1st of January is a symbolic time. It symbolises a fresh start, the opportunity to create new habits, in a new year, whilst leaving behind the mistakes and disappointments of the last. And yet for mums down under it is possibly the worst time to begin instituting new regimens: because it’s the middle of the school holidays! It’s chaotic, It’s expensive, and it can be downright exhausting. Not to mention your wallet and health are still recovering from Christmas…
Unlike previous years I really enjoyed having my daughter home these holidays. We went to work together, we had a pyjama day, we read books, cleaned out her room (mammoth job!), went to the beach, and generally enjoyed each others company. And what made it so pleasant this time around? The fact that I had decided ahead of time that I wasn’t going to try and cram in all the things I normally did while she was on holidays. I’d only do what I had to. And I sure as heck wasn’t going to start trying to include more exercise, healthier eating, or any other resolutions during her holidays.
And it made a huge difference!
She was calmer, I was calmer. I was less frustrated because I didn’t have massive lists of things I wasn’t getting done. In short, I was kinder to myself over this period. I made less demands on my body and my mind, not more. And I was healthier for it. Ok, so maybe my body wasn’t healthier. I’m pretty sure I put on a couple of kilos… But my mental health was definitely improved from this time last year, and that to me is far more important!
I loved having my daughter off for the holidays, and that in turn left me feeling far better about myself than any New Years resolutions ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I think goal setting is incredibly important. But so is timing. The familiarity of school and work routines bring with them the space to think about and action, anything you want to work on over the year. It’s the perfect time to start thinking about yourself, what changes you’d like to make, how you can improve your health, your happiness, and your future.
Jan 1st just didn’t offer that for me, and I’m fine with that. Because guess what people? There are 11 more months in the year! And 48 more weeks, and 334 odd days. And at any one of these times you can start fresh. You can try to put yourself first. You can force yourself out the door and into your running shoes, you can make a salad instead of grabbing a meat pie. (Even if a meat pie will always, always taste better than salad. Just sayin). Who cares if you start your new years resolutions in Feb? In fact, one of my (New Month) resolutions was to care less about what people think.
Research says that most New Years resolutions only survive 6 weeks. So if yours didn’t pan out, then don’t stress, there’s plenty more firsts in a year. And the reality is, that it often takes a few failures before you’re successful at something. So just think of each day as the opportunity to do better, to be better, than the day before. Because that’s all that really matters. That you attempt to increase your knowledge, your health, your mental well-being. That you constantly improve, no matter how small the change. That to me is far more valuable than making New Years resolutions, beating yourself up when they fail, and then giving up for the rest of the year.
We have an amazing opportunity, not just every year but every DAY, to improve our lives. To learn from the past, live for the present, and look forward to the future. A change of date doesn’t alter this. But perseverance can alter you.
Happy New Day everyone!!