It’s January. The Christmas and New Year festivities have been and gone in what seems like a flash. You’ve just taken down the tree for twelfth night. A growing sense of foreboding engulfs you as you contemplate going back to work and ‘getting back to normal’. You had a great time, but feel sluggish from all the excess food, drink and celebrations.
So why do we choose this time to set New Year’s resolutions?
It’s completely bonkers.
Apparently 88% of all New Year resolutions end in failure. We tend to make similar resolutions each year – “I’ll lose two stones”, “I’ll finally get the bike out of the cellar” or “I’ll take up that hobby I’ve been meaning to do for years”.
I agree with goal setting in general – having something specific to aim for, staying focused, achieving a goal that increases your feelings of wellbeing.
But, as I was reflecting whilst in the throes of pre-schooler tantrums, endless snack and drink making and trying to tidy the house the other day, the beginning of January is most certainly not the time.
Here are my personal reasons why I’ll still be eating cheese, the odd chocolate and berating myself for not going to the gym in January:
- Too much, too soon. There’s a lot of pressure attached to resolutions and everyone seems to be making them. This only leads to a bit of often unhealthy competition – weekly weigh ins at work, for example. In addition, we don’t tend to set just one goal in January. We set about six. Totally unachievable. Which leads me on to…
- January is dull enough as it is. Everyone is skint and can’t go out, go shopping, or participate in generally fun activities as much. It’s also difficult getting back into work if you’re lucky enough to have had a decent amount of time off over the festive period. It’s frankly dull – and you need a glass of wine and the odd treat to perk you up.
- There’s too many leftovers. Unless you’re really full of the most amazing willpower, it’s very hard to throw out the leftover Christmas cake, snacks and chocolate. Criminal, even. I’ll be eating it. Maybe not as often, and perhaps I’ll offer as much as possible to visitors (“aha!! I shall also thwart YOUR resolutions!”) but I will be having some.
- The children are more of a ‘handful’ than usual. I have a three year old and a one year old. It’s only the 4th January and already they’ve behaved like something out of The Excorcist at times. It’s hard for pre-schoolers to suddenly see the tree being taken down, all those lovely decorations they helped you with. Everything went crazy – and now it’s back to normal a again. All the more need for a cheeky snifter to settle your nerves in the evening (just one).
- None of your friends stick to them, either. They might be all smug after the first couple of weeks and tell you about their latest 5k run and how they lost about a stone – but it won’t last. This lack of peer support also makes it more difficult for yourself to succeed.
For me, I think that life is busy enough. I’ll wait until things have calmed down a little and set myself one achievable goal (which I’ve decided will be to take up Ashtanga yoga again. I will have a wedding dress to fit into this year, after all). I’m confident I’ll achieve this – and then maybe I could move onto something else.
In short, I aim to go easy on my often frazzled self and revel in my own underachieving January.