I’ve never understood the concept, and certainly not the timing of dry January! And why not February, when there are less days? It’s an act of self hate, deprivation and flagellation!
This idea that last year, I deserved all the challenge and bad luck that came my way and that somehow, if I deprive myself of the things I love, for a whole month, I’ll become healthy and thin and detoxed and deserving of a brighter day, is cruel at best and insanely masochistic at worst. It smacks of the same mindset as, ‘I’ll be happy when I have that new ***** (insert whatever is your heart’s desire – car…house by the sea…holiday in Cuba).
Either of these ideas won’t help in the search for elusive happiness. In either scenario, I’m either too much or not enough and it’s only when I accept myself and love myself exactly as I am that I can be truly happy.
I know from my recent house pack up that I am excellent at gathering stuff I don’t really need and pretty good at shopping. And then I’m pretty good at putting whatever I’ve bought at the back of a cupboard and saying I’ll use it on a special occasion. I must have packed ten luxury scented indulgent candles that I’ve never lit! But in the past I’m also aware how, when I’ve shopped, I’ve looked for whatever it is to plug a gap for something missing in my life. “I could become enough…if I have the car, the house by the sea or the Cuban holiday.” But then something happens between the card payment and the car, my house – which is incidentally, only fifteen minutes from the sea, or the airport and I don’t quite get the high from it I have anticipated!
These decisions to have something in abundance or to force myself into appreciating its scarcity are not healthy! They are all promises of “someday when”. If I think to myself, “I’ll wear it when …” or “I’ll use it when …” or “I’ll be beautiful when…” and “I’ll be healthy when…” I am subconsciously saying I can only possibly be content when all criteria of my chocolate box life is met!
But I promise you that, with such a mindset, “someday when” isn’t coming! Ever! And I can be happy with or without these items on my bucket list!
Of course, when I’m trying to pursue a life goal such as developing my Celebrancy business or preparing to run a ten k, I can take advantage of a fresh new start. And January can certainly be that. Psychologists state that we can be more driven to tackle new goals at shared temporal breaks than at random times of the year; fresh start moments give us a boost of motivation by focusing our attention on what we want to achieve.
But I know that if my attention is focused on how bad my past behaviours have been, how my life choices made 2020 all the more difficult to manage, then the only way I can make the horrors of 2020 disappear is with more serious tough love and that’s dangerous – right now and in the future. I’ve been way too good at allowing my inner boot camp voice to shame me into doing things to myself that are abusive and unkind.
Shaming and punishing myself is not the way to successfully motivate positive changes. And so, I have assured myself that tonight I will pour myself that glass of Chateau-neuf, I will light the luxury candle, settle into a luxury bath and then have an earlyish night to get myself mentally ready to take the first step on my couch to ten k run…tomorrow!