With January coming to an end and months begin to lose their national significance, it’s interesting to consider if resolutions survive once the January motivation is gone. Although it’s deemed one of the bleakest months, even housing what is considered the saddest day of the year – Blue Monday – January is a collective experience that can provide support and inspiration for those trying to make a change. Once it’s over, the communal spirit dwindles, and you’re left to maintain any changes alone.
I personally struggle with ‘new year, new me’ January propaganda. I resist the temptation to make drastic changes to my life because I know the darkest, coldest month of the year is not when I will thrive. However, statistics show that over half of all Brits made new year’s resolutions for 2022, and the top three were: exercise more, eat more healthily and lose weight. This is a huge number, and simply knowing that this volume of people are all trying to implement the same change as you can be incredibly motivating and supportive. Making resolutions in groups is far more effective in maintaining accountability, and can lead to greater success in achieving your goals. So January, despite being the most notoriously miserable month in our calendar, can actually offer the most support for those of us trying to make positive changes to our lives.
However, with January coming to an end, will this collective motivation disappear with it? As we move into February, we have to shift that drive inwards as the initial gusto of new year wears off.
The collective experience of January in all senses can make us feel more ‘together’ in society – whether we’re making changes or simply making it through, there is a definite sense that we are doing it as one. But now we are like hatchlings, about to be flung from the nest of collective comfort and enter a new month of individual experiences. As intimidating as it can be, the potential benefits are astounding as we are given the opportunity to check back in with our own needs and desires. We can shrug off the social expectations of being a ‘new me’ and just be the ‘actual me’.
If January is the month of new starts, February is the month of true starts.
As the onslaught of diet fads, exercise regimes, positive planners and cultural pressures ease, we’re afforded time to look inwards at our real selves and find a change that’s right for us. Maybe we don’t want to change anything at all! But if what we decide on is driven from within ourselves, the motivation and support won’t end with the month, it will stay lit like a fire in our bellies as we start to shape our futures to fit us, not to fit cultural narratives and social norms.
So roll on February, and with it, roll on me time, free time and let it be time!