What your Lent resolution says about you

So you’re giving up chocolate again?



W e  g e t  i t. You smoke. You’ve been smoking for almost eight years now and this Lent it really is time to stop. Except for when you’re stressed. Or when you’ve had a drink. Or when he “fucks you over” (note: it’s hard to smoke through tearful gulps). Or when you’re bored. How about, instead of gasping “I must give up” every time you spark a fag, you actually summon your willpower, download the NHS Stop Smoking app, and do it. It’s really, really, really bad for you. You have self-identified as a smoker for too long and it’s not even an elite any more, because you’re not 16 and it’s not cool. Stop talking about it and start doing it. 


It’s a quip on the group WhatsApp because you’re having a dry spell and it’s bothering you. The joke is too revealing.


Everyday, the office feeder goes to Sainsbury’s at lunch and returns with biscuits, or ‘cinema’ grab bags, or a few family sized bars of Dairy Milk. The selections are adjusted according to season but your willpower remains consistently disappointing. So you’ve told everyone – your workmates, your Facebook newsfeed, your Instagram followers via a vintage photo of a small child with its head in a cake – that you’re taking on “the challenge”. Everyone at work will now hate you more than they hate the person who is buying the biccies and making them just a little bit fat. 


Oh my God you were so drunk last night! And last weekend – this is classic – so last weekend you woke up fully dressed, the wrong way round the bed. Looks like you threw up in the shower because there’s something on the house WhatsApp that suggests you need to do some cleaning, and apologising. Thing is though, you just want to see if you can. It’s not a big deal – and if you really want a drink, you’ll still have one. In fact, maybe you’ll just give up weekday drinking. Or like, Monday to Thursday. Or Monday to Wednesday.


LOL! You need to get out more.


You have an unimaginative hangover three times a week.


You’ll just nip in on the way to get a coffee. That’s £2.50. You’ve finished it in three gulps and you’re still five minutes from the office. Better keep carrying the cup, anyway – you want to show people You Drink Coffee. Lunchtime? Guess you’ll get some fresh air, and – oh, just nip into Pret and see what the soup is. Pea and Mint? £3.50? Sure, because it would take five more minutes to go to Tesco and buy one to heat up in the office microwave. Better take a bag to show people You Buy Lunch. Someone’s doing a coffee run? Are you going to Pret? Yeah I’ll get a flat white. You’ve spent a tenner on Pret. That’s £50 a week and £200 a month. You should probably give up being basic for Lent.


Saying you’re giving up cheese for Lent is basically a neat way to distract from having a personality. It’s middle-class signalling: you know your Brillat-Savarin from your Caprice des Dieux. They’re both Brie, which anyone with Google can work out. You like wine, too, don’t you? Saying you like wine is basically a neat way to show everyone you find ‘playing at being an adult‘ really satisfying. 

Buying coffee

Every week you resolve to give up buying coffee because you can add up and you know you’re spending at least £20 a week – more if you include the dark chocolate-covered rice cakes you get with your lunchtime flat white. Vaguely, you know you’re packing an extra 400 calories. You’ll go five days and you’ll literally just forget and wander into Nero’s. Worried about the calories? Go for a run. Worried about the money? Stop buying Prosecco on a Thursday. You definitely drink Prosecco on a Thursday. 


You don’t know that everything contains sugar. Midway through the month you’ll be eating fruit and someone will point out it contains sugar.


First you gave up smoking, and boy did you talk about it. You subjected your colleagues to your new routine: wafting vapourised water and nicotine across the room. Now, you are putting an end to the vape because you saw some Essex boys chaining one on a night out. Except you don’t because you are addicted to nicotine. You just don’t vape in the office any more.


All the substitutes contain loads of fat. You get fat.


What does it even taste of, and why am I having 20 cups a day? It makes my teeth just as stained as coffee does, and even though I’ve been drinking it all my life I still don’t know what it tastes of. I’ll still be having fruit teas though.

Junk food

It’s the sort of glorious catch-all term that excludes many things that should probably also be considered “junk”. Sure, you’ve swapped chocolate for nuts, but now you’re eating a whole bag of cashews over the course of the day, which is probably an extra 1500 calories. 


You dunno. You thought coke would be fun, or at least transform you from a suburban banter merchant into louche, ennui-afflicted, gorgeous Bret Easton Ellis hero. Well, you got the ennui part but you’re still a dickhead and have far less money and far fewer friends. 


You don’t even use it that often but you like to use it as a signpost for your personality (“I’m such a mess! I’m just always in an Uber! Look at the state of me!”). Talking about giving it up is a useful way to suggest you are wild.

By Grace Vielma, Phoebe Luckhurst, Tom Jenkin, Cat Reid, Bella Eckhart, Will Lloyd, Bobby Palmer, Jack Cummings, Oli Dugmore, Lauren Raine, Cloe Fernandez-Barnes.