So it's less than two weeks in and you've probably already given up on your New Year fitness regime - am I right? Well, good for you if you haven't, but there's no shame if you've gone back to huddling indoors with Netflix and cookies. The truth is, January is just the worst time to begin anything new.
Statistics show that 80% of people have failed to keep their New Year resolutions by the beginning of February. Most people chalk that down to a simple lack of willpower, but there's evidence to suggest that your inability not to eat chocolate isn't actually your fault. It's all down to the seasons.
While the Winter Solstice is a celebration of the Winter months being on the wane, it's still very much the middle of Winter by January 1. Animals are still in hibernation, so technically you should be too. Not literally, of course, but if your instinct is to stay inside and get fat then that's probably the best thing you can do for yourself.
Many cultures believe that starting anything on January 1, whether it be a new diet or a project, is doomed to failure. We have Spring celebrations to welcome new life into the world, and that's the perfect time to start your life over too.
Pagans celebrate a cross-quarter day on February 1 called Imbolc where they focus on Spring cleaning. It's their time to adopt an out with the old and in with the new attitude as nature sees new life "spring" forth in the form of lambs, bunnies and daffodils. The Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, also begins at the beginning of February (February 5 this year) and similarly encourages Spring cleaning and leaving ill fortune behind.
As you are a part of a nature, you are much more likely to see success if your own rebirth comes in harmony with everything else.
There are also financial benefits to delaying your diet until February. Gyms and sports brands often bump up their prices as guilty Christmas revellers flock to the treadmills in their hoardes on January 1, so it's probably best to avoid the price hike (and the crowds) until the next month - when everyone else has given up.
So, actually, that meme on social media that jokes about January being just a free trial month is more true than you thought.