January, Full of cold mornings, grey skies and the constant effort to shift the Christmas bulge. But for a many January is full of optimism. It’s a chance to start a fresh and finally get the type of life style they’ve wanted for a while (or at least failed to get last January). Part of this ‘New Year, New Me’ ritual is taking part in lifestyle based awareness months, the most notable being Dry January, and the increasingly popular ‘Veganuary’.
Dry January, for those who don’t know is the challenge to give up alcohol for the month. Likewise Veganuary, as you may have guessed involves giving up your vegan friends for a whole month……either that or it may be adopting the vegan lifestyle for the first month of the New Year; living without any animal-based products in at least your diet, if not your life all together.
Atomik Research polled 2002 UK Adults to find out just how many people are actively participating in these two challenges. Of the two, Dry January has the highest participation, with 21% taking part compared to just 8% giving up the carnivorous lifestyle. However participation levels were highest across both challenges with the 25-34-year-old age group which could suggest participation was linked to stereotypical millennial culture. It also fits with what author David Burstein describes as millennial “pragmatic idealism”, which is a deep desire to make the world a better place.
However 50% of those binning the booze say they are doing so for health reasons which may suggest a more selfish motive overall. 32% are doing so for charity yet 34% are taking part solely because their friends are doing so. The North East bucked the national trend, as charity was their main inspiration (46%) to give up drinking for the month, followed by doing so as a New Year’s Resolution (43%) and the concept of doing so to challenge themselves (41%). In fact health, which was the main reason nationally, came 5th.
When it comes to Veganuary, health was the second most popular motivator (51%) behind Environmental reasons (54%). Women were more likely to do be doing so for the health benefits (54%), whereas environmental reasons were more likely to spur on men to take part (59%). Men were also twice as likely to be taking part for charity (31% v 14%).
Unsurprisingly agricultural regions, the North East, South West and Northern Ireland were more keen on ditching animal based products than the rest of the country for potential environmental welfare (82%, 75%, 71%).
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the reasons for participation by age. A higher percentage of 45-54-year-olds were taking part in Veganuary as an experiment compared to other age groups (57%). Likewise more people from the same age group were doing so as part of a Christmas detox (43%).
Despite these findings, the verdict is still out on whether participants of either challenge are enjoying January.