Just like that another festive season has passed by in a blur of mulled wine and Mariah Carey songs and life resumes to how it was before. But as we enter a new year and a new decade we consider how we can make the most out of this new 365 day book with January as chapter one.
I actually really enjoy setting goals and aims I would like to put more energy and focus into. This isn’t limited to the start of the year for me as I do the same after my birthday (which falls in May) and usually around September time. I like to make a combination of goals I have control over, like reading more books and booking a holiday with two of my best friends, as well as more aspirational goals usually related to work.
These are all goals as opposed to set things I have to complete (and some of which I don’t have complete control over like reaching a number of followers on Instagram). And although I set them at the start of the year, there is no set end date as I can review, change and develop these aims as the year progresses.
Although I have set myself these new objectives, I have no intention of changing myself. Reinvention can be a good thing but there is no limitation on date this has to be done. I like who I am and don’t feel the need to drastically change myself to fit in with a timeline which correlates with my diary. Self improvement can be a positive thing, but the start of the year shouldn’t have you questioning if you are good enough. Spoiler alert: you already are.
My Instagram has been filled with captions saying “clean eating starts today”. And while I encourage everyone to drink lots of water and eat fruit and veg, most of us don’t need to drastically change our eating habits. It is as if you are labelling your pre-January self as BAD. Having a little less Prosecco and a little more water may be a good idea but restricting ourselves can feel us leaving miserable (as well as being VERY unsustainable) and we can end up feeling guilty for eating a pizza. And eating pizza should always be a happy occasion.
This can be the same with any “new me” mind set. Expecting yourself to go from December on the sofa binge watching YOU with a tin of Quality Street, to someone who gets up in January at 5am to do Yoga before having the most productive day ever, is probably a little stretch. January is dark and cold and if one day you favour an extra hour in bed then you shouldn’t feel bad for it.
Everyone is different and what works for someone else in terms of setting goals and being productive is going to vary from person to person. But this culture of extreme change which happens the second the Christmas tree comes down can leave us feeling the new year pressure.
If you didn’t have the best and most productive first Monday of the year that’s okay as there are another 51 Mondays to go. And maybe you’re not a Monday person at all which is okay too, as there are 6 other days in the week when you can have your time to shine.
Have your big goals and dreams, try your best, but if you don’t want to start today that’s okay. You don’t need to become a new person in 2020. Just strive for the best version of you even if it takes the whole 365 days to do it.