Did you know the second Friday in January is commonly thought of as they day most people give up on their New Year Resolutions. So if you’ve already given up on yours then clearly you’re not alone.
New Year Resolutions seem so retro now. I once used to think of several resolutions that I would promise to begin in earnest on New Year’s Day. But then I’d go out on New Year’s Eve, imbibe far more units of alcohol than recommended and wake up hungover on New Year’s Day totally forgetting what my new resolve should be. Usually back in those days it would have to do with something like giving up alcohol completely and the terrible habit of the incorrectly titled ‘social smoking.’ Having already failed on both counts immediately as we cheered in the new year.
I can’t think of any resolution that I’ve actually stuck to. I can’t remember any significant life changing resolutions either. They were always things that would be good to achieve but didn’t bother me much if they fell by the wayside. Of course, there would be a pang of guilt for suddenly remembering that I’d broken a New Year’s Resolution but then it would be ‘ah well,’ and carry on.
Last week, I noticed a post on social media rejecting the notion of a New Year, New You mantra by declaring that the Old Year, Old You is already pretty fabulous. That is all completely true naturally. But what if there were aspects of your life that you would like to change. Anything ranging from healthier eating, good relationship decisions, better work life balance. There’s always something you can think of that you would like to change. Or introduce for that matter.
Breaking a habit or introducing a new one, takes at least six weeks for any impact to take effect. It requires commitment, conviction and acceptance. I just don’t think most of us are in the right frame of mind during the festive season to be fully in tune with the undertaking of the resolutions that we set ourselves.
Resolutions can take an All or Nothing approach. And during a season of excess and joviality, such an undertaking can set us up for failure right from the start. As much as the process is meant to bring about an improved ‘New Year, New You.’ It just feels too extreme to give up something or take up something at a time when so much else is going on. I know the festive season can make many of us feel like we’ve overindulged a touch. But does the promise of the New Year Resolutions make us feel more at ease with overindulging? To assuage the guilt because in a few days we’re going to be giving it all up and living in the gym.
I feel like we should give ourselves a break to begin the New Year with. Contemplate possible resolutions by all means but spend some time thinking about what needs to be put in place in order for you to achieve real progress with those resolutions. January for many can be tough enough. Let’s not add to it by giving ourselves goals that we stop working towards within two weeks of setting them.
And if you have given up on those Resolutions already, well, who’s to say you can’t restart them once you are ready and committed to make this genuine change and actually feel happy doing so.