What we’re about tell you might be a little controversial, but we’re willing to risk it. Ready?
It is, in fact, possible to set resolutions for yourself after January.
We know it sounds crazy, but there’s more to resolution-setting than making up your mind in December about something you’d like to achieve in the new year and starting work on that goal on January 1. And while we’re happy to see increased attention given to New Year’s resolution alternatives — like New Moon manifestations or intention lists — the fact is that January still seems to have some magical hold on us. Release us, January!
The first month of the year might actually not be the best time to start working toward your big goals, especially if you didn’t take enough time at the end of the year to really think through what you want to achieve. “My recommendation is that January is used as a time of reflection, where we can focus on ourselves and our goals for the new year, as opposed to moving immediately into implementation on a day designated an international holiday — Jan. 1,” says NYC-based therapist Julia Colangelo.
If you’re liking the sound of delayed resolutions, you might even want to consider setting a birthday resolution instead. Psychologist Nancy Mramor says that “follow-through is more likely with a non-arbitrary date and, instead, a meaningful one.” What’s more meaningful than the day you graced the world with your presence?
You should also know about a few specific resolutions that are especially well-suited for February 1 or later (or your birthday!). Check out all the details below.
1. Switching to a Plant-Based Diet: Boss Babe CEO Natalie Ellis says that “introducing this in January would have limited [her] ability to succeed.” Ellis’ refrigerator is still packed full of festive treats for the foreseeable future, and with lots of plans to spend QT with friends and family in the month of January, she’s opted to wait to go vegan until February. A lifestyle change like this is huge, so if you thought you were going to make it happen in January and didn’t, you might find that you have more success in the months to come.
2. Going to the Gym More Often: The massive crowds of people suddenly infiltrating your fitness studio starting on Jan. 1 are more than just annoying — they might actually pose a challenge for your fitness-related resolutions! “You’re likely going to have to deal with a crowded locker room, a wait for your favorite cardio machine, or never being able to find the dumbbell weight that’s right for you because someone else is always using it,” says licensed physician Dr. Venus Ramos. “That can be quite frustrating, and can even be demotivating when it comes to sticking to your plan to get to the gym as scheduled.” Save yourself some headache by waiting until February to hit it hard at the gym. In the meantime, you can do your workouts at home.
3. Getting Organized at Home: If your home needs some serious organizational attention in the new year, use January to create a plan of attack that will make it easier for you to pare back the chaos. Choose one room or area to tackle each month, starting in February. Dawn Falcone — better known as “The Chaos Liberator” — recommends starting in the kitchen, especially if you’re focusing on healthy eating habits in the new year. By springtime (which is basically prime organizing season), you’ll be ready to move on to your bedroom and closets.
4. Losing Weight: Numbers don’t lie, and according to a recent survey from Blink Fitness and Harris Poll, 97 percent of Americans have made a New Year’s resolution that focuses on “improving their physical appearance” (i.e., weight loss)… and 44 percent of Americans have admitted to feeling like a failure when those resolutions don’t pan out. Who needs that kind of pressure? If losing weight is a priority for you in the new year, Blink’s director of personal training Peter Jenkins suggests a different approach. Instead of a single, year-long weight loss resolution, set smaller, motivating goals that you can track throughout the entire year. “Eventually, you will start to feel better and stronger and begin to see those physical results,” he says. “Trainers have been using this… approach to programming for years, and it works! Focus on the quality and consistency of the journey and you’ll arrive at the destination in no time.”
5. Achieving Big Goals or Making Big Changes at Work: Even though the rush of the “official” holiday season is over, January is still kind of a weird time at the office. Many of your colleagues are still probably off their normal schedule, and, quite frankly, you just might need a few weeks to fully readjust to how your days feel without the promise of a company party or weeklong vacation ahead. Consider tabling your big-picture professional goals until February and beyond. Even Rebecca Minkoff tells us it’s okay to delay these kinds of resolutions, and to continue to revisit them on a regular basis. “Take some time every three months or so to reflect on all the work you’ve done, how you’ve grown, what you can improve upon, and where you are in relation to your goals,” she says. “Make sure your vision is always clear and check in on yourself. Ask for feedback and don’t be afraid of change!” (Photo via Rebecca Minkoff)
6. Starting a Savings Plan: While it’s tempting to immediately jump into budgeting mode with the start of a new year, you might actually be more likely to hit your financial goals if you wait until February to implement fresh saving behaviors. Val Hamm Carlson, VP of Brand at banking app Simple, suggests that you spend the month of January evaluating the 12 months of personal financial data you now have from last year. “January is the best time to self-reflect, making room for February to put those insights into action!” she says. Once you’ve taken a closer look at your spending habits, you can set some specific monthly savings goals and hit the ground running with them in February.
7. Spending More Time With Loved Ones: “With the holidays over and everyone getting back into the swing of things with work and other responsibilities, January isn’t an ideal time to make more time for family and friends,” says certified counselor and life coach Jonathan Bennett. Don’t get discouraged if your grand plans to prioritize loved ones seem to be failing in January. You’ll have a better shot at it in the months ahead!
8. Detoxing: Pretty much any kind of detox program you take on is going to be hard on your body, even under the best of circumstances. Per registered nutritional therapist Melissa Pierson, January isn’t the time to subject yourself to this. Your body is already on overload from the holiday season. “January should be about preparing the body for detox and getting back to a normal routine, as opposed to a shock therapy hardcore detox,” Pierson says. Come February, you can ease yourself into a nutritional detox without adding too much additional stress (because, let’s face it, detoxing is stressful enough!).
Do you have any post-January New Year’s resolutions? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Getty)