Thursday, 23 January 2014

5 Reasons to be Positive in January

Last Monday was Blue Monday. Supposedly, the third Monday in January is the most depressing day in the entire year. Whether you believe this or not, it's not hard to see why January is a depressing month. Christmas and all its associated festivities are over. The reality of how much one ate and how little one should now eat are dawning. The prospect of long, cold, dismal months back at the grindstone are in view.

But though I can't simply dismiss the above, for some reason this January I've been feeling more positive about the beginning of a new year. So I thought I'd write down why this might be:

1) Retrospective

Although some dismiss the new year as just another month, I rather like the opportunity it provides to do a little reflecting. A useful exercise, I've found, is to sit down and write a condensed summary, or a critical review, if you like, of the previous year. A little analysis of what was good and bad, what went well and what didn't, which goals were met, how things have changed etc., can provide fresh perspective. I found that although 2013 wasn't a particularly spectacular year for me, I actually had many things to be grateful for. Writing it down proved it wasn't quite as bad as I'd initially thought. Also, identifying problems from the previous year is also the first step to overcoming them.

2) Fresh start

The most obvious, perhaps. The changing of the calender affords us to wipe the slate clean, and, having reflected on the previous year, allows us to start thinking about what we want to get done this year. Lists of priorities and to-do's form. This helps to focus on our key purposes which in turn keeps time-wasting at bay and motivation switched on. At least until 2pm, that is.

3) Time for change

Without sounding too much like a Conservative campaign, January gives us time to think about changes that we want or need to make in life. Whether it's a career change or a change in the way you spend or eat, change is good. It can be scary, but it keeps us on the ball and out of the comfort zone – where all true learning takes place (beyond a library).

4) Calm and focus

January is also, generally, a pleasantly calm time of year. After all the stress and intense social/family circumstances that surround Christmas, January is a time where the lack of demands and hype allow us to calm down, collect our thoughts, and focus on the task in hand. Like a mid-forties, grey-haired commuter who works at a bank, there is something mature and stable about January, despite its dullness.

5) Book a holiday

Of course! It has to be done. The perfect way to stave off those winter blues is to give yourself something to look forward to – preferably a something which lasts a minimum of two weeks and involves tropical vistas and balmy blue seas. But even if it's as simple as a weekend in the Lake District, make sure you book yourself a break. You deserve it. (As an added bonus, the likes of BA and EasyJet do some great January deals.)

Well, that's it – an uncharacteristically positive collection of blue-sky thoughts from a grey-sky January day. Do you have any additional reasons to be positive in January? Do share them below!

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