I hear the whispers.
“Drinking green smoothies.”
“Lose X pounds.”
Everyone is sharing their resolutions, most of which involve health or physical appearance.
I love and admire goal-setting, but I try not to center my own aspirations around New Years Resolutions (though it’s fine if that works for you).
I think that the best time to set your resolutions is actually…
Hear me out.
1. February is desolate.
After the frantic pace of the holidays, there are fewer landmarks in February. And the weather makes February feel pretty shitty. Arguably, Valentine’s Day makes February even shittier, but that’s really for another post.
Most of February is spent waiting for March, but if you have a new goal for yourself, the whole focus for the month has shifted. You’re not just counting days until the thin hope of spring, you’re racking up days for your new resolution.
2. February is short.
It may not always seem shorter when the wind-chill brings the temperature down into the single digits, but February is a short month, even on a leap year. This year, February even begins on a Monday, so your week and resolution can start together (which makes tracking your progress even easier).
3. Everyone else is scaling back.
I’ve never belonged to a gym, so until I started doing yoga at a studio, I had never heard of January people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about them. I think that there are January people for non-fitness resolutions as well. If a January person resolved to impress their boss by beating them to work every day, but by February they realized that the boss doesn’t care, or it’s the only time they can get to the gym, or the kids’ bus schedule doesn’t cooperate, or life just happens, then the resolution has probably fallen to the wayside by the last week of January. If you start your resolution in February, you have more room (and more room to stand out).
4. The people who aren’t scaling back are hardcore. Learn from them.
You have a great opportunity to learn from people who have spent the last four weeks working on their resolution. If your resolution starts in February, you also have not attached yourself to anyone whose resolve may waver. If you and a co-worker are quitting smoking, but she falls off after two and a half weeks, you’re likely to follow. This is not uncommon. A study found that 35% of resolutions are broken before the end of January. Get with the people who jumped over the first big hurdle.
5. You decide the pressure.
A little bit of pressure goes a long way when it comes to lighting a fire under your ass. Ask any college student. If your resolutions are timed differently from those around you, you decide exactly how much pressure you want to put on yourself. You can tell other people and be super accountable, or you can write down your progress in a diary and keep it private.
Whether you decide to make resolutions in January, February, or never, make them healthy and enjoyable. Your life is your own and you’re in charge.