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My New Year’s Revolution!!

 Yesterday my nine year old son made the cute mistake of saying ‘New Year’s Revolutions’, instead of ‘New Year’s Resolutions’. I already had the idea to write about new year’s resolutions and how we might approach this month. This got me thinking about how going against the grain, thinking about what’s truly best for us at this time, can be our own little revolution!!

If, like me, you live in the Northern hemisphere, Winter is often filled with cold, wet weather and more darkness than other parts of the year. It can seem counterintuitive to start putting pressure on ourselves to make huge changes. If, for example, someone has made a resolution to go outside for a run every morning, even trying to get one foot out the door is hard enough. It can require a HUGE amount of will power, strength and determination to stick to such goals in such a dark and gloomy month. If you have managed such a feat or are an existing runner, I must say: I commend you!!

For myself, starting such activities this month seems equivalent to trying to run a marathon before I’ve even tried running 5 minutes around the block. If, like me, will power is still a ‘muscle’ in you needing strengthening, it is likely that you’ll end up giving up on your goal quite soon after attempting the consistency it might require. This could ultimately lead to a feeling of failure and the risk and temptation to berate yourself for it.


So, what alternatives am I suggesting instead of setting new year’s resolutions?


Here are my three suggestions for how we might approach 2024 with our ‘New Year’s Revolutions’ instead:


1.   Don’t feel bound to the Gregorian Calendar


As you may well know, there are different ideas and traditions across cultures as to how and when the new year is celebrated. Throughout history calendars have been reformed for various reasons. Some used to use a ten-month calendar, which is where ‘December’ and many other months get their names. Many moved away from a lunar calendar, so that the dates didn’t fall out of cycle with the seasons. October 31st was considered ‘The Celtic New year’. The spring equinox around March 20th/21st is the Iranian new year called ‘Nowruz’. The more well known ‘Chinese new year’ is celebrated on the date of the new moon that falls between the end of January and February. Even the UK tax year begins in early April, dating back to the Middle Ages when the year began on March 25th.

In essence, what I am trying to illustrate is that, for various reasons, different cultures have different traditions and timing when it comes to the new year. In my humble opinion, some seem to make more sense than others. My personal favourite is beginning my year in March. Spring signifies new life in many ways, and with more natural sunlight, we may feel more energised as the daylight invites us outdoors more. I find Spring an easier time to develop and consistently work on goals that will bring me better health and happiness. I feel I can align myself a little better with nature, taking its cues of fresh beginnings along with many other aspects of nature at the same time.

So, even if it doesn’t involve champagne and fireworks, it is ultimately up to yourselves when you feel best to take stock of the year past and set goals for the 12 months following (13 if using lunar cycles).


2.   Setting self love and compassion as priority


‘In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a revolutionary act’


It was only a few weeks ago that adverts were full of tables of luxurious foods, perfumes, chocolates and old ladies sledging and laughing in the snow!! January hits and BOOM!!: it’s Slimming world and gym sign ups and holiday bookings to escape the bleakness of winter. January is full of messages that we are not good enough as we are, and that we need to consume more to truly feel happy.

What if instead of falling prey to this external pressure, we continue to allow ourselves the self-care, love and compassion we deserve. Whether that looks like a guilt free duvet day with Netflix and chocolates or continuing your current self-care practises and praising yourselves for it, taking stock of what we already have, not what we lack, may feel better this time of year. Another alternative could be  reaching out for some nurturing and relaxing activities, helping to wind down from the Christmas season and still keep cosy. (I’ve got my massage booked for next week!!)

Allowing and reminding ourselves to take pleasure in the little things we already love doing can be healthier than focusing on what we feel we need or want to change about ourselves. There is a balance to be struck; I’m not suggesting we give up or halt all our self-development, but that we move forward knowing that we are enough just as we are. It doesn’t have to be all about hard graft and uphill battles, accepting and rewarding ourselves is an important part of the journey too.


3.   Stay SMART!

If you are setting some goals and intentions this time of year, one of the best ways to do this can be to keep your goals ‘SMART’. This is an acronym for ‘Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound’ goals. Instead of generic sweeping statements like: ‘this year I will eat better’ or ‘this year I will lose weight’, we can think about exactly how and what we will do to work towards our goals. Thinking not about the mountain before us, but the first step of the journey. For example, I would personally like to improve my physical fitness this year, but my SMART goal towards it sounds something like this:

‘I will take a 30 minute walk after lunch, three times a week and attend at least one yoga class a week. I will review my progress in a month’s time.’

I’d also like to build up a consistent silent meditation practise of 20 minutes a day, at the same time every day, but my first step will be:

‘By a months’ time I will have consistently meditated for 10 minutes on weekday evenings.’

Once you have reviewed each step, you can either continue with the same SMART goal or build it up a bit. Using the meditation goal as an example: I could build up the duration of the time I meditate or increase how frequently I do it.

If you start setting unrealistic or vague expectations of yourself, you are more likely to struggle to achieve what you’d like to. Alternatively, if with patience, you begin with smaller steps, you may find that 6 months to a year down the line, you have developed practises that are starting to feel second nature to you.


However you choose or have chosen to enter 2024, my wish for you is that you meet yourselves and others with more grace, compassion and gentleness. I hope that any intentions or goals you do set will lead you to a healthier, happier life.

That your own new year’s revolutions will strengthen your self-love, self-confidence whilst always remembering how truly amazing you already are today.


Namaste 🙏🏼


Written by Katie Joy

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