Welcome to January. The shining star of new beginnings, bright ideas and gleaming promise.
Riiiiight. So, how exactly is that working out for you?
The first New Year resolutions were made by the Babylonians who made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would pay back their debts and return borrowed items (I know some people who might want to return some things they’ve borrowed actually…) and the Romans used to begin each year by making promises to the God Janus.
January is the coldest, longest and meanest of months and yet, each year, we set ourselves up for disappointment and failure. We should be cherishing ourselves, not beating ourselves up trying to do a million new things or meet daft targets we think we should set ourselves because our peers tell us to. Cultural, health, diet, improving ourselves… Statistics show that over half of us who make New Year Resolutions will have given up by the end of January.
Why do we do it to ourselves?
What makes us think that because of some symbolic date we are going to change overnight? Suddenly we will discover that will power to lose weight; find time to read those books; discover the ideal job. No we won’t. We didn’t have it before and some arbitrary date isn’t going to make us have it now.
A light bulb moment will make us find it. A light bulb moment that comes to us on a rainy Wednesday morning when we look at the state of our fingernails and they finally repulse us so much we know we have to do something about it. Or on a Thursday afternoon when we have struggled to run to catch the bus and missed it, we realise we need get fitter. Or when we collapse at the end of a long Friday at the end of a long week and realise that yes, we really do need a new job. Those times will occur when you are ready – not because someone has declared they should be decided now.
If January really fills you with good intentions then go for it. But if you make resolutions because you think you ‘should’, give yourself a break this year. Don’t add pressure in a month when the bills are high, the sun is low and so are our spirits. Nurture yourself for sure, but save the improvements until after Valentine’s Day, when the light of Spring is at the end of the tunnel. Renew yourself then, along with the rest of nature.
Happy New Year. May you get the 2015 that you deserve and perhaps think about making this your only resolution this year…