushy about Christmas, you’re far too pragmatic to get caught up in any of this “new year, new you” January nonsense either. A pair of wellies and a brisk walk down a country lane will do nicely, thank you very much.
5. Posting a photo of your feet in a pristine pair of runners to Instagram
After which you take the runners off, and lie down in a darkened room. You’ll go for a run tomorrow. Or never.
6. Actually going for a 20-minute run
. . . and then spending the subsequent 35 minutes wheezing on the hall floor.
7. Googling waist-trainers
These are corsets for the gym, popularised by Kim Kardashian. They don’t actually help weight loss, and can cause constipation, acid reflux, breathing difficulties, fainting and the rearrangement of several of your major internal organs – a walk in the park to anyone who has ever undergone a bikini wax.
8. Ending your marriage
Globally, one in five divorces are said to be filed in the first month of the year. January is also reputedly the peak month for sign-ups to dating sites, and the month of the year when affairs are most likely to start, according to a dating site specialising in extra-marital liaisons.
9. Asking: “Did you make that yourself?”
This has replaced “Have you all your shopping done?” as the conversation starter of choice in the office kitchen, which will be filled throughout this month with the pungent aroma of other people’s reheated vegetable curry and lentil Bolognese.
10. Turning flexitarian or doing Veganuary
The best way to be a vegetarian is to be a half-hearted one. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will hate you, but who cares? You’ll weigh 15 per cent less, live 3.6 years longer than meat-eaters, and still get to look forward to the odd sausage sandwich.
11. Investing in any of all of the following:
A Nutribullet/tiger nuts/a spiraliser/a bumper box of protein powder/new sportswear that would probably look amazing if you could just figure out how to get into it.
12. Investing in a Full Stop Bowl
The latest trendy kitchen gadget is a bowl designed to replicate the shape of your stomach and help you to gauge the right portion size for your stomach. It works as an appetite suppressant mainly because who wants to eat their porridge out of something that anatomical?
13. Changing job
According to Glassdoor, January is the most popular month to change job, with 18 per cent of employees choosing to move to a new role, where they’ll soon discover the office kitchen smells just as bad.