I always think the first day of January is a silly time to try and succeed with life-changing resolutions. Yes it’s the start of a new year, but I can’t see any other reason why January goal-setting is a good idea. January is cold, drab and boring. Everything is tinged with a dull, Christmas anti-climax and everyone is full, slightly hungover and sluggish . This is not the time of year for feeling motivated and inspired.
And apparently, 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions agree with me, because that’s the percentage who fail come February.
Instead of changing our goals or offering ourselves up to the inevitable sting of failure, why not try tweaking the timing instead? September seems to be a much better time for changes and goal-setting.
Let’s examine some common resolutions we make in January:
Healthy eating? Yeah right….
In January, my stomach is used to being stretched to the limit with festive food. I feel slightly fuzzy from over-consumption of cheese and chocolate (yes, often at the same time). If cutting back on calories and healthy eating is my goal, I never have much success. What about all the leftover Twiglets, wine and mince pies? Surely it would be rude to just throw them away? It is winter after all; I can wear a baggy jumper to hide the fall-out and brighten my pasty face with some bronzer.
Decluttering? No thanks…
In January, the house is jam-packed full of new toys, clothes and toiletries. Every time I deign to open a cupboard, a weird assortment of pens, batteries and glittery bows falls out. If decluttering is my aim, it’s destined to fail because I just feel too overwhelmed. I’d rather hide all the junk and plant my head back in the sand (or a wine bottle).
And finally, I normally just feel bleughhh. January is depressing. We’ve spent all our money and have neither the means nor the desire to go anywhere or do anything. I don’t know a single person who enjoys January. It’s my birthday month and I still can’t wait to see the back of it.
September resolutions are a much better idea
September seems to me to be a much more sensible time to set goals and make resolutions. For a start, the weather is generally good. I remember last year when September was a glorious extension of summer. In fact, it’s better than summer in many ways. Where I live, in the New Forest, the beaches and local beauty spots are crammed packed full of tourists during summer months. Come September, the crowds thin out and we can reclaim our favourite hang-outs. And the kids are back at school, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of that…
In September, we spend days traipsing up and down the beach and exploring the forest. We have BBQs and sit in the garden. The nice weather and longer days are certainly conducive to a better mood and more motivation.
For me, September is the real new year. It’s a perfect time for new beginnings and goal setting. I feel refreshed and excited when September comes round (the complete opposite of the feelings provoked by January). There’s Halloween, fireworks and Christmas to look forward to and the time and space in which to plan. I don’t tend to stuff my face too much over the summer, so my stomach has a lower capacity than it does in January. Therefore, healthy eating and cutting back is much easier. Having tanned limbs and a sun-kissed face helps enormously with one’s self-esteem.
The first of January arrives with a sore head and the need to crank up the heating. The first of September, on the other hand, normally rolls in on a minty wave of promise, full of watery sunshine and good feelings.
I think it makes sense to set goals and resolutions when you already feel positive. Surely you stand more chance of success if you’re already halfway there?
This year, my September resolutions include a complete declutter of our home. This was impossible to carry out over the summer and will be equally unworkable amidst the onslaught of stuff we will find ourselves drowning in after Christmas. September is the window out of which I can chuck all the unnecessary junk we have accumulated. My husband even suggested getting a skip; this is how bad things have become. I’m greatly looking forward to the refreshing feeling of streamlined house.
I also intend to exercise, eat more healthily, write and read more. It’s the standard stuff New Year’s resolutions are made of but I feel I have more of a chance starting in the bright mornings and riding on mild September vibes.
January can stop pretending to be a time of new beginnings and refreshing starts. Let it remain what it actually is – a cold and depressing Christmas anti-climax month.
So, let’s raise a glass of green smoothie to the advent of September. Here’s to the real New Year.