I’m not one for setting resolutions at the start of a new year. This is partly because I’m a stubborn so-and-so who enjoys being contrary – why deny what’s true? – but also because it’s an arbitrary line in the sand. I could easily choose the start of the Chinese new year in February if I wanted, or say that I’m working on the old Julian calendar, which was adrift by ten days from today’s Gregorian calendar.
I could say any of those things, but I’m not going to; I just don’t like waiting for the start of a new year before taking on a new challenge. It feels too abitrary, and if you’re ready to try something new, then why not do it?
A few years ago, I lost a lot of weight on the Weight Watchers diet, which helped me to change my relationship with food. I was inspired to start when a good friend of mine – the infamous Diana – decided to join a WW club to lose half a stone or so. She spoke very eloquently about it, and I was intrigued to know what it was all about; I knew I was overweight by quite a margin, but hadn’t ever found the motivation within myself to do anything about it. When I decided to go along to the group with Di, purely out of curiosity, I didn’t know the journey it would set me on. I was impressed by the leader, Cilla, who was engaging and non-judgemental, and was confident in their techniques. By the time I left that session, I found myself a paid-up member and carrying away a guidance book as well as instructions on how to control my portions.
The reason I mention that here is because I started in – I think – October. I hadn’t waited for an auspicious date to begin; I just went along one Thursday night and saw for myself what could be done. Inspiration struck, and the weight began to go. I’m glad I didn’t wait for Monday, or for the start of the next month, or for the start of the new year; what would that have said about my commitment to my own health?
The same could be said about anything, of course. How important is my health / family / friendship group / career? All of those areas are important to me, so if I need to change something, then I’ll want to do it now because I like to do things that keep those areas of my life fresh and engaging.
Becoming a father is another example. When I realised that I wanted to be a dad, what did I need to do for that to happen? A female partner would help if I wanted to consider the “natural” path, or a partner of either gender would certainly help in terms of shared responsibility. But I was single, and how long was I willing to wait? What if I remained single for the next ten years, say? I was already in my mid-thirties at that point; if I felt a partner was important to child-rearing, then whilst mid-to-late forties isn’t an impossible age to become a dad, it does add a different element to family dynamics.
But I didn’t feel it essential that I have a partner before having a chid; so what was I then waiting for? The start of a brand new year – an arbitrary line in the sand that moves one digit up in the calender for a group of countries in the western western hemisphere? That seemed daft to me. There were certain things I needed to do before starting the process; talking to family and friends, certainly, and making sure I was emotionally ready. Then, when all that was done, I knew it was time, and the turning of a page in the diary was irrelevant.
So all in all, timing is far less important than desire, ability, and drive. How much do you want something? Are you able to do it right now? If not, when can you do it? Are you driven enough to pursue it, despite whatever setbacks get in your way? If the answer to those questions are positive, then just bloody do it!