I get it. A few days into January and maybe you have already fallen off the wagon. Maybe your best laid plans have already been laid to rest. Or maybe you are hanging on but struggling as the ‘most depressing day of the year’ strikes. January can be a pain in the arse for many people. A cold pain in the arse. So, here I am to hopefully help you change how you are feeling right now about January.
First, why is January so shitty? Why does the ‘most depressing day’ come in January? Well the reality is that it is all Christmas’ fault. For most people, the highlight of the year is Christmas. The reason for this is the presents, the time with family, the time off from work, the fun parties had and the overall spirit and sense of Christmas cheer. But all good things come to an end so invariably Christmas finishes and we get back to the ‘real world’. It is the contrast between Christmas and the real world that creates the highs of the few weeks leading into Christmas and the low that takes over afterward. So, how does knowing this help us?
The trick is to understand that there are reasons for every season and every month. The wonderful business philosopher, Jim Rohn, explains that life happens like the four seasons. He explains how spring always follows winter and spring offers us the opportunity to start again. He talks about the importance of preparing for winter in the summer instead of just enjoying every second. With this in mind, January is our opportunity for renewal. In this month, we get to grow, develop and reset ourselves so that we become the best version of ourselves. When we see it as that kind of month, it becomes easier for us to stick to the resolutions we set ourselves.
Most people struggle with January because of the negative attitude that surrounds January in popular culture. Nobody else seems to like it therefore we are less likely to enjoy it ourselves. In order for us to appreciate January, it is sometimes necessary to reduce the amount of social media and media that we consume. January is the perfect time for us to focus on ourselves and our own lives as opposed to being plugged into everyone else’s opinions.
On the so-called most depressing day, it is not a bad idea to set yourself some specific time to feel miserable. The whole idea of doing this is so ridiculous that when you do, you will never keep to it and you are far less likely to allow yourself to dwell in negative thoughts.
Another good suggestion is to set yourself up with some fun things to do with family and friends. Part of the problem is that we spend so much time looking forward to Christmas and we stack all of the fun stuff in that month that we have barely enough things to look forward to the following month. Start orientating your month so that you are designing what kind of fun times you will have.
Of course, it would be poor if we were to talk about January and not talk about goal setting. The truth is that January is not necessarily a time for achievement. It is a time for preparation. It is a time for setting the sail. It is a time where you can decide exactly where you want to go and establish if you are, indeed on track. There is a special enjoyment in plotting your own world domination rather than actually executing it.
In terms of the actual resolutions you have made, remember the article I wrote on Pre-Solutions. As well as this however, it is important that you think the right way about these new behaviours. Set yourself a target of staying true to your promises all of January. Make that the goal rather than the lofty ambition of life transformation. When you set yourself the manageable target of January, you know with certainty that you can do it and therefore you are more likely to. When setting your goals, you can incorporate the new behaviours you will be engaging in and set new goals that assume that you already have made the new behaviours a natural part of the way in which you function. In this way you can make January one of your favourite months!!