New Year or New SPRING resolutions?
I see January as a time not just for new beginnings but something broader.
It's a time to take stock, make a few simple changes but then stop and plan for some bigger steps - that I won't be taking until January is long gone.
So when asked recently what New Year resolutions I had made, my answer was “none”.
Don’t get me wrong I think the January focus can be helpful; whatever it is we decide to go for or give up during January, done well it will bring huge benefits, especially if you are able to take them beyond the 31st.
However it can be a massive distraction too. If we fail, and apparently at least 80% of us will, where does that leave us? Waiting another 11 months before making a change? Feeling like there's no point in going after something bigger?
From my personal experience and with clients, there will usually be another go at it around Spring time, or again after the Summer holidays. So why do we go through this cycle?
Maybe we have been conditioned by our school years to think of new terms as a time for fresh starts; new beginnings, new clothes, new opportunities. Also the holiday, fashion and beauty industries remind us (very effectively) to get fit and trim for the Summer; starting new diets and health routines. But I think there is something else...
It's no coincidence we’re using the natural seasons as markers.
In the world as it is today we often struggle to feel it, but we are still connected to the seasonal cycles and this is becoming more recognised in terms of our physical well being:
“Energetically January is the worst time of year to choose to detox. The body is tired and cold and needs to be warm, nurtured and rested. The wave of detox diets that come out in January invariably focus on raw foods, juice fasts and mono diets which can create cold and damp within the body. Late winter as a season is cold, windy and rough on the system, and your body natural seeks nourishment, warmth, grounding and support from the food it eats and the environment it finds itself in.”
Founder of Wellbeing Escapes, a company that specialises in healthy holidays and experiences
So is January really the best time to be launching new habits and making big changes to our lives?
I don’t think so. You are tired after the Christmas celebrations. The nights are long and having spent a week (if you are lucky) laying-in till its daylight or cosying down with the curtains drawn in the evening. Suddenly you are up before the sun and still working when it’s long gone to bed. It’s cold, damp and everyone seems to be a walking germ factory.
I’m not saying don’t bother, I’m just saying we may be picking the hardest time of the year to do it. So take it easy on yourself if you are one of the 80% that hasn’t reached the goal they set themselves this month, and look at it this way:
This is the time to ‘feed the seed’…
- Try out new things, allow yourself to fail and celebrate success
- Make some simple achievable and enjoyable changes to diet and exercise
- Do one thing each week that you WANT to do, not what you NEED to do
- Understand your values - what is really important to you
- Look at the time you spend with family, friends, yourself
- Look at the time you spend on tasks, work, social media, learning
As we come out of hibernation mode into Spring we will be re-energised and ready to go.
Energy levels are up, days are more productive and longer, on the whole we are feeling more positive and healthier.
If you have ‘fed your seed’ for the past few weeks you will have learnt lots about yourself and have some new positive habits in place.
Surrounded by growth and energy from the natural world you are prepared both physically and mentally for the changes you make in your life. Then bring on the summer to enjoy them!
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Added: 29th January 2019