I look forward to your crowded gyms and icy-cold mornings.
Your days are short on daylight, but we are past the winter solstice, so we can count on you for a few extra minutes of sun each day. Yippee. That warms my heart, even if my hands will still be cold for a while.
Yet, if I’m being honest, those dark-before-we-get-off work evenings aren’t really that bad. The frigid winter winds chase me home, where I curl up under my Snuggie to binge-watch “Grey’s Anatomy” or cozy up with my Kindle in my quest to reread all of Toni Morrison’s novels. I’ve almost finished “Song of Solomon.”
“January is a time to rethink and re-link” said Pax Tandon, the Philadelphia-based author of “Mindfulness Matters.” “The holidays are a time when you are doing so much your energy becomes eroded. It takes us away from self-care. We are so outwardly focused we aren’t doing what we need to do to stay balanced. We can’t be in service of the world if we are not in service to ourselves.”
So yes, January, as long as the wine fridge is stocked, bring on the surprise snow day. Or two. Why? Because even with your whiteout snowstorms and deep car dig-outs, your arrival brings the calm. All that is fa-la-la-la-la is safely over, at least for the next 11 months.
The end of the never-ending Hallmark Christmas movie season isn’t the only reason why I can’t wait for Jan. 1’s arrival. After the settling of Christmas debts, my money is mine again: to better budget, to save, or to plan a slamming vacation with.
The 2020s will be for dream building. I’m claiming it now.
But I’m no fool, January. You do arrive with lists and restrictions and resolutions. How will I ever lose that 10 pounds? It’s become trendy to get through you dry — as in no wine at all.
This year I refuse to fall back into the same old patterns that find me overwhelmed and overcommitted before Valentine’s Day. How will I do this?
Here are a few expert tips for learning to love January and making the most of it.
Write down your goals
“Writing things down makes things more concrete,” said life coach LaVerne Adams.
The saying goes, “A goal not written down is merely a wish.” This year, I’ll write down my goals, and also the actionable steps that will make them happen. At the beginning of each month, I’ll break my goal down into manageable tasks and try to schedule time throughout the week and month.
Default to ‘no’
Sure, it sounds fun to go out with the girls to Restaurant Week or shopping or even to that new workout class. But is this really something that I will want to do when 5 p.m. Thursday rolls around? I’m going to avoid getting overwhelmed by starting at “no,” and taking the time to figure out if I really want to say “yes.”
“Who do you want to be?” Tandon said. “What do you want your life to look like? It’s a good opportunity to change the optics. And this activity doesn’t fit into your life vision, then really think hard about committing to it.”
Less screen time. More you time.
Everyone I know seems to be craving a digital detox of some sort. Why? Because social media is a serious time suck that takes you away from what you’d really like to get done, whether that’s writing that business plan or learning a new language. And why start the year by comparing yourself with others? “I’m going to start skipping Instagram and instead reading 15 minutes in the morning. That will be my new norm in 2020,” said Mindie Barnett, motivational speaker and author of “Intermission: How Fervor, Friendships and Faith Took Me to the Second Act.”
Now’s the chance to make the new decade what you want it to be: Ditch the bad habits and bad feelings of the last year, fill up that new planner, and fall in love with January, the best month of the year.