I don’t like this time of year. The days are short and grey, the weather is rainy and windy and makes the outside utterly uninviting. If it weren’t for my SAD light box, I would be sitting in a corner wishing the days away until spring. And that’s without the stresses of Christmas and the New Year festivities.
Then there are New Year resolutions. I don’t do those any more. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t like to be fitter, slimmer and more relaxed — I would — but those are year-round goals, not ones to be kick-started on the first of January only to be discarded over the next weeks and months.
And even if I were to pick a starting date for any new endeavour, it really wouldn’t be January 1st. I’m not sure I can actually think of a worse time to try to start something new, especially something that requires self-motivation and willpower.
On January 1st, the chances are you’ve just spent the last week or two over-indulging, you’ve had time off work, your routine is non-existent, and the house is probably still full of food that doesn’t fit in with the usual healthy living resolutions, and on top of that there was a late night seeing in the New Year. And you’re expected to leap out of bed ready to go on a diet, stop smoking, stop drinking, start exercising, find a new job, be nice to people, take up a new hobby…
The only New Year’s resolution I make is to never try to make any major changes in the first week of January.
Instead, take that time to get back to normal, reacquire your personal baseline. Maybe do some preparation: research the type of exercise you want to try first or the diet changes you can make and live with, or find someone who will hold you accountable for whatever it is you want to stop. Or simply reassess your choice of resolution away from the glare of everyone else’s expectations.
There’s been enough stress over the holiday period, why add to it? Just relax a little and actually have a happy New Year.