Making New Year Resolutions is easy. Keeping them is hard.
Keeping New Year Resolutions in Australia is even harder.
The seasons don’t match
In the northern hemisphere, New Year comes in the middle of winter. Christmas and New Year are a bright spot after a time of shortening days, dark nights and increasing cold. For me, that time before the holidays is vital to the whole process of reflection and planning which goes before a new start. The pace of life slows down. Fewer nights out. The comfort of snuggling at home. All that leads to more time to reflect.
In Australia, not so. From September, the days are getting longer and lighter. Everything’s refreshed and everyone has energy to be more active. You want to enjoy the outdoors and the warm weather. Sports. The garden. The beach. Dinner outside with friends. All the things you couldn’t do when it was dark and chilly by 6pm. On top of that, you have a whole heap of things you must do before Christmas. No wonder most people aren’t in a reflective mindset.
Christmas and New Year go past, and what’s happening in Australia? Midsummer. Hot, sticky days. In Sydney this year, most of January clocked in at 35-40 degrees. That makes any running or outside exercise hard.
Everyone’s on holiday
Yep, the only way you could do all that running is by getting up at the crack of dawn before the heat. But who wants to do that when you’re on holiday? Especially when all the rest of the family are on holiday too.
It’s hard to make a fresh start when everyone’s on holiday. School’s out till some time after Australia Day. People take 2, 3, 4 weeks off. Hell, even 6 weeks for some lucky few. Back in the UK where I grew up, that doesn’t happen. Two weeks summer holiday is the norm. But here in Australia, Christmas, New Year and summer merge into one long season of vacation.
So should you take 3 or 4 weeks leave too? If you take the time off, your resolve wavers and the first month of the year is gone before you know it. If you go to work, no one you want to talk to is there and you can’t get anything done.
I belong to a business group here in Sydney. The Christmas party was on 13 December last year. Our next meeting was in February. The theme: ‘Starting the Year with a Growth Mindset’. Business associations think the year starts in February. So what’s the point of a January resolution to do business better?
‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’
So what’s the answer?
It’s hard to change the culture and habits of an entire nation. So change the way you look at things instead.
New Year in Australia comes at the wrong time of year for resolutions and fresh starts.
Make your resolutions at Chinese New Year instead.
Everyone’s back at work. They’ve waded through the backlog. The kids are back in school. The weather (we hope!) is starting to cool down and be fresher. What a great time to make a new start!
If you didn’t make resolutions, you could try it too.
If you made resolutions and then let them slip, this is the ideal time to try again. (Remember, failure isn’t about falling down. It’s about not getting up again.)
And if by any chance you’re that rare being who made New Year Resolutions on 31 December and is still going strong – congratulations! You’re an inspiration. The rest of us just have to keep trying.