Thinking differently about January
4 December 2018
January has long been associated with new beginnings. As humans, we thrive on achievement and achieving. 4000 years ago, the ancient Babylon’s through their rituals believed that world was symbolically cleansed and renewed by the gods in preparation for the New Year and Spring.
Fast forward 4000 years and it’s not that dissimilar to now although it's more about individual resolutions and goals than a religious ceremony.
The average person has 79 January’s in a lifetime and for over half of my life, I have dreaded January. To spend over half of my life dreading a month is when you think about it, really silly. The thought of the long dark nights and it being still another four months from summer, the financial hangover from Christmas overspend and back to school and work. The pressure of having to conform and make resolutions that I knew I wouldn’t keep and be abstemious like everyone else in the world seems to be.
But this year is quite different. This year I have fallen back I love with January.
I haven’t made lots of unachievable resolutions, in fact only two. You can read about those here. But for the purposes of this, I am looking after myself better. I am doing dry January properly for the first time in years but this is a mindset rather than a resolution. I am more present and everywhere I look I am seeing opportunities to change something and tweak something and find a better way of doing it.
Just a few small marginal changes can make huge changes when you add them together. Look at the GB Olympic cycling team. They decided to break everything they did down into tiny pieces and increase everything better by 1%. The result? Significant gains. If you look at everything you do and tweak it just a tiny bit you can improve things.
For the past 4 years every February, I have entered a really tough coastal run this year I didn’t. No time to train and I injured myself earlier in the year, then I studied for 6 months. Instead of beating myself up about it and getting down and feeling like I had missed out and just not doing anything (which is what the old me would have done) I seized the opportunity to be a bit brave again and joined a very small local gym. (When I say small it’s really tiny) The type of gym you would walk straight past in a town or city. However, in a small rural community, it's fantastic it’s a real hub. Several of us all go at the same time all completely different ages and abilities and we do some serious circuits as a group and inspire and encourage each other and come away with a real sense of achievement. Nothing like how I used to feel when I used to go to the gym in suburbia with 200 machines and no one speaking to each other, let alone getting eye contact! If I hadn’t injured myself last May I would never have joined this gym. It’s amazing what opportunity can come out of adversity.
It is all about thinking slightly differently and for me I put this down in part to spending the last 6 months of last year so far out of my comfort zone that I thought my head would explode but there’s nothing like being out of your comfort zone and then coming back to normal, you see the thing is you don’t go back to where you were you are one step ahead... Braver perhaps, confident definitely and able to see the wood from the trees just a little more clearly maybe.
Being out of your comfort zone gives you more resilience to deal with things and seek out opportunity. So, embrace January and take yourself out of your comfort zone and surprise yourself with perhaps a new way of thinking or doing something. You will be amazed at the results and the opportunities that are out there, sometimes you just have to push yourself a little to realise all those potential new beginnings. Don’t spend your life wishing January away and do start enjoying the moment!