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How to Not Hate January

Tips to embrace one of the least favorite months of the year.

Key points

  • Bring your own sunshine to the grayest, dreariest, least liked month of the year.
  • You can embrace January by accomplishing something very little. 
  • You can embrace January by being gentle with yourself. 
  • You can embrace January by making a fresh start on your terms. 

The holidays are over and the days are short and they might be cold, gray, damp, and dreary. The holiday brightness masked the dark solstice, so now that the lights are down it feels even darker. The media is hard-selling the need to renovate our bodies, homes, and careers, while we might be consumed in a cocktail of emotion mixed with relief, fear, excitement, mystery, and hope with possible shots of anger, guilt, regret, and sadness.

Joanne Broder
Source: Joanne Broder

Welcome to January! It is the saddest month of the year and Blue Monday is the third Monday in January. Resolutions might have been broken with leftover emotional residue lingering from the holidays. Life resumes with the daily grind and we are trying to adjust to our new normal with the pressure of #newyearnewyou. In addition, January seems to deliver surprise and random bouts of bad weather and awful news, since people tend to wait until after the holidays to make big announcements.

Is there anything to love about January?

January and February were the least favorite months, with May, October, June, and December as the favorites. I am sure we all get why the love is high for May's flowers, October’s colorful leaves, June's summer sun, and the holiday cheer of December. Until then, let us embrace and celebrate this messy and confusing month without getting sucked into the blahs.

You can embrace January by being true to yourself.

Why get sucked into the pressure? Is this a really good time for you to start a new goal or stop an old habit? If the answer is yes, check in with yourself to confirm whether or not the goal or new habit is really for you. The intention should always come from your heart.

You can embrace January by making a fresh start on your terms. January is simply the turning of the calendar; a grandiose symbol that marks the passage of time. Goals can start or behavior can be changed at any time; not just January when the time might not be right. You could wake up on a random Wednesday in the middle of in March and decide that it is finally the day to start or stop something.

You can embrace January by accomplishing something very little.

If you really must jump on the January bandwagon, at least start small. Pick the smallest and least expensive thing on your list, so it is likely that you will actually achieve it. Then, celebrate your victory and keep it up.

Joanne Broder
Source: Joanne Broder

You can embrace January by giving yourself something to look forward to.

Back to the real world, what is next? There might be amazing plans for the spring, summer, and fall, but what about now? Hold and cherish space for something that might be specific to January, whether it is football playoffs, a winter-only experience, a beach getaway, tickets to a show, or a new tradition; just because.

You can embrace January by taking advantage of the quiet.

Where is everybody? Rather than feeling that sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), cherish the quiet time. January is the calm after the December storm. New Year’s passes and daily life resumes. Aside from the normal ebbs and flows of life, we are hibernating, reflecting, and planning. Use this time to do you.

Joanne Broder
Source: Joanne Broder

You can embrace January by being extra nice to yourself.

It might be cold and gray outside, but you can always generate your own warm sunshine. Buy flowers, use those gift cards, take that extra-long bath, and just do whatever you have to do to make yourself smile. You deserve it.

You can embrace January by being gentle with yourself.

We are humans, not robots. We cannot press control, alt, etc. for a shortcut to a new program. On top of the heaviness of the month, there is a strong message that we must hit the ground running at the start of the new year. On top of recovering from December and the angst of January, life throws us curveballs such as illness, loss, bad weather, and other uncontrollable situations, which might throw us off our game. Practice self-forgiveness and non-judgment.

You can embrace January by being positive.

My dad always said, “the best years have the worst January's.” When January starts out with boomerangs and cadoozers, remember that the phase or situation is a temporary circumstance. This too shall pass and the situation will be resolved. Plus, the entire year will not be doomed.

Remember, you are the person who critically evaluates your success. Be proud when things move in the direction you want, even if it is a little bit. Trust your own process. How can you embrace January?

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