As we approach the New Year there is an expectation to make resolutions.  The tradition of new year resolutions comes from a need to say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new. However is the new year really the best time to make new year’s resolutions?

I think we have all experienced beginning January with the best of intentions to join the gym, start on a diet or another promise. Yet a few days in the first week or even before then we give up on the resolutions through a sneaky piece of chocolate cake or a  preferring a lie in instead  of a work out.  Of course we can  always put this down and resolve to change our ways but some how these resolutions are often forgotten a fortnight in and a distant memory  by February. There are whole industries which make money from the swell in gym membership in January and of course require a 6 month or year membership , under the often false belief that  if you have paid for the service in advance you will use it. Often this could not be further from the truth as the membership now seems like a commitment and a hassle instead of a decision from free choice. If this has not already put you off  January is often seen as a depressing month as tax returns are due in the UK and many people have credit card bills and over draft excesses from Christmas spending. This coupled with the early dark nights and cold makes it in no way a time for making new year’s resolutions. To return to the common resolutions of joining the gym the dark morning and dark evenings make a lie in or returning home to from work to the television and a warm fire all the more appealing. However it is not all doom and gloom so what would I suggest instead?

Make January – Joyous January
Aim to fill  the month with treats and events which you can look forward to in the coming weeks. These treats do not need to be expensive or extravagant otherwise it completely defeats the point. Treats should be enjoyed guilt free and without worrying about the cost. Obviously this year it is too late, but if you intend to make this a tradition you can book and pay treats for more expensive treats such as  ballet, pantomine or musical show months in advance. Of course these treats do not need to cost much or anything at all if you meet up with friends for a walk, potluck lunch or attend a free recital. A quick search on the web or local newspapers will come up with lots of ideas.

Make a wish, dream and gratitude list

Make a list of wishes and dreams for the year. Look at the new year as a whole and see the opportunities that it brings. First of all write a gratitude list, once again do not feel guilty Simpy write a list of everything you are thankful for, big and small, specific and general. including the basics of food, running water, clothes, heat and shelter. Then write a list of wishes and dreams for the new year and the future. Imagine what you would do if money was no issue, time was no issue, space was no issue and you could not fail. Have fun with this, you might like to make it as a vision board or treasure map, a brainstorm, a picture or a list. Then put it away safe or put it up on the wall. Use it in the way which works for you.

March, September or August resolutions!

Instead of starting New Years in January consider starting these in March or April,  do it at the same time as it feels natural to do spring cleaning. The Spring equinox this would be good time to take advantage of the new energy.

If you feel you can wait until autumn or  even better want to give your Spring Equinox resolutions a boost another good time to make ‘New year’s resolutions’ is actually the beginning of September. The association of the beginning of the new term for school or university means that this time brings a new energy years after we have left the classroom. For those in the US this maybe August instead as the beginning of the school term.

If you take only one thing from this remember to treat yourself in January to start the new year how you wish it go on.

Ruth Humphreys

Ruth Humphreys is a storyteller and inner child workshop leader.  For a slightly more official website please visit