How are you getting on with those New Year Resolutions? It’s probably better not to ask.
The idea of giving up treats in the coldest, darkest, dampest month of the year is surely a cruel joke.
So where does it come from? Why the pressure to resolve to become the perfect person as the clock strikes midnight on Jan 1? It can’t just be about drying out after the Christmas soak, because not all resolutions are about cutting out booze.
Literary references to self-improvement go back centuries; the tradition of setting goals on or around January was already well established by the 1860s.
And it seems that being able to peg certain challenges on a particular date can help motivate us. This is what psychologists call the power of ‘the fresh start effect’ which is where you create a mental ‘divide’ between the ‘old you’ and the ‘new you’ who is going to do so much better.
But this is odd. We think because the year is new, it’s all to play for, that it’s a blank canvas and somehow within our control. But really, it’s just another date on the calendar.
But just because it’s 1 Jan doesn’t mean we’ll somehow become multi-lingual and look like Cindy Crawford by Feb. Just as we won’t necessarily be rich once we get that perfect job, or happy once we find the perfect partner.
Or suddenly fulfil all our dreams on retirement...
Surely it’s much better to forget the date altogether, and break it down into something more manageable. In the case of retirement, it’s what you tell your clients: bring some of the fun of retirement forward into the present. Have a 'mini retirement' as a trial run, ticking off everything on your bucket list to see if you like it or not first.
And in the same way, instead of pinning all your hopes on Jan 1, why not spread your fresh starts across the year? After each holiday for example, or after every weekend?
In many ways Monday holds all the promise of New Year’s Day just in miniature format – you’ve had a break, and have the whole week in front of you. And if it all goes wrong by Wednesday, there’s a whole other week to look forward to.
So let’s enjoy Fat January and Bloated Feb while we can. And look forward to a more realistic new start every week.
Want to charge your phone a bit faster? Put it in airplane mode.
In this week’s Money Marketing I elaborate on last week’s email, providing a list of the key business phrases you need to navigate financial marketing in 2022.
We only have about 4,000 weeks of life on average, says the writer Oliver Burkeman in his book Four thousand weeks: Time and How to Use it, so it’s important to prioritise what really matters. Listen to this podcast on it if you don’t have time to read the book.
This bike helmet has lights controlled from your handlebars. If you have a serious fall, it’ll detect the pause in movement and send a text to your emergency contact with your precise location.