Thinking of embarking on a 2018 fitness plan? Think twice before you tell the world
In a week's time, Christmas will be over and we'll all be thinking towards our New Year's resolutions. A few days later and our social media feeds will be clogged up with the digital manifestos of friends and family members announcing their personal goals and plans to join Crossfit.
There are all sorts of reasons that people announce their goals before they act upon them. Some do it because they believe they are signing a social contract of sorts. Articulate a goal and it moves from fantasy to reality. Better still, you now have something to prove to the naysayers.
Others broadcast their New Year's resolutions because they confuse taking action with talking about taking action. Announcing their plan to stop eating sugar is the first brave step - they'll take the rest of the journey just as soon as they finish that selection box...
Next month, our feeds will also be filled with all manner of pop-psychology articles on making resolutions that stick, many of which will advise you to share your goals with others if you want to succeed.
This is partly true. Share your goals with a partner or a close friend and they can offer you support, gentle encouragement and that all-important pat on the back.
But for the love of all that is good and holy, don't tell your local parish, your 412 Facebook friends or - as Katherine Lynch learned the hard way - the entire nation.
The comedian and actress recently admitted that she regrets taking part in RTE's Operation Transformation, during which she lost 13.5lbs.
"I'm so sick of Operation Transformation, I really wish I didn't do it," she said. "Because people stop me with my basket in the supermarket and say: 'Oh, should you really have that?' "And then women fluctuate," she added. "We fluctuate that stone all the time. Some people are lucky enough that it's a couple of pounds, (but) it's probably a stone that I fluctuate with."
Of course, this is the problem with announcing goals - people automatically think you're serious. They believe you are so serious, in fact, that you had to draw on the support of the wider community.
Tell a large group of people that you're trying to lose weight and you'll soon notice bread baskets being discreetly pushed out of your way at dinner tables. Tell people that you're trying to quit drinking and you'll soon notice a suspicious lack of invites to social events.
Tell these people that you've abandoned your goals, however, and you'll soon wish you never said anything at all.
Just think back to the people you know who announced their resolutions far and wide last year: the friend-of-a-friend who took to Facebook to broadcast his decision to quit drinking; the weight-watching colleague who declared that she would no longer be partaking in Office Cake Club, going forward.
When these types break their resolutions, they aren't just conforming to the cliché like the rest of us. No, this is much more serious.
The friend-of-a-friend clearly can't quit drinking; your colleague's eating is obviously out of control.
Resolution-declarers might just be experiencing a simple lack of will power, but the gravity with which they make these yearly proclamations leads the rest of us to conclude that they are struggling to stay on the straight and narrow.
The more people we tell about our goals, the more momentous they become - so think twice before you tell the world.
Drawing a line on fashion industry ageism
There is a trickle-down effect when a 16-year-old (Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford) becomes the new face of the fashion industry.
It sends the message that anyone over the age of 30 is ready for the scrapheap or, at the very least, a visit to the Botox doctor.
So hats off to Versace for their latest campaign which features the school-aged newcomer alongside a group of older models, including Naomi Campbell (46), Christy Turlington (48) and Gisele Bündchen (37). Turlington is wearing all of the brand's iconic accessories in one of the campaign images - the silk patterned scarf, the Medusa-embellished sunglasses - but it's the life-affirming lines etched across her face that stand out.
Apparently photographer Steven Meisel saw sense and decided not to airbrush them out. And while it might not represent a sea change, it's certainly a good start.