The January Desire For Positive Change

Scrambled Tofu

Nearly every year since starting this blog I have waxed on about the dangers of making ‘resolutions’ in January. It’s not the desire to make positive change, that is a good thing in my book. It’s more the way we approach these things. The way we keenly hop on bandwagons because we hope it will be the magic wand for change. I’m here to tell you, it won’t be.

My Own Private Bandwagons

Oat milk hot chocolateVeganuary is just an extension of my ongoing experimentation with vegan food. I was sold on the environmental impacts of eating meat and using dairy some time ago and continue to find ways to use fewer animal products in my cooking. Being a keen cook, this is a way to introduce new recipes into my repertoire and perhaps save a little money too.

Dry January is deeply personal. I don’t like my current relationship with alcohol and want to change. January is a calm month, nothing much in the diary.

Community vs. Bandwagon

A bandwagon is something you hop on because of FOMO (so happy the millennials invented that anachronism). It’s a fad, a craze you try. Your motivations may not be clear or even justified. You think it’s something you need or want because it looks so much fun for others.

I’ve no problem admitting I’ve hopped on plenty of bandwagons and probably still do technically. It’s social behaviour which develops at an early age. Craving to be part of a crowd, even forcing yourself to like something you really don’t because you don’t want to be excluded. My young daughters are already seduced by bandwagons. It’s unavoidable.

Even rebelling against the bandwagon, is a bandwagon in itself!

Community is about people coming together to achieve something or to be inpired.

Is January the best time?

Vegan BreakfastIn my humble opinion, it boils down to this: if you find yourself using words such as ‘should’ or ‘must’ when it comes to your desire for positive change, then it’s possible you haven’t explored fully the ‘whys’.

Some experts assert that setting up goals based on an arbitrary date can lead to disappointment and guilt. Which then, in turn, can fuel a cycle of self-loathing behaviour. I speak from experience.

On the other hand, for some, a post-festive clear out in January (as it follows December) feels like a natural thing to do. Whether it’s for a few weeks or the whole month.  And the community rallying around those pledges can be really supportive and helpful.

I’ve seen a lot of people on social media talk about self-care being their theme for 2018. This is a great notion, as long as you understand what it means for yourself. We are all different, we have different demons to tackle in our psyche. This is why one size fits all diets don’t work in the longterm where there are underlying behaviours fuelling the poor eating habits.

Empathise Don’t Criticise

Kale pestoThere’s already a backlash against the tide of January pledges on social media. We have to accept there are people who love to complain and be negative about stuff publicly. It’s what social media has become. Hey, they have a right to be critical – reasonable and lively debate is what is needed in this world.

But also empathy appears to evaporate when they sit behind a keyboard. People forget there are real sensitive feelings behind the oversharing online.  It’s generally accepted it takes 21 days to kick a habit but it could take a lot longer to form a new habit, one that’s beneficial to health and well-being. This is a fragile time for many and being negative just doesn’t help anyone.

And if you’re bored of January bandwagon behaviour then you can always click the unfollow button. It’s not personal!

If you’re looking for a way to brain dump but don’t want hand cramp from vigorous writing in a notebook, want to write from anywhere (online) and keep it private I’ve discovered Penzu diary platform.  Brilliant for daily journaling.

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About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of BrightonMums.com, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at www.fitfaband40.co.uk - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

View all posts by Claire Jones-Hughes →

2 Comments on “The January Desire For Positive Change”

  1. I totally agree that January feels a bit like boom or bust for some people. As a family we’ve set intentions for the year to use less plastic & go to some places we’d all like to go.

    As a proponent of better listening, I’m saddened by some peoples attitudes to others. If only those ‘some people’ simply listenend. That would allow us all to understand and support each other to improve those things in our lives we’re working on right now.

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