Why January is the worst time to make resolutions and how to make sure you smash yours

planning your year, new years resolutions

As if this year wasn’t pressured enough with all the changes we’ve had to make – adapting to home working, job changes, managing teams from afar.

Not to mention home-schooling.

I firmly believe that the last thing we all need is to be asked to adapt once again – by making New Year’s resolutions to change how we do yet more things!

I am no fan of New Year’s resolutions at the best of times. There is good reason why studies show only eight per cent of people who make them keep them and a whopping 80 per cent have failed by the start of February.

You see, it’s simply the wrong time of year. January is all about cave time. Our bodies crave comfort, we spend a lot of time at home and we’re just not cut out for major change at this arbitrary date in the calendar. Our bodies haven’t changed much since we lived in caves, but our lifestyles are unrecognisable and it’s the key reason we struggle so much to achieve things.

It’s the reason that chronic stress eats away at our wellbeing, reducing our immunity, fertility, and impacting our sleep, digestion and mood. We were built to fight tigers or flee – short bursts of adrenaline used up by our muscle power. Not chronically long-term low levels of stress hormones bouncing around our bodies without let up.

And so it is with January resolutions. January is not the new year as far as our bodies are concerned – it’s the middle of winter. Time for dormancy, for keeping warm and nourished and making it through to the spring. Now THERE is the perfect time for resolutions to become really successful.

It’s in the energy of the spring clean, the spring detox, the spring clear out. Facing the fresh new year with the spring greens on the trees and the sap rising. Even the plants show up to support us in spring with nettles, dandelions and wild garlic taking the lead. This is where we find the willpower and the enthusiasm to make a real impact on our health and fitness, not staring at the Christmas leftovers and trying to ignore the chocolate mountain in the cupboard.

The secret list in reclaiming the fact that we ARE still hardwired for survival. If we can just work with these ingrained natural rhythms rather than fighting them then life becomes infinitely easier. It is my firm belief that tuning into nature and allowing those rhythms to nurture us is always the quickest, easiest, most effective, even cheapest way to improve our wellbeing.

The rhythms of the year carry us through with ease because we are designed to respond to them. Nature give us plants to nourish and sustain us and even use as medicines to correct imbalances brought about by living our modern lives. Just going for a walk in nature has been shown to improve mental health and now GPs are even able to prescribe time in nature as medicine.

So rather than flooding your system with self-deprecation for breaking yet another set of well-meant New Year’s resolutions (which by the way will lower your immunity, raise your stress levels and inhibit your weight loss) how about going easy on yourself, nourishing yourself with wholesome foods and the occasional treat this new year.

As for the resolutions – of course they are important – I’ll meet you at the end of February ready for the start of spring. I’ll have all the detox advice, the herbal insights, the dietary hacks, the lowdown on keeping you motivated.

And it’ll be SO much easier then.


Pamela Spence MNIMHAbout the author

Pamela Spence is a medical herbalist, writer and educator and runs a successful clinical practice from her home on Scotland’s beautiful west coast. She is the Twinings herbal expert and teaches internationally both informally and on professional herbal training courses.

Pamela runs an online community for busy women who do too much. Doors open again in March and kick off with a week of free content at the end of February. To find out more and sign up to the wait list go here: https://pamelaspence.co.uk/nurtured-by-nature-waitlist/

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