Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'I've failed to keep to my New Year's resolutions - they have fallen by the wayside'

In The Red

Congratulations. If you're reading this you can feel proud. You've successfully survived the most miserable day of the year: It was on Monday, apparently. "Blue Monday": the day we feel our post-Christmas depression the most acutely. The formula considers six factors: weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year's resolutions, low motivational levels and the feeling of a need to take action.

Personally, only two of these actually bother me. Weather? Pah. Anyway, at least we didn't have any snow on Monday. And time since Christmas ... well to be honest I'm rather enjoying a break from all forced festivity and heavy-duty hard-sell. Low motivation? It's not exactly a new sensation as far as I'm concerned. And feeling a need to take action? Erm, that's rather negated by my low motivation. Ho Hum.

The things which do usually bother me, though, are the other two. The debt, and the failed new year's resolutions. Ever year, in mid-January, it's the same story: after several weeks of blinkered denial, I'll take a look at my bank balance and realise just how awful my financial state is. This year's been no different: how exactly did I manage to spend so much in December? I can count the number of people I buy Christmas presents for on one hand, and yet ... every year I seem to spend more. Still, at least I've received my January pay cheque, which had eased the pain a little, I suppose.

The failed new year's resolutions are potentially more serious. This year – as I mentioned several weeks ago – I made numerous lofty plans for self improvement. These have largely fallen by the wayside: far from consuming "more meaningfully" (ie spending money on substantial things like foreign travel and, er, photography classes); I've slipped back into my bad old habits of stopping by the local newsagent on my way home to pick up my daily "treat" – whether that's the latest glossy magazine or a mini-pack of chocolate. And I've failed to "streamline" all my subscriptions phone bills and bank accounts. I just haven't had the time. Crucially, though, I've kept one of them. The most important one. Since discovering just how well my Ikea thermos works (ever since buying it I, perhaps illogically, had simply assumed it was such a cheap piece of tat that it wouldn't be able to keep a chilli hot – let alone a pint of soup), I've been faithfully bringing my own lunch into work. Apart, that is, from the days on which I run in, when some of the money saved on the tube fare can go on my favourite salad from M&S. So, it's not all bad. Blue Monday? I've seen worse.

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