Happy New Year! Social media has been awash with statuses claiming “New Year, new me/fresh start.” However, after a week or so, the positive statuses start to disappear and are replaced with some of the usual negative vibes that can be found on our news feeds. “2019 off to a bad start” “Can’t wait for this year to be over already” etc.
Understandably many of us view the new year as a time for a fresh start or to implement changes in our lives, after reflection on the previous year. Although, statistics from www.statisticbrain.com, show that a mere 9 percent of us actually achieve our resolution by the following year. So why are we as a nation so incompetent at keeping our resolutions? Are we just weak-willed? Do we set ourselves impossible targets? My theory is that the reason for our failure is quite simply… January.
Join me as I look at some of the most commonly made resolutions and the reason January obliterates them…
To Eat Healthy/Lose Weight
Healthy eating is one of the most popular resolutions for the start of the new year. December transforms many of us into gluttonous creatures who graze on chocolate, alcohol and other foods steadily through the Christmas period. Worst case scenario is that you began this grazing, like myself, back in September. Now it is January and the perfect time to start your new healthy eating plan. I am currently condemned to wearing leggings and anything else elasticated while my jeans lay lonely in the wardrobe, the top button glad of the rest after the increasing pressure of the last few weeks. However it is January and none of this is going to be as easy as you may think.
Mountains of selection boxes, chocolate, unopened desserts, snacks and crisps seem to lurk in every crevice of my home. I am entering day two of my sugar detox and am in need of locking myself in a padded room to escape the temptations that are surrounding me. I go to the supermarket and see aisles of discounted products. Visitors seem to arrive laddened with armfuls of sweet items from their own homes in an attempt to rid their selves of them. Then, just as you are beginning to wean off your sugar addiction, the shelves will be weighed down with arrival of Easter eggs!
To be more organised
My yearly resolution is to become a more organised person. This includes keeping on top of house work, ensuring children are on time for school and generally maintaining a normal element of domestication. A challenging resolution for me at the best of times but January is here to make it even more difficult.
My house at the moment resembles a disused, toy warehouse after an illegal rave. Since Christmas morning I have barely been at my house, due to visiting relatives in London and Ireland. Therefore my house is basically how I left it on Christmas morning. Boxes and strewn wrapping paper, mountains of toys, piles of unwashed laundry and even more piles of new clothing to be given a place. Does anybody really have a chance to become more organised in January when they are beginning their resolution in the depths of utter chaos?
To start exercising
Juxtaposed to the aisles of discounted selection boxes are the aisles of new sports wear, water bottles and gym equipment. Any regular gym attendee will tell you that in January you will witness the influx of awkward looking humans entering the gym dressed in shiny, polished new sports attire.
From Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day I averaged a daily step count of 1000 steps a day. On Boxing Day I walked a pathetic 260 steps. Now imagine my new year’s s resolution is to exercise more. I arrive at the gym in my gleaming, gym kit ready to throw myself into a brisk run on the treadmill or a spin class. Confident that muscle memory from my days of peak fitness will see me through. Alas the next day I am unable to move after straining every muscle in my body which has lay dormant for the whole of December. It will take at least a week for walking to be achieved without discomfort and for me to gather the courage to enter the gym which I am now shackled to, at an expense of £40 for the next 12 months.
To save money
Christmas is the most expensive time of year for the majority of UK families. By the end of the month credit cards are receiving a good work-out of their own and as January begins, the Christmas cards are replaced with the less merry arrival of bills and statements through the letter box. Coupled with the excessive spending is the fact that many workers are paid on the last working day of December, making January the longest month of the year as we countdown the days till pay-day. Essentially the worse month to begin saving!
To be a happier/calmer/friendlier person
January is possibly the least “happiness instilling” month of the year. Miserably cold, usually raining and bleak, January is basically 31 Mondays. Keeping spirits high in this dismal month is difficult for cheerful characters, let alone those who struggle with smiling and friendliness in general.
How can we defeat January?
In conclusion to my theory that January destroys resolutions I have some tips that may help with beating January’s misery and achieving our goals.
- Keep January resolutions small and targeted. For example “I will start exercising” becomes “I will take the stairs not the lift at work” Eventually, a couple of months down the line, you will be ready to embrace the gym rather than destroying yourself on day one!
- Don’t expect too much. Take time to think about the positives of each day and how you are working towards your resolution rather than achieving it in the first month. For example if I can have my children’s uniforms ready the night before it will be a step in the right direction rather than the furious, foraging for clothing that encompasses my usual morning routine.
- Be social. January can be such an unsociable month where many decide to hide away due to the weather and lack of funds. At Christmas we are surrounded by fun and people, even if you are alone there are generally more people around. Go out for a walk, try something new, join a new group and communicate with people. Having support through January is essential especially if you struggle with your mental health.
- Finally if all else fails reschedule all resolutions to start in the summer!
Did you make any resolutions this year? I would love to hear your views on January and resolutions! All comments are welcome as always!