I will start this post by saying I have zero scientific evidence , or really any anecdotal evidence to support my view point; it is simply my opinion, but these days that is worth as much as fact so here goes:
I like new years resolutions, I think they a great for personal growth and giving you a focused way of moving forward in life. I do however think January is a rubbish time for them and they should instead begin in February.
My reasons are as follows:
January is really, really hard already
- It seems to be permanently dark (in the Northern hemisphere), not good for you serotonin levels (ooh look vague science)
- Its cold and wet generally (in the Northern hemisphere) which affects your hormone levels making you crave carbohydrates (this is actual science too)
- Traffic and commuting is at its worst
- It’s the longest month of the year at 37 days as it mentally starts on 26th December
- You have to readjust to going to work after the long Christmas wind down and time off
- There is such a long time until payday
- After the hype of Christmas and New Year you are now in a void, the light at the end of the tunnel is dim and far away (Easter I think, or maybe a holiday if you’ve booked one)
- You’ve eaten a ridiculous amount of unhealthy food and so are feeling sluggish
- You’re uncertain and feeling melancholy as everyone reflects on the last year with a whole new year looming ahead that you don’t want to screw up.
All of this combines to give me, what is commonly called, the January Blues, and nobody wants to add trying to undertake a new year’s resolution to this. Besides in this mindset I have poor judgement, I might quit my job, move country or buy a boat in an effort to fulfill the “new year new me” idea and shake myself out of a funk with a big change. Now if you’ve read any of the rest of my blog, you will know I have done all these things, but crucially, not in January – never trust a January impulse.
February is a better time to begin your resolutions because:
- normal service has resumed in most areas of life: work, commute, diet etc
- You’ve been paid
- It’s the shortest month after the longest month so you feel super successful when you manage a month of your resolution so easily
- The days are getting longer and you are more optimistic about the weather – there is a sense of spring getting nearer
- The general ambiance is no longer that of you must change yourself and the world right now!
All of this puts you in a much stronger position to begin a new resolution whether that’s related to work, fitness, lifestyle or anything else.
Now, in order for year long resolutions to be successful they should be:
- clearly defined (no wishy washy wording allowing you to wriggle out of it)
- realistically achievable
- interesting or important to you (enough to keep going when its hard)
- broken down into smaller chunks so that progress can be clearly made and seen (important for motivation)
or if you have ever had a job, they should be SMARTT goals (yawn) – I think CRIB is better.
For example if you have a savings, weight or reading resolution – can you split it into monthly targets?
If you want a more satisfying job maybe break it into the following steps: update CV, research available positions, update any necessary qualifications or knowledge where possible, double check it isn’t January (never trust a January impulse), apply to positions that genuinely seem to be an improvement on your current position, don’t stop applying.
Well that’s my view on it all anyway. You can of course do what you like.