But it was my mum’s birthday so needs must! It made me think, however, that we are very pressured by the media at this time of year to emerge as if from a chrysalis on the first day of the year as a new person, free from any pernicious little habits and wobbly bits that might have bothered us the day before.
Dramatic ‘New Year, New You!’ adverts seem to forget that there is only one sleep between this miraculous new invention.
A recent poll by the Independent revealed that the average time people keep their resolutions for is 24 days. Another survey revealed that only 3% of the population stuck to their resolution for the full 12 months. So, if we’re destined to fail, could it be that we’re setting unrealistic goals?
The want-it-now effect
The fact that 1st January falls at one of the coldest, wettest, dreariest times of year makes it a less than perfect goal-setting time. Suddenly abstaining from rich foods and drink straight after the excesses of the festive period can be a bit of a shock to the system too. We naturally want to eat more at this time of year when our bodies crave extra nourishment to keep us warm during the winter months. So launching into a juice or raw food fast can leave us feeling irritable and unwell as our bodies struggle to process high levels of accumulated toxicity. In our immediate-fix culture, we want to be able to run a marathon NOW, we don’t want to wait! So if we set off for our first run in January and find it a terrible effort, we feel downhearted.
“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”
As with many things, it seems that moderation is the key. Setting ourselves goals we can work towards over the course of the year is more helpful than having a blanket rule that on the first of January everything must be different IMMEDIATELY! We are still in the quiet, reflective chapter of the year; the time for gently nurturing and nourishing the seeds of change within. Spring and summer offer us a sense of openness and potential, when anything seems possible. As the year unfolds, so too do our intentions to create change. But we must give them ample time to grow. Expecting instantaneous change is like planting a seed and expecting it to be a fully grown plant the following morning.
What’s good right now?
Probably my most important new year’s resolution this year was to celebrate things as they are. To look around me and give thanks for what I have. To focus on these sources of joy, rather than searching for things I want to change. There are, of course, changes I want to make in my life. The human condition is one of movement: we are always seeking to improve things and move forward. When we don’t, we can tend towards a sense of stagnation and no one likes the feeling of being ‘stuck in a rut’. But often, in seeking to change, we can forget what’s great about RIGHT NOW. We can forget that we are already perfect, just as we are. And most of all, in seeking to change aspects of ourselves, we forget to enjoy ourselves. We can be so busy focusing on the future, we forget all about the present. As John Lennon put it: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Wishing you a wonderful 2018!