You could be forgiven for thinking that January is a bit of a tosser. A moody, self righteous bugger if you like, responsible for fear, loathing and a plague of 'inspirational' Instagram quotes. But to feel this about January is to get January all wrong.
We need to stop think January is Thursday, when it is in fact Monday. Yep January is the Monday of the year – less sparkling skin, new promotion and punching the air, more slowing peeling back the duvet, pressing snooze and quietly collecting faculties.
To expect anything more is to do yourself a disservice. With 33 Januaries under my elasticated waistband, I have concluded, (after many years of chastising myself for not giving up sugar / changing my career / fixing that wonky friendship by the time Jan is out), that it would take nothing short of Herculean strides to catapult into January singing, dancing and immediately winning at All The Stuff. Even the most Polly Anna-ish person entertains a period of dusting down / shaking pockets free from Quality street / meandering their office to reclaim lost chairs.
UK Januaries are undeniably grey, chilly and long. BUT, the reality is, our foremost month is only the beginning, the start, nothing more than a cold, damp runway into the year.
Once we embrace that, we save ourselves a world of stress. I mean, think about it, unless your main goal for the year is to edit the crockery cupboard (and honestly, that would be a worthy goal), then it would be a bit weird if you found yourself immediately Achieving All The Shit by January 31st. The rest of us are huffing and puffing, staring down the runway, checking the weather and killing time doing any number of pre-flight checks. Save yourself the (cabin) pressure, don't try and take off yet, just taxi up, check the fuel levels and admire the view.
In short. No one expects too much in January, the stakes are low. All that's required is a modicum of focus, a sniffle of optimism and the belief that this year you'll attempt not to stall at the things you stalled at last year. And why not start small – start researching an autumn adventure. Set up an ISA. Take some clothes to the charity shop. Ticking anything off your 'to do list' in January is going to spike the optimism levels.
After a hectic Christmas plagued by illness, too much driving and an infinite supply of Chocolate orange, I feel like I've dragged myself into January. I'm currently in the lurching phase – wrestling off tracksuit bottoms, scrubbing away baby sick and rinsing myself clean of any festering Christmas cocktail breath. Inside I'm plotting, planning and letting my mind do an excessive amount of pottering – potholing through ideas and packing up the finest to carry through to Feb – cynics might see this as the mental equivalent of lying around flailing slightly, wondering how on earth I'm going to get off the ground. But that's fine, because as we've just discussed, this is what January is for and I'll be proving them wrong come July.
The days are getting longer, the crocuses are stirring, pack your proverbial pencil case and get yourself ready for action.
2017, this isn't so much a hello, but a – I'll be with you shortly – I'm just firing those starter engines and limbering up.