A few days into the New Year, let’s be honest, how are you feeling? Are you full of drive and ready to jump into what the New Year has to offer? Are you excited to fill the next 361 days with new experiences and events? Have you packed away all things Christmas and have started a detox from too much over-indulgence at the festive period? Or are you a bit like me, victim of the Christmas blues, not being able to get used to the undecorated windows and the empty space where the Christmas tree stood? Still eating Christmas chocolates and nibbling the contents of the cheeseboard, dragging the holidays out as much as possible? I struggle with January, every year. Christmas is my most favourite time of the year and I could get used to an eternal month of festivities. I am very much aware of old saying “All good things must come to an end” but that doesn’t help my slight melancholy that I have to wait nearly another whole year before I can do it all over again. The other thing that slightly annoys me is the New Year craziness of detoxes, new starts and new beginnings. Adverts on TV for home sports equipment, gym incentives wherever you look, healthy and clean eating leaflets and a social media feed that could rival any nutritionist’s notebook. Most of these will have made way to Easter chocolate and summer fashion adverts in the next few weeks but it got me thinking: Why is it so important for many to make a new start at a significant point in the year? Why does the diet have to start on the Monday or 1st January? Why can you not just eat healthily throughout the year and have a few indulgent moments throughout and without guilt? Why can we not just exercise and be active throughout our life instead of overdoing it in January and lose focus and motivation come February? Why do we need “Dry January” to wake from the alcoholic coma instead of enjoying a few drinks sensibly every now and again and feeling guilty for having one too many?
We seem to be quick to point out our flaws and know what we should do better. And in some cases, for health reasons, both physical and mental, it will be a good decision. What is important to acknowledge though is, that no one should need a certain day or date to kick start a new life. It is never too early but at the same time never too late. If you want to eat healthily, start today. Don’t wait till you have eaten all the chocolates or until next Monday. Have a little bit of chocolate but eat the veg stew, too. Don’t wait until the first of January to take up yoga. Start with a few stretches now and keep up with your yoga class for the rest of the year. Don’t deprive yourself of the odd drink. You don’t have to drink the whole bottle and you also don’t have to keep it locked away for weeks. Everything in moderation.
I have also stopped making New Year’s resolutions. From experience, life doesn’t give a fuck about the calendar and whether you start afresh on 1st January or on 3rd April – it really doesn’t make your efforts of changing your life any less meaningful. I try to be a better version of myself every day, even though I know that I won’t be able to do it covering every aspect of my life. This would be completely unrealistic and unachievable. But, as with accepting my mourning of yet another Christmas gone, I accept that and, when I really don’t want to go back to work, remind myself that I am allowed to indulge in these two weeks off and then concentrate on my personal and professional development again. And if I fall off-course? Well, then I start again. Even if it’s in the middle of the year. It’s never too late.