In my view, January 1st is absolutely the worst time of the year to make a resolution to turn over a new leaf and stop drinking coffee, be nice to the in-laws, start going to the gym or whatever.
This is because nothing changes in nature in January. January is the same as December was, and what February will be. Cold and dark. Dull and miserable. So you’re not going to get any help from the elements to support you in your resolution to change.
January 1st is also just a week after Christmas, with all the associated hangovers and hang-ups. Again, not the ideal time to be making a fresh start.
Is there an alternative?
What about making your resolutions at a different time of the year?
The ancients were quite keen on the winter solstice (December 21st). The year’s shortest day promises the gradual return of the sun. That sounds heartening. But we are so out of touch with the natural cycle of the planet that we’re not going to notice any minimal increase in daylight. Also, December 21st is the official start of winter! That’s sufficient to send a shiver down our spine and quench any optimism.
What’s my suggestion?
Delay your New Year’s Resolutions until Spring! Of all the seasons, Spring is the one that exhibits the greatest changes. Things happen in Spring. The temperature rises. The days noticeably lengthen. New life appears. Buds burst. Flowers bloom. Hibernating animals wake up. Butterflies emerge. Bees start buzzing.
If ever there was a time of the year when we feel optimistic and could say to ourselves “yes, I could make this Resolution work!” it’s Spring.
Two dates “spring” to mind
March 21st, the official onset of Spring, seems as good a date as any. Another is April 1st, although that’s clouded by being April Fool’s Day. (Although isn’t it about time we killed that off?)
Whatever date you choose, I would hazard a guess that attempting to keep a Resolution in Spring – the season of newness and change – can’t be any more difficult than starting on January 1st.
How about trying it out this year?