Resolution Season? Nope, Not Yet.
It’s the New Year! You sit down at your table and begin to write the goals you have for the year because well, that’s what you always do. But you could be making a costly mistake, according to Tim Bono, lecturer in psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. The new year is not the ideal time to create your resolutions: It’s springtime, says Bono.
Why Not January?
According to Bono, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, there are several factors that might work against you progress toward your goals, including harsh weather, fatigue, lack of sunlight, colds/flu and—perhaps the most challenging obstacle—the shortened days of winter. Studies have reviewed the impact that weather and sunlight can have on a person’s mood and emotions. When you leave for work in the morning, is it dark outside? When you arrive home at the end of your workday, is it dark? Could the limiting exposure to sunlight be affecting your wellbeing and energy levels? According to Bono, it very well could be, and this could impact your ability to make changes and follow through with your new goals.
The springtime can be the better goal making season. It represents a time of new beginnings and can positively affect your motivation. “It’s the same reason why you don’t plant new seeds in January,” Bono says. “It’s all about aligning the behavior to the environment most likely to promote those behaviors and be fertile for them to grow and develop.” Bono also encourages each person to do what is best for them but to not stray from the possibility of shifting to spring.
Do you encourage your clients to develop their goals during the New Year? See if following the seasons could work better for clients who struggle to follow through with the goals they set on January 1. Figure out what works best for your clients individually and develop a personal plan for yourself, as well. “There’s nothing wrong with postponing a few months and trying again when the environmental circumstances will be a bit more conducive to working toward your goals.”
Well, Happy New Year! Take a breather, grab your coffee mug and relax while you await your spring renewal.