Updated: Aug 31, 2020
By this time in January, you may have abandoned, revised or rationalized away your New Year’s resolutions. I actually didn’t even make them this year. Wasn’t feeling it.
Like all goals, resolutions are a pass / fail course. You either do it or you don’t, so when you “fail”, you walk away: defeated, sad, unfulfilled.
But what if we have it all wrong. What if New Year’s is just the wrong time to make resolutions?
At a mediation recently, my view on resolutions changed forever.
The New Year occurs 10 days after the winter solstice – the darkest, coldest time of the year. To think we could muster energy and enthusiasm for anything new is setting ourselves up for failure. The short, cold days are more aligned to hunkering down, continuing and completing the work we started in Q4.
Resolve should be saved for a time when the season is conspiring to support us: spring.
Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth and reformation. The environment provides longer, warmer days; a chance to shed (clothes, weight, burdens) and re-invigorate our resolve to do better. What if our resolutions are timed to a season where the universe was there to support our efforts with light in the morning to start an active routine? Knowledge and insight from the first few months to propel our intentions forward? A chance to do better or different than we did in the past?
For me, the thought of setting resolutions later in the year already makes me more positive about my approach and my intended outcomes. If you have not yet gotten around to making resolutions – congratulations! You will be right on time come March.
If you have already deserted what you thought you would achieve, relax. Maybe your time in January and February would be better spent thinking about the “why” behind your failed New Year’s Resolutions. Why were you aiming to make it to the gym every morning at 6am? Why do you want to read a book per month? Why is this the right time to lead a new initiative? If you can identify your “why” you might actually succeed at implementing the changes you intend to make.
When the sun starts to set later, when birds are chirping and we can wear warm weather clothing, let's approach our resolutions with more vigor, enthusiasm and desire to succeed. In the meantime, give yourself some grace and know you get a do-over in a few months.