The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they come at the wrong time.
Sure, there’s all that ‘New Year, new beginning’ stuff, that annual attempt to turn around a life in the wake of a Festive season full of over-indulgence and inactivity. All very laudable and understandable. But if you’re going to sign up for hard work and deprivation designed to test the very limits of your resolve, what on earth would make you do it in January?
Winter is just getting into its stride; not much cold stuff yet but even allowing for Global Warming (sorry if you’re reading this Mr President but you really should examine the evidence) there are some chilly times ahead. And what’s the most natural response to cold weather? Why, stocking up on nutrients and carbs and all those other things you’re thinking about giving up. It’s the season of casseroles and hearty soups and pasta dishes and mountains of mash and…well you get the picture.
How about cutting back on – or cutting out – the booze…Dry January and all that? Fine after a month or more of parties and Christmas nights out and big wine-lubricated meals. But, again, if you find yourself with some leisure time in the gloomy, early weeks of the year, a visit to the pub/wine bar/restaurant is hardly going to fill you with joy if a glass of fizzy water or a mocktail is your best option.
Let’s be honest, a couple of kids are far more likely to act as an alcohol deterrent all year round. Who needs to get up at Ridiculous O’Clock to ‘help’ the offspring on their way to nursery/school/wherever with a booming hangover? Those days ended not long after the first pregnancy testing strip flashed ‘positive’.
That’s the dietary issues taken care of, so what about personal fitness? Well, the mornings and evenings are still dark. Do you really want to trundle round the streets after a day at home/work sidestepping unpalatable deposits on the pavement, risking panic attacks as you loom large in front of unsuspecting pedestrians or risking personal injury from a car/bicycle?
Speaking of bicycles, don’t bother getting on yours until the spring. You haven’t become an Iron Man overnight and if you haven’t had much practice in recent years it might be as well to wait until conditions are more user-friendly.
What about gyms or leisure clubs? Sure – go ahead. Join up on a taster deal or throw your £s away on a year’s subscription. Then hit the weights/treadmills/pool along with all the other guilty, pasty individuals and see how inspired you feel. Be smart. Give it a few months, build up your levels with a bit of gentle exercise and then take the plunge.
There is, of course, another huge market for Resolutioneers: The ‘Self Help’ thing. Might be personal or professional. All very laudable – again. But why would we think that because a clock ticks past midnight into January 1st we can snap into a new mind set?
Whether you’re planning on taking over the company, plunging into a new career, getting back in touch with long, lost family or friends or just simply being nicer to people, these are fundamental changes to your life. And they shouldn’t be undertaken suddenly or lightly.
So by all means use the early weeks of the year to think these things through, make a plan and get things rolling in a small but positive way.
That’s my resolution: don’t do anything right now – but definitely think about it.