You don’t have to achieve everything by the 31st.

Happy New Year! It might be a tad bit late to say this but I nevertheless hope you had a fantastic start into 2018, and were able to kick your shoes off for a while to just relax, sleep, and eat your body weight in chocolate.

As it is tradition when the 1st of January approaches, most of us set ourselves some New Year’s resolutions or have some goals and little milestones in the back of our minds which we would like to achieve by a certain point. However – spoiler alert: We won’t and – groundbreakingly – don’t have to achieve them all by the 31st of January.

I think a lot of us go into the new year with a fresh perspective and so many hopes and dreams that we are prone to try and overachieve. You might carry some baggage from 2017 with you – literally and metaphorically – and you want to get rid of it ASAP but trying to squeeze 12 months worth of time into 31 days is not going to work. It’ll be a little bit like trying to put on skinny jeans after moisturising your legs: We all know we shouldn’t do it, and let the moisturiser sink in first, but every time, we try again.

Motivation and determination are important but often accompanied by a sour taste of pressure, fuelled by social media posts of the seemingly most ambitious people, smashing their diets with #Veganuary and posting selfies from their daily trips to the gym.

And that’s the problem: The worst type of pressure is the one we put on ourselves because it’s the hardest to take off.

On top of that is the media, which put that liiittle bit of extra strain on us. In December, we are told that it is absolutely fine to eat an extra slice or have an extra glass of everything because, hey, it’s Christmas! But come January, with the vanishing of baubles and tinsel, the permission to have an extra bit of everything disappears, too, and instead of being told to go on, we are told off. For indulging, relaxing, taking things slower and not pressuring ourselves too much.

Personally, I think we should live all year as if it was Christmas: Allowing ourselves that extra slice, that extra glass, relaxation when we need it, and taking the pace out of our busy busy lives every once in a while. To stop and breathe and contemplate.

January is the Monday of the year – this year even more so, with the 1st being an actual Monday. The Christmas spirit is now well and truly over, the previously beautifully decorated trees have been chucked out, now looking dry and lack-lustre; fairylights have been taken down and put into a box in the attic for another eleven months, but the weather is still the same dark, grey and rainy. The post-Christmas bank account sits there without any festive cheer and we all need some time to settle into this new episode of our lives. 2018. Back to work, out of the trance of mince pies, mulled wine and the smell of pine.

With this one long Monday ahead of us, we should all be a bit more gentle with ourselves, and trying to ease into our New Year’s resolutions is part of that, too. Leave some fairylights up a little bit longer, don’t throw that leftover chocolate away and allow yourselves some weekends off. There is still a lot of 2018 left – let’s not start with a race on who can achieve the most the quickest. Instead, let’s let the new year sink in before we put our skinny jeans on, okay?

’til next time x

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