5 Things to Do in January Instead of Making New Year’s Resolutions

So, it’s January, and the one question on everybody’s lips is “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” In the past, I’ve always had big plans for January. This would for sure be the year I joined a gym, started juicing and nabbed that promotion. With all the expectations I set upon my shoulders, it’s hardly a surprise that I’d conclude the month feeling hopelessly inadequate. January represents a fresh start, but it’s also a time when I’ve been pulled out of cozy Christmas hibernation and barely have my wits together enough to get on with my day job, never mind contemplate anything new.

What if, instead of starting the year punishing ourselves, we gave our minds and bodies what they really needed to rejuvenate? By doing these five things in January, you’ll be able to fight the back-to-work blues and feel refreshed and ready to tackle the new year, gym and all.

1. Send thank you cards

When I was a kid, I remember my mom dragging me forcibly from the TV, placing a pen and paper in front of me and refusing to hand back the remote until I’d written my thank you notes. I used to find it such a chore, but now I can’t imagine missing out on this January ritual. Taking the time to express gratitude for the gifts or hospitality you received over Christmas isn’t just polite, it reminds us how much we already have to be grateful for as we look ahead to new opportunities. I treat myself to a new set of notecards to make the process feel extra special.

2. Declutter

With all the presents and the January sales, the new year is a great time to have a pre-spring clean and decide what really deserves a place in your home. Think about the gifts you’ve received — if you know you’ll never look at them again, could you donate them to charity or re-gift them to someone who’d love them? If you’ve received some great new clothes or accessories, could you make space for them by donating something old? A decluttered space is one surefire way to start the year in the right frame of mind.

3. Take time off

No matter how much I love Christmas (and believe me, I love Christmas), it’s not a holiday that I come away from feeling refreshed. Spending time with loved ones, eating my bodyweight in holiday food, and staying up later than I should are all emotionally and physically draining. Often I come back to work feeling more sluggish than revived. I like to book a few days off towards the end of January to give myself a second chance to replenish my energy. If taking time off isn’t an option, schedule a commitment-free weekend to recharge.

4. Get outside

The weather outside may still be frightful, but a brisk, wintry walk is just the thing to blow away the holiday cobwebs. Whether it’s a long Sunday morning hike or a quick stroll round the block on your lunch break, getting outside in the fresh air will re-energize you and give you a boost for those long evenings.

5. Book in your next treat

Nothing is ever going to live up to endless lazy days and Christmas parties that come with the festive season, so it can be hard to self-motivate when you’re back from the holidays. I like to book a treat to look forward to in January to help me get through the first few days at work back from break. This year, I’m planning a spa day with my closest friends, so when the January blues threaten to kick in, I’ll have something to look forward to.

Originally published January 2, 2019.

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