So I was supposed to write this post at New Year but ironically, in true nature of what this post is all about, well, I didn’t… I read something in January that really opened my eyes and made me think about when most of us try to change and if it’s really the right time and then decided that I wasn’t going to set any big New Year’s resolutions just yet and here’s why…
1st January… even the thought of it makes me shiver a bit right now. Christmas is over, dead and gone. It’s the middle of winter, you’re probably hungover from the party last night or full of the Christmas flu (this was me) and then wham everyone and everything expects you to be ‘good’ and super motivated and full of the joys of spring... Gym adverts are all over the TV, ‘lose those Christmas pounds’ are spread across the cover of every magazine and the pressure to stick to your New Year’s resolutions is real... ‘I’m going to do it this year!’ ‘I’m going to lose 3 stone’, ‘I’m going to stop drinking as much’, ‘I’m going to start that business’, ‘I’m going to write that blog post’ (lol), the list goes on… And here we are in March haven’t exercised since the end of January, eating a takeaway, slightly tipsy, with a to do list buried somewhere maybe never to be seen until next New Years Eve… (Maybe a bit extreme… but) sound familiar?
If not… then you’ve got this New Year sh*t handled and a huge well done to you! But for those of you who this does resonate with, I’m going to let you in on a little secret… It’s hasn’t really been new year yet. Well technically it might have been (in the Gregorian calendar that most of us use) but theoretically… it hasn’t. You might be thinking what kind of drugs is this woman on? But I assure you none… You’re not still full of the joys of spring from your New Year’s resolutions because it’s not spring yet. It’s still winter... Real new year… nature’s new year… is the first day of spring, which in the Astronomical calendar is March 20th.
Take a moment to think about it… We were fooled with two days of hot weather in February (I even saw a couple in matching shorts, pumps, t-shirts and sunglasses) but let’s not count that - as I sit at my laptop writing this now, it’s raining, it’s freezing cold and I can barely hear myself think because storm Gareth is outside. It’s still winter!
Winter (especially if you live in a place with cold winters), is for hibernating, staying in, getting cozy, protecting your energy, all ready to wake up in you guessed it, spring!
Nature begins to awaken in spring, the daffodils come out, little buds appear on the trees, blossom appears (that might actually be in summer but you get my drift), the animals come back out, baby lambs are born etc, etc… So when winter is that awful that nature literally goes to sleep and refreshes and renews ready to party in spring, why are we humans expected to be up, alive and kicking and sticking to these often unpleasant and restricting habits in January of all months? Now I’m not saying don’t look after yourself or don’t improve (I’m a self-improvement expert and life coach so change and building new habits is life for me) but… you have to set yourself up to win too.
Imagine the difference starting your New Year’s resolutions on the first day of spring? The weather is slightly warmer, the nights are getting lighter. As summer approaches it’s easier to eat light foods or go out for a run first thing in the morning (because storm Gareth isn’t outside) and you don’t need a heavy, hot meal to warm you up. Starting your New Year’s resolutions in January, if you’re not used to them and unless you are an extremely disciplined person, is in my opinion, setting yourself up to fail. It’s the most depressing month of the year and you deprive yourself of everything you enjoy and even of being comfortable and staying inside. No wonder 3 weeks in, all of the old habits are back and worse because you feel like a terrible person for not sticking to them. No you’re not a terrible person you just started at the wrong time. Try starting your New Year in spring and set yourself up to win. As the new habits are being put into action in spring you will see the results of your efforts by summer (like the blossom on the trees). Then by the time autumn comes the habits will be ingrained in you and no longer be a struggle. You will still be able to keep up the good work but slow down slightly if needed, in order to enjoy being warm and cosy in winter all ready and rested to come alive again in spring and there we have it… a cycle that works. And we know it works because nature has done it every year since time began.
There are so many studies that show the success of creating lasting change is found in your daily routine. Making small changes daily can create huge results in the long run. New habits begin to become ingrained in us anything from 21 to 60 days of doing them and spring is the perfect time to start. Your old self will cling to old comfortable habits like your life depends on it and we have to be conscious in making lasting change. Life is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, so instead of waiting until next January to set yourself back up again when it’s hard, why not forgive yourself and set yourself up to win now.
I invite you on Tuesday the 19th March to write down everything you want to let go of and everything you want to create going forward and to start again when its going to be a hell of a lot easier. Burn (safely and outside) or rip up and throw away the list of things you want to let go of and put the list of things you want to do somewhere where you can see it every morning and read it every day (maybe with some words of encouragement for yourself in how fabulous and amazing you are.) And then put in the actions to get yourself there. It’s not that you can’t do it, it just might have been the wrong time before. It’s never to late to get back in touch with who you really are and begin living your life as that person now.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope let yourself off for thinking all of the changes for a New Year need to happen in January. I decided in January that I was going to start my own New Year in March and if that feels right to you then let’s make this work.
See you soon for more tips, techniques and guidance for becoming the best and most amazing version of yourself.
Peace and love, Sarah xx