It's the Lunar New Year, should we give a second chance to our New Year's resolutions?
January is over, Monday is over and the Chinese culture is celebrating the Lunar New Year.
One of the first things that came to my mind was, if we are celebrating along with the Chinese community the Lunar New Year… could we give another chance to our New Year Resolutions?
This morning on my commute to work I saw a post that made me giggle, it said something like ‘January is like a big Monday’. There is so much truth behind that sentence that I couldn’t help but think about the incredible parallelism between these two.
In the same way we put things off for Monday, I believe New Year Resolutions are some sort of the same thing: we enjoy the excitement of planning them, to then either procrastinate or hate ourselves for being so over-ambitious with our plans.
To me, December seems like a big birthday weekend; you make sure you buy everything needed for the party, cook meals, get the outfit, gather everyone around, and have a very nice time. Also, as any celebration, you make sure you enjoy at the fullest. However, to make yourself feel better —i.e. less guilty—, on Friday you commit yourself to start running and quit drinking alcohol the Monday after the weekend. Sure thing. Then, it’s Sunday, you wake up with a massive hangover and the stomach tells you what you knew the night before but didn’t want to listen: your have limits and they are agonising. In addition to the misery, you realise that the whole excitement you had been keeping for a year is over and you have to get back to work on Monday. Not to mention that all your money is gone. Then, your Friday intentions are back to your mind and want to punch yourself and life in general.
So what do we choose to do? We decide to screw everything and indulge ourselves by buying the easiest meal we can cook in the microwave, and binge-watch Netflix thinking ‘I feel bad enough to stay home, tomorrow I’ll start’. That has basically been my concept of January for many years.
But, why does January has the capability to make us feel at our lowest?
We might be familiar with the ‘January blues’ and the reasons behind this period of mental and physical heaviness. We’re tightening our belt in every sense, parties are gone, money is short and it seems that there are no events to be excited about. If we add the guilt caused by the hangovers and the extra weight gained during Christmas, the month seems very long and cold, full of restrictions and diets. Who would like January under these terms?
As I mentioned before, I don’t think expectations —i.e. New Year’s resolutions— help soothing the uphill. Instead, it is a very heavy stone in our bag that can become a real pain if not handled wisely.
It doesn’t help that we decide to push ourselves onto the unhelpful New Year’s resolutions because, to be honest, who does keep them by the end of January? I can say I really tried many times, but the longest I could keep them only lasted until the beginning of February; by then I was feeling so exhausted that I completely lost the motivation. Too many resolutions is a dangerous weapon, as we need to work on all of them and perhaps we don’t have the physical or mental energy to carry them out. Eventually, that added pressure makes us feel like a walking rubbish and deepens us in greater misery. After all these years of unaccomplished resolutions, I have started to think that we get so high of excitement in December that in January we fall massively hard. The sake of novelty puts us in such a stress that we end up living January as hell on earth.
To make a positive change, this year I learned my lesson and decided to set one single resolution: this year I wouldn’t set any resolutions. If there is no need, why pressing? Those who know me will understand the huge effort and commitment I’m doing here as I would consider myself as a professional pressure-seeker. So yes, I have eaten chocolate and pancakes. And drank wine and ate pasta. I have done exercise only because I felt like, not because I forced myself into it. January is hard enough to beat ourselves up for free.
At the end of the day, it is cold, we wear tons of layers and want tons of food in order to survive the cold, so who cares if those extra inches are going to take a bit longer to go away, we are still going to be covered in those layers for at least two or three more months so relax, chill, and eat that biscuit if you fancy.
Now here is my question, can we use the Lunar New Year to revise our resolutions and make new —improved— ones? Oh well, at least we survived January, got paid and it’s only 28 days. I guess it’s not such a bad idea after all. Maybe in February we can have a clearer perspective of what we really want to accomplish in the year, so let’s make another list and see!