Emerging new research suggests that “If we want our resolutions to last longer, we should start them during Spring instead” when our brains are pre-programmed to thrive when nature around us is thriving.
I start my New Year on a slow mode. Having come out of the previous year overstuffed with minced pies and eggnogs, over-stimulated with newsletter subscriptions, and over-consumed with news, habits and routines, in January I stay still!!
I stay calm and quiet. Tucked under a blanket (metaphorical but at times down feather) I explore the new surroundings, sensing the new rhythm, noticing the new beats, the new vibrations, the new energy, trying to find my place and pace in this new space. Taking a moment or two, to untangle the lessons learned and the growth attained in the previous year; I let go of the old, the broken and what is no longer needed and necessary. And I do this in silence, in isolation, and in complete stillness.
This year unlike any other year, I have noticed that many my community were doing the same. Pausing. Staying still and quiet and immersing themselves in the moment, in their private spaces, and under their blankets. (A true indication that I have finally found my tribe. The right one that is aligned with my values).
Yesterday and after a conversation I had with Lorraine Taylor on this subject, a light bulb suddenly went off in my head:
“Wasn’t there a time when The New Year started in March?
Could it be that our body is programmed to rest in January?
Doesn’t it sound counterintuitive to kick off a New Year in the middle of winter?” (or in the middle of a hot summer in the southern hemisphere).
In nature life stops in January. Days become shorter and colder. Water freezes, food becomes scarce, and animals retrieve and hibernate. Nature still runs and thrives on theses seasonal cycles of cold and hot, fast, and slow, snoozing, and blooming. Life outside the concrete jungle continues to beat in cohesive cyclical rhythms, thriving on instincts. So why not humans? Why and when did we skip a beat, and broke the rhythm?
Records indicate that the start of New Year was indeed in March with the new moon after the spring equinox, when the days become longer and brighter. When nature starts to bloom, and buzz with bright colors. When sunshine fills our heart with warmth, energy, and a new hope to find love, to stretch our grounds and explore what lies beyond.
For many reasons the start of New Year was moved from March 1 to January 1, but somehow our brains didn’t get that memo, and so our brains continued to function on primal instincts, and our “survival-oriented” brain continued to correlate our survival with the conformity and harmony of our environment and surrounding.
There is no doubt that our body and behaviors run on seasonal cycles.
And just like nature can’t possibly survive and thrive in a constant state of winter or summer, or in a constant state of hunting or harvesting, we can’t either. Our life is seasonal, and it needs to happen in cycles, and in each cycle our behaviors, our attitude and drive will change. Do you notice your mood, your energy levels and motivation when the seasons change? How do you feel waking up when it's dark and gloomy outside? How do you feel when the day greets you with a bright sun and a blue sky? During which months are you driven the most to jump over hurdles and to keep on going?
Personally, I don’t think of January as the start of the New Year. In fact, I don’t think of January as the start of anything. January is the “bonus” month I am awarded at the end of an 11-month exploration of new lands, new connections, and new knowledge. It’s the month, where I allow myself to retrieve, disconnect, and disengage from the limitations of the 365 lunar calendar days, to readjust my compass, to re-arrange my gears, to remain on course with my purpose.
I wasn’t always this kind to myself in January. I wasn’t in tune with the seasonal cycles but as the years passed by, and I got older and “wiser” I stopped judging myself for this withdrawal. I stopped judging myself for “lagging behind” for “missing out” on a few days or even on a whole month. I stopped chasing the ticking clock, the flickering of the calendar pages, and instead I started embracing the process, and choosing to stay here – under my blanket- for as long as I need to recharge, reenergize, and to get clarity on what I want my New Year to be about.
What about you? Do you feel the effect of the changing season? Do you agree that January perhaps is not the right time to GO GO GO?