Why does January feel like a punishment?
Every year, overnight 31 December to 1 January, we expect a magic transformation. OUT with the cluttered, disorganised, unhealthy ways of the last year; IN with the logical, squeaky clean, orderly ways of the New Year. Stand back Mary Poppins.
Tick all applicable boxes: go to gym 3 times a week, eat less and better, be more decisive, get that promotion, tidy the garage, find the dream home (with a shed), change career, establish a ‘personal brand’, save money, start own business, apply for MBA, ensure that the kids play their musical instruments every night, be ‘nice’ to the mother-in-law, bake bread, vaccinate the dog…
Everywhere you look there are clean eating recipes, highly sophisticated de-cluttering strategies, state-of-art gym memberships, successful entrepreneurs aged 19 and images of beautiful and happy people living the perfect life. Everyone else is on the life-revamp train. It’s just not right to be content with last year’s state of affairs. Change must happen now and all at once.
So does this strive for ‘perfection’ make us happy? I am not sure.
End of January is when I see more overwhelmed, dissatisfied, unhappy clients with failure written across their furrowed brows than in rest of the months put together. “If I cannot commit to going to gym 3 times a week, how can I even hope to proactively manage my career…”
Don’t get me wrong – I am all up for making positive changes – when these are well thought out, clearly defined, achievable and planned into a realistic timeframe.
Apart from the overwhelm from spreading yourself too thinly (and possibly from cutting out 3 major food groups), the chief issue with expecting wholesale life changes overnight – even on the most magic night – is the inevitable disappointment when they don’t occur. This leads to demotivation and sense of failure. Often at this stage we give up on our goals completely: “I cannot go to gym 3 times a week, so I won’t go at all”.
This January, how about taking time to count your chickens:
- What 2015 achievements and successes are you proud of?
- What challenges have you overcome?
- What talents, skills and strengths do these demonstrate?
- What’s going well right now?
- What or who are you grateful for?
Pat yourself on the back. You are rather amazing and successful.
If you must make resolutions, then try this:
- What 3 things make you happy? How can you do more of them?
- What one activity or obligation can you give up this year?
- What one small change will make a huge difference to your day?
Change is much easier and more fun when it is crossing a stream via stepping-stones than jumping blindfolded across a bottomless chasm.
Happy New Year!
If you would like more information on change coaching please contact Natalia for a free consultation.