Posted on Tuesday 20th of March 2018 at 03:49 PM
Why starting your New Years Resolutions in April may be a good idea
By Tim Donnelly
I am, to be clear, a believer in the power of putting arbitrary constraints on yourself in order to achieve something. It’s why I make to-do lists (and write “make to-do list” at the top of the list, for an immediate hit of accomplishment), why I demand deadline even when writing an evergreen story and why I agree self-improvement doesn’t just manifest itself out of thin air without a little bit of nudge from an app or a calendar or some sort of Black Mirror drone with axes for fingers that literally chases you out of bed to start your morning run.
I am also, however, a complete skeptic of schemes that are doomed to fail: the friend who keeps getting back with that boyfriend they’ve already broken up with six times before, gimmick diets that don’t involve eating vegetables, seeing any more of the Alien sequels.
I am an avowed hater of New Year’s resolutions for that reason: they are all doomed to fail and everyone knows it. This is in part because many of them are trendy, faux-wellness commitments people jump on board with because everyone is already doing it, and then give up on two weeks later when everyone else is giving up as well. But my anti-resolution stance also has to do with the timing. January is nature’s perfect resolution-killing machine.
Last week, for instance, the bomb cyclone (or whatever hot #rebrand for the concept of “winter storm” you prefer), dumped a huge ol’ mess of snow and brought whipping winds to a lot of the East Coast, from Boston to Savannah. Let’s say you had resolved just four days earlier to go to the gym more, eat better and quit drinking for a month (the trend whose name is too monstrous of a portmanteau for me to even acknowledge here). Cyclone-snowbound, you would have found yourself with a big bag of fuck-all to do that day, and mounting guilt for not overpowering nature itself in order to forge ahead with your resolutions.
So consider this: if you still prefer the resolution model of self-improvement, in which you adhere to specific challenges that begin on a specific date, don’t start those resolutions in January. Start them on April 1st instead.
Winter is the time your body craves sloth. You are evolutionarily predisposed to put on weight and store calories to avoid risk of starvation during the cold, fallow months. The outside is a slushy, gray, increasingly bleak landscape of growing garbage-bag snow mountains, as uninviting to human presence as a Kevin Spacey movie. Over the past two winters, America became obsessed with the Danish concept of Hygge, essentially extreme coziness. This is because winter is hell, and the only thing that makes it tolerable is leaning into the coziness it allows. Pour yourself a cup of mulled wine and invite your friends over to play Rocket League for hours at a time and watch all of Riverdale (I hear it’s weird!). Self-motivation will come soon, a few months down the road.
Think about it like eating seasonally (something you should be doing anyway for the good of the environment). The earth gives you things you need according to the season: in the summer, we get juicy berries, watermelon, cucumbers and so forth to keep us cool and hydrated. The winter gives us hearty squashes, potatoes and beets to help store calories, and the spring brings leafy greens to help you detox after the hibernation months.
January is the squash of months. You can fight the natural order of things, and ship in berries (a.k.a. “resolutions”) from far away, but they won’t taste right, and you’re fighting against biology and the earth itself. Develop your taste for berries when they are in season, however, and you’ll easily be hooked.
The point is, treat your body seasonally, too. If you must make a resolution, don’t waste it on January, when you almost certainly won’t succeed, and—since you have subscribed to the concept of an annual resolution—your whole year will then be considered a wash. Make your resolutions on April 1st, when you have a fighting chance of achieving them.
Why April specifically? March drops a teaser trailer for spring ahead but it’s also a torrent of a month, full of late-season blizzards and brutal cold snaps. But April, friends, April is when the world turns around and the cobwebs clear. It’s time to shape up and shake off the winter doldrums. Nature comes back to life and so do you. April 1st is the perfect day to squeeze into some running tights (yes it will still be slightly chilly—you’re getting a jump on the spring, you go-getter!), dust off your bike and get moving again. The days are longer so your solar batteries get a natural boost (sunset Jan. 1: 4:39 p.m.; Sunset April 1: 7:21 p.m.!). And in the unlikely event that the gym is still full of January’s resolution-havers, too, you can also go running outdoors again.
And if you wish to quit drinking for a month or quit smoking forever, April is the time to do it because there is simply much more to do once the world comes back to life. Instead of drinking, perhaps you join a kickball league like Brooklyn hipsters of yore, or become one of those people obsessed with photographing the cherry blossoms at your local botanic garden, or just go for long walks and take that kind of deep inhale to let that still-warming spring air fill your lungs as you recall the winter misery behind you and think: “This, this is the spring I turn myself around.”
Relax this winter and wrap yourself in Hygge or whatever comforts you can find to get you through this most miserable month in one of the most miserable times in history. In April, let’s get to work.
This acticle first appeared on Life Hacker Click here to read the original article.