January 1st is exactly 90 days away.
I know for me, along with the majority of the world, this year has been the weirdest and most unpredictable one to date. Even so, I don’t quite know how to feel about 2021 being just around the corner.
If this year has taught me anything, it’s that time is far more relative than I initially believed. If you, like me, spent most of your summer months inside the house, limiting your contact with the outside world, then you can attest to the fact that time seemed to go reeeeeeeeeaalllyyy slowwwwwly in some moments, only to have seemingly fast-forwarded us through the months of March to September in the blink of an eye.
And let’s face it, time is precious. It’s the one thing we humans really have no control over, despite its impact being evident in every small corner of our lives. The time we have is the life we have, and I mean that both as simply and as profoundly as it sounds.
January 1st is 90 days away, and it would be my guess that around about the 85 days mark, future you would begin to consider and compile a list of goals that you hope to achieve in the new year — your New Year’s Resolution, as it were.
This is my argument for why you shouldn’t wait until the New Year.
You’re either making a habit or you’re breaking it
There are 90 days in between today, and the day that most people choose to both quit their bad habits (smoking, drinking, spending too much money, etc) and start making good habits (going to the gym, eating more greens, getting enough sleep, etc).
Because of the way our minds are wired to work, every day we continue to engage in a bad habit — or to not engage in a good one — we are sending reinforcement signals to the reward centers of our brain that, in turn, strengthen our tendency to repeat this action.
In other words, choosing to swap soda for sparking water will only get increasingly difficult with each day that passes where you continue to drink soda. By waiting 90 days (or any amount of time for that matter) to try and ditch old habits or form new ones, you’re giving your present self slack that will need to be picked up by your future self down the road.
Accountability shouldn’t mean comparison or competition
New Year, new me! Out with the old, in with the new! I mean, we get it — there’s something incredibly sentimental about closing a whole 365 day chapter, and beginning a new one on a positive foot — there’s never anything wrong with celebrating motivation and optimism.
However, making a New Year’s Resolution has largely devolved into something trendy to do, without conscious and intentional thought being paid to the mindset we approach our goal-setting with. Far too often we have the tendency to compare ourselves and our progress to others, or to see the first month of the year as a competition to achieve the most in the shortest amount of time.
These are not necessarily healthy approaches to include in our efforts to improve ourselves. Although having other people around who are on the same page as you may help to establish accountability, by starting a resolution today, instead of on the New Year, you avoid making the mistake of comparing your accomplishments to those around you. Often, it’s the people who are quietly successful that are the most impressive anyway.
Time is going to pass regardless of what you do with it
90 days is going to come and go quicker than you think. Ultimately, I don’t mind if you start now or tomorrow or even two months from now, I just want this post to serve as a reminder that the only thing needed to kickstart the positive change in your life, is your own desire to do so.
The time is going to pass regardless of what you do with it, and all you have to decide is whether or not you want to be in a better place by then, then you are now. Regret is one of the most painful afflictions to live with, and when January 1st arrives, bringing alongside it the pressure to start living better, healthier, kinder, smarter, you don’t want to be left with the thought of what you could have achieved already, had you started when you first had the thought to.
Set a goal for this week, this month, or for the 90 days between now and 2021. Choose realistic goals that help guide you from the lifestyle you currently have, to the lifestyle you want, and find joy in knowing that you have chosen to harness this time because you want to, not because it’s the thing to do.
And to really put my money where my mouth is, here are the changes I’m implementing this month, and potentially indefinitely, moving forward:
- going sober for october
- giving up caffeine
- stretching/exercising daily
- limiting processed foods
- drinking at least two litres of water per day
Some are more black and white than others, and maybe that works for you, or maybe it doesn't! Either way, create your own list and join me in making a Today’s Resolution.
Alexandra Walker-Jones — October 2020