The New Year has been and gone. We’ve all eaten far too much and we’re left with the harsh realities of January. What are we supposed to do? Wallow in the January blues? No! It’s time to turn January on its head and see it as a positive.
At this time of year, many of us are wallowing in self-pity, stressed about the fact we’re closer to being a year older, worrying that we’ve eaten too much and have to lose weight, and also feeling less than our best because of the overindulgence. You might be tempted to go on Sober January, come up with all manner of resolutions to sort out your waistline or decide that you’re going to change the world with over-ambitious aims for the year. Is any of this a good idea? Not really.
Okay, if you want to do Sober January, go for it. Detoxing your body for a month is no bad thing, and you’ll probably notice a burst of energy once you get over the shock of it. If you’re panicking about your weight and you genuinely need to cut back, fine, but do it in a healthy way and don’t beat yourself up. If you’re thinking about making over-ambitious resolutions to change your life, wait right there.
The problem with making vows to live a healthier, happier, more successful, blah blah life is that it’s impossible to do it all at once. It has to be done via milestones, baby steps if you will. Suddenly waking up one January morning and vowing to launch a business which is going to make its first million by the end of June is just setting yourself up for disappointment.
A better idea is to embrace January and to use it as inspiration for the rest of the year.
January is only semi-depressing because it means the festive period is over and we have to go back to reality. But, if you make your reality something you enjoy all year around, it’s not going to be a depressing month at all! Christmas is finished, New Year is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy, spend time with friends, and eat what you want anyway. We should be embracing the festivities all year around anyway, and not just being all jolly for two weeks in December.
Time For a Life Inventory
The single best way to motivate yourself for the rest of the year is to sit down with a coffee, grab a notebook and pen, and focus your mind. You’re going to use January as motivation, inspiration, and you’re going to create a list of the things you want to do this coming year – realistic ones. Want to lose weight? Okay, set yourself a realistic plan and find an exercise outlet that you know you’re going to enjoy. Want to save money? Great, set yourself a budget and make sure it’s realistic enough to stick to for the entire year. Want to change jobs but don’t know where to start? come up with a few ideas on the types of careers you like to follow, do some research, think about retraining, and put yourself on a slow road towards that aim. Don’t rush, this isn’t a race.
You might think this sounds awfully like a resolution list, but it’s not. A resolution is something that is basically made to be broken. Resolutions are quite unrealistic. You’re not declaring that you’re going to eat healthy for every single day of the coming 12 months. You’re saying that you’re going to be healthier and lose weight in a slow and do-able manner. Can you see the subtle difference? It might be subtle but it’s sizable in terms of effectiveness.
Write down all the things you’re happy with, and write down all the things you want to change. Celebrate the things you’re happy with and vow to do more of them. The things you’re not so happy about, it’s time to come up with a plan on how to change them. You’re using the motivation of a new calendar year to make changes which are do-able and realistic. You’re not attempting to make sweeping changes just because it’s 1 January, you’re simply vowing to make a difference over the year. That is what makes life inventories much easier to stick to than resolutions.
Far too many of us wallow in post-Turkey stress during January, but why do we put ourselves through that? Turn it on its head and celebrate the new month in the best way possible – improving your life in the most realistic way possible. Oh, and within all that, don’t forget to celebrate the things that are already fantastic in your life!