So today is “Blue Monday”. The “most depressing” day of the year. The day we supposedly give up on our New Year’s resolutions.
“Blue Monday” is a phrase coined by marketers to get you to treat yourself to something you don’t need. The third Monday of January isn’t making you blue. But the entire concept of New Year’s resolutions might be.
Trying to radically change yourself, and realising soon after that it’s not that easy to transform the person you’ve spent all of your life becoming? That might do it.
For some people, New Year really is the catalyst for change, and that’s amazing. If you can genuinely make a decision to better yourself or your life on a given day, and stick to it, then great. But it’s not for me, nor the vast majority of people.
If I really want to do something – genuinely, with all my heart – I won’t wait until January 1st. I’ll start right away.
If I really want to make a change, it won’t come from a big public statement and setting myself a new standard – one which is probably either completely unattainable in the first place, or completely unsustainable in the long term.
Now you’re probably thinking I’m hypocritical, as I started this blog early in the New Year, and have been writing quite a lot since doing so. But the change came from the experiences of my holiday, not because of an arbitrary point in the calendar year. I could have taken the same holiday in spring or autumn and started writing as a result. The frequency of my writing is just as and when I think of stuff to write about – I was churning out posts at first as I wanted to document my Sleep No More visits before I forgot them, but I imagine now there will be weeks where I write daily, and weeks where I don’t write at all. And both are fine.
The main thing for me, is not setting myself up for failure. And promising myself that I’m going to lose 2 stone, or write a post every day, or stop drinking for a month, or give up chocolate, would be doing exactly that.
Whatever I say about “Blue Monday”, January isn’t the easiest month for a lot of people. Bank accounts are rather closer to empty than we’d all like after Christmas, and thanks to most people getting paid early in December it seems like forever until your next payday. It’s cold and damp – in the UK at least. After the Christmas festivities, January can seem dull and empty. So surely it’s the absolute worst time to deprive yourself and set yourself difficult goals?
In January, I’m happy if I just manage to get through the month without catching a horrible cold. I try to plan evenings with friends, or meals out (screw January diets) or theatre trips to make sure I’ve got plenty to look forward to. And I’m certainly not doing dry January. I can’t think of a month when I’d rather be sat in front of a film with a glass of Malbec, or curled up with a good book and a wee dram. Or out painting the town red for that matter – sometimes a couple of drinks and a boogie is exactly what you need to fight off the January blues. Grilled chicken, brown rice and broccoli washed down with 2 litres of still, room temperature water probably won’t have the same effect as a night out letting your hair down. I’ll be working out and eating healthily too, but give yourself a break and do whatever it is that makes you happy.
If you are one of those people who can capitalise on the fresh start a new year brings, then good for you – crack on! I’ll be here, cheering you on. But I’ll be doing it with a glass of wine in my hand.