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Is January the best month for new resolutions?


Every year on the 1st of January, the 1st day of the new year, we make big plans and goals. We say we are going to start walking more, reading more, lose a few pounds or finally join that gym that just opened around the corner. That day is the day of resolutions, the day of the ‘new me’, the day where we change for the better. 

We always start out with the best of intentions and maybe we last a week or two but often resolutions fall to the wayside. This begs the question, are we putting too much pressure on ourselves? Is January really the best month for new resolutions? 

Here are some reasons why maybe January isn’t the month to set resolutions: 

Madness of December 

December is a crazy month of parties, food and drink. For many of us, all routine goes out the window in favour of pyjamas at lunch time, christmas dinner leftovers for days, and large amounts of chocolate and treats. And then suddenly, on January 1st we are meant to live up to all these goals and new strict routines after living routine less for days previous. 

We give ourselves no time to return to our normal routine before introducing a number of stark changes. We give no breathing period between completely letting go at Christmas and the strict new routines of January. Maybe it is time we give ourselves that time to return to normal life. 

Maybe this year we should take on our resolutions in February after we have taken time to return to normality. 

Just because everyone else is doing it…..

Everyone picks January 1st as the day they make all these big changes and it puts pressure on us to be making some sort of change as well. But if we do it just because everyone else is, we aren’t doing it because we are motivated. In order to carry through with our resolutions, we need to have a great deal of motivation. So maybe the best time to make resolutions is not the 1st of January but simply the time we are most motivated to like March 6th or October 20th. 

January is the darkest and coldest month 

Why is it we pick the coldest and darkest month to make all these changes? January is the worst month for a lot of people because of the weather and the wait for the first pay check post the financial burden that is christmas. At this time of winter, willpower and motivation is low and the desire to stay in bed where it is warm is much higher. 

Too Much Contrast 

Christmas is all about indulgence. The cupboards are filled with sweet treats and fancy foods and drinks. So when we enter January and suddenly cut out foods and start going to the gym each day we can feel a little deprived and overwhelmed by the contrast between December and January. 

Maybe this year, set out by yourself and set resolutions when you feel best for you. Take on one resolution or two but try not to over do it. If you can, try to remember to set resolutions not only for your physical health but also your mental health. 

Here are some resolutions you might think about taking on this year: 

  • Exercise More (Doesn’t have to be much more, even a daily walk around the block) 
  • Meditate each day for 5-10 minutes 
  • Take up Yoga – Join a class 
  • Read more books – one a month 
  • Plan something fun with a friend each week 
  • Take up a new hobby 
  • Learn a new skill 
  • Live Life to the fullest 
  • Travel more  to other countries or around Ireland 
  • Use your phone less 
  • Volunteer 
  • Write down affirmations each morning  
  • Write down what you are grateful each night 
  • Cook more