Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the month of November. For many years it was an ugly duckling. A rather dull insignificance when compared to the festive delights of December, or a damp and chilly reminder (after a misleadingly warm October) that autumn was finally here. Its capacity to disappoint was only leavened by the fireworks of Guy Fawkes Night, yet even this was deeply unpopular amongst the canine community.
However, in the last few years November's image has started to change. First came the birth of 'Movember', not just an extravaganza of top lip topiary but also a fundraiser for a worthwhile cause. And if that wasn't exciting enough, these moustaches are all being grown at the same time as entertainment behemoths Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor really start to come to the boil. Now, you may think I am rather clutching at straws here, but there has been another development which has pushed November firmly into the reckoning when to comes to a list of Britain's top months. That's because over the last few days it's been suggested that November is now the best time to make a New Years Resolution. Not only does this seem counterintuitive, but I should imagine that it's causing much annoyance to January.
So how did this situation arise? Well, new research has shown that by the first week of November, 71% of us are already thinking about the opportunity that the New Year presents to make changes in our lives. Unfortunately, the research also suggests that we're almost certainly doomed to fail, with a staggering 68% giving up within the month of January itself. This has prompted a life coach called Suzy Greaves (who is also editor of Psychologies Magazine) to urge people to boycott January resolutions and just start right now, instead. Suzy says:
"I think we should ban New Years Resolutions forever! Only 11 percent of us keep these resolutions, so at the beginning of the year we are setting ourselves up to fail. People are living in a 'magic la la' land thinking that they can change their lives in an instant - but they won't. It takes time, effort and small sustainable changes over a period of at least 66 days to create real change. The time to change is now rather than waiting for New Year."
Suzy has not just plucked the figure of 66 days out of thin air. It comes from a report published by Dr Ben Gardner, a health psychology lecturer at UCL. He estimated that it takes 66 days to form a new habit, contrary to the popular wisdom of 3 weeks. He agrees with the call to consign New Years Resolutions to the dustbin.
"New Years resolutions place too much emphasis on January as a time to change, when as long as you are motivated you can make a change at anytime. It you have the motivation, there is simply no reason to wait."
No reason to wait, eh? In which case I feel obliged to make a stand and bring my New Years Resolution forward to November, which as we have already discovered is now the all singing and dancing uber-fashionable 'greatest month in the world ever'. My task for 2014 was to spend less time blogging and instead learn to speak a new language, but I guess that had better start now instead - so it's auf wiedersehen from me.