Welcome to 2023! – It’s time for New Year, New You! – Let’s get that diet started! – This time the exercise regime will stick! – You’ll be bikini ready by summer!
Frankly it’s the same story every year: the glossy magazines espouse a ‘new’ healthier way of life; the gym memberships triple, the diet industry booms; and by February? It’s all over.
A 2021 survey showed that two thirds of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions within a month, but why is that? Well, it has something to do with the time of year. January is a cold, dark month and, with up to 20% of the population suffering from mild to severe Seasonal Affective Disorder, the weather itself is enough to dampen our enthusiasm. Add to that the fact that finances are at a yearly low after Christmas and many people are suffering burnout after a hectic festive season, January is probably the worst month you could pick to start a new lifestyle plan!
January can be so hard on people that some scientists have even suggested the existence of ‘Blue Monday’ (usually the third Monday of January), statistically the most depressing day of the year. Knowing all that, do you really fancy your chances of sticking to your resolution?
But then again, what about the third of people who do stick it out past January? They show us that it is possible to change our ways for the better, so what’s their secret?
It’s quite a simple one actually, and it’s the subject of the first of my six steps to happiness: MIND.
The difference between keeping and breaking a resolution (at any time of year) is one of mental attitude. When I finally got control of my health and lost weight healthily and permanently, it was because I made the decision to do so. I know that sounds flippant: surely all resolutions are a decision? But think about it for a minute – how serious are you about your New Year’s resolution? Were you and your friends sat around joking and laughing about your resolutions? Did a little voice in your head tell you that this year will be just like the last? Are you already wondering how long you’ll have to starve yourself before you can reintroduce your favourite treats?
At the end of the day we either treat our resolutions as a joke or a punishment, and neither of these attitudes will work.
As I say in my book, you need to start by framing your resolutions in a positive way. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight” say “I want to be a healthy weight”. Instead of saying “I don’t want to be unhealthy”, say “I do want to be healthy”
Suddenly your resolution isn’t a punishment, it’s an adventure, and you’re focussed not on what you have to give up, but on what you’re going to gain.
You need to recognise that your journey isn’t going to be easy, but acknowledge that it doesn’t need to be that hard. Getting healthy isn’t an overnight fix, so take it slow and don’t make it too hard on yourself.
My advice? Make this your resolution:
I WILL MEDITATE EVERY DAY IN JANUARY
Meditation is the key to self-control, self-discipline and, most importantly, self-acceptance. By committing to meditate for as little as 5 minutes a day through January, you will be in such a positive head space by February that you will be truly ready for your ‘New You’ If you like you can even think of it as a Chinese New Year New You and start your new lifestyle plan on the 22nd January!
If you’re unsure about what meditation involves there are plenty of great resources online, and I talk about it at length in chapter 5 of my book. Plus you can always get in touch here or through my website if you’d like a bit more advice.
Remember, mindset is everything, as Henry Ford said: ““Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”