January has a bad reputation, and I can see why. Long mixed up in diet culture, the phrase “New Year New You” has been pumped out of media outlets year after year to convince women that they need to change themselves.
In January you’ll find that gyms suddenly have irresistible new deals, food plans are being suggested on Instagram and campaigns of abstinence take centre stage – whether it be drinking, eating or shopping – often with a punishing tone.
Jameela Jamil recently highlighted the negativity surrounding the New Year New You narrative, writing in an Instagram post: “Happy new year. You don’t need to start a diet. You need to detox the fuckshit people out of your life. None of this new year slimmer neurosis. New Year HAPPIER YOU.”
And, I couldn’t agree more. But to do away with January’s potential to inspire betterment in other ways, in my opinion, would be a waste.
In fact, I think January is the perfect month for starting again. Yes, it’s cold and dark and miserable, but no one expects anything of you in January. Most people are spent up after Christmas and not as keen to book holidays and nights out – something which isn’t an issue in lockdown anyway.
So, this month gives us time to ourselves. I see it as space to reflect and think about what I want from the next 12 months. For me, this isn’t concerned with what I look like but where I want to be in my life.
I’ve always been an avid list-maker, but January is when I treat myself to some seriously fresh new stationery and break down my life into sections such as career, travel, personal development and health, and make goals under each one.
My theory is that January is actually a blessing, for no other month would I have literally nothing else to do than to set myself goals which I think will make my life better. It’s a month free of distractions.
While I like the idea of making long-term plans, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to set too many goals, too far ahead. If you find this approach pressurising but want to get the most out of January, life coach Leanne Evans has some exercises to try.
“We are in the midst of so much chaos. One thing we always do have control of, however, is a choice of how we choose to react to our circumstances,” says Evans.
“What if the lockdown period this January could offer you the space to reflect and to create a vision for how you want the rest of the year to unfold? What if you choose to empower yourself by focusing on the things you can control rather then that which you cannot?”
Below, Evans offers inspiration with three things you can choose to do this January that will result in significant shifts for you throughout the year.
Make space in your life
“What are you holding onto that is no longer serving you anymore? When we release, literally or energetically, we allow the space for something else to enter our lives taking authority and clearing can allow space for abundance. So maybe it’s time to clear out that wardrobe or to cut off relationships that you no longer are getting much back from.”
“We underestimate our power to create our reality. One of the most powerful ways to create is to have a clear vision of what we wish to move towards. What do you want your life to look like at the end of the year? This could be in terms of relationships, career, health, finances? What habits do you want to hold? What qualities and energy do you want to embody? The most important part is being honest with yourself about the blocks you may have preventing you from making this happen.”
Make time for reflection
“One thing we should certainly make time for is to reflect and process what is going on externally and internally for us. Whether you take stock when you go for a quiet walk, when in the shower or with a more structured journaling practice it is important to get curious about your life and how you are reacting to it. Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Reflecting, processing and shifting in alignment with where you want to go is one of the most powerful things you can for growth.”
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