Goals & Habits

Why New Year should be in February

Am I the only one who finds January incredibly tough? I know I’ve struggled in previous years, but this time it seems unusually hard. Here are the key reasons I think maybe we should perhaps take a cue from Chinese New Year, and start fresh in February instead:

  1. We need to recover from Christmas/the Holidays
    Despite the time off work, I usually seem to attempt more than I should in the festive period and end up in sore need of another break. This year we went to New Zealand (which was amazing, more on that soon), but the 16 day trip has left me feeling like a squished cartoon character.
  2. We’re always ill in January
    Maybe this is related to point 1, but it’s becoming a bit of a joke. The rest of the year, I’m (touch wood) the picture of robust, defiant health, but in January something always flattens me. This year’s mundane but pesky cold/cough is now into its third week. Yay. And I’m not the only one: half the people I work with are in the same boat.
  3. It’s a terrible time to start resolutions
    Given that fitness and healthy eating seem to top almost everyone’s goals list, why do we try to launch into this when the weather and short days are more conducive to snuggling inside and eating lasagna?  And see point 2.
  4. I have a birthday in January
    Wouldn’t it be lovely to have just a little more indulgence before facing the reality of the credit card bill, the scales and the resolutions? If your birthday is in this dark, bleak month, please tell me how you celebrate.
Winter printable, Cobblestonestudio2, Etsy

Winter printable from Etsy (click for link)

But, because this isn’t supposed to be a dreary post, here’s how to deal with it:

  1.  Go easy on yourself
    You don’t have to make fancy resolutions (which you never keep, anyway) and even if January is a write-off, you still have 11 glorious months in 2016 to sneak in some achievements. I’m trying not to freak out about promising everyone I’ll release a new novel this year. 330 days is loads of time, right…?
  2. Eat well, but not obsessively
    Even in the midst of my gloom, I’m doing pretty well at eating “real” food and scaling back portions. I’m trying not to call it a diet but I am tracking both calories and exercise and I admit I would love to see a lower number on the bathroom scales.
  3. Plan your next trip/staycation
    I doubt I’ll get there this year, but I have a new favourite retreat venue! I’ll share it in my next post.
  4. Get off the sofa
    I’m not just talking about exercise (although – wow – that really helps lift my mood), I’m also talking about shaking up your routine. I’ve noticed, especially at weekends, even when I think I want to do nothing, I actually feel more rested when I get my brain a little out of its rut. I’m nudging myself to take a craft class, schedule a half-marathon and meet an online friend in real life.
  5. Try these tips which I’ve blogged about before: 8 Ways to Beat the Blues

Do you feel blah in January? What’s your best tactic for feeling refreshed?

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10 Comment

  1. Reply
    April J Harris
    January 15, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I totally agree, New Year should definitely start in February! I do feel energised and ready to start fresh in January but it’s really hard to stick with things when it’s cold, blah and still quite dark. I like your tips for moving forward – exercise works for me too!

  2. Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks, April.
    And I just found this great piece on Apartment Therapy:

  3. Reply
    Joanne Phillips
    January 16, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Oh, I definitely agree! And I always make a stack of resolutions and goals, but never truly get going on then till the end of Jan. But I’m okay with that.

    I love your idea of shaking up the routine, and we’re about to do that by eating earlier – our evening meal has slowly moved back (over 7 years, because of kids bedtimes) to about 9pm! Not good for bedtime or diet or digestion! I also need to force myself to get out and walk every day, no matter the weather. And then, just go easy and wait for February and a bit more positivity to kick in.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon, Pauline – I’m sure you’ll fight this bug off. And I can’t wait to hear more about that trip! xxx

    1. Reply
      Pauline Wiles
      January 18, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Jo. What a relief to hear you don’t get much done in January either!

  4. Reply
    January 16, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    I hope you get better soon, Pauline.
    January is indeed a very hard month. As I come from hot and sunny Sardinia, I really struggle to acclimatize to cold and grey English weather. I have been here for over 22 years, and every winter is like the first time 🙁

    Having said that, come January I tell myself: well, the days will get lighter every day, soon the daffodils will come out, and Spring is only a few weeks away, with some trees already showing tiny buds. I try to concentrate on those, as I need cheering up.

    I no longer make new year’s resolutions. As I don’t have great health, I just live each day as it comes. When I go to bed at night, if I realize that I’ve done the best I could with my day, then I feel relatively content 🙂

  5. Reply
    Pauline Wiles
    January 18, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Oh, Martina, I can only begin to imagine how January/February in England feels compared to Sardinia, you poor thing.
    And, while I know your health is a huge barrier to the things you’d like to do, I think I might be more settled if I just reflected on one day at a time: that sounds like a serene habit and worth adopting. Thank you.

  6. Reply
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com
    February 4, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Pauline, January has never felt like a beginning to me. During my school days (and during the school days of anyone in a family, I suppose), September is a logical time to start the “new year.” Like Martina, I’m more of an “each day as it comes” sort. Hope you recovered from that cold/cough.

    1. Reply
      Pauline Wiles
      February 4, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Yes Jean! September is another wonderful “new year” month! Those crisp autumn mornings get me every time.
      As for the annoying cough, my co-workers are calling it cow flu in honour of all the 4-legged New Zealand friends I made 😉

  7. […] an opportunity to reset. I’ve mused on this before, in this article which suggests we should try this whole nonsense in February […]

    1. Reply
      December 18, 2019 at 9:11 pm


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