January is Not My New Year

After reading post after post, year after year, about goals and resolutions and starting fresh in the new year, I have had a much needed realization. January is a terrible time for me to start anything and I am doing myself a disservice by believing otherwise.
From now on, I’m not subscribing to the hype. January is not the beginning of my new year. January is the ending of my old year.
The holidays are always a blurred combination of rest and exhaustion for me. I don’t come down from the hype of fall, football, Thanksgiving, and Christmas gently. It’s more like a free fall that starts on December 26th. When I crash land onto January 1st the world is telling me to be rejuvenated, to start my life over with healthy, positive habits, and to be motivated to set and achieve new goals.
Are you kidding me?
I can barely convince myself to get out of bed in the morning. When January arrives I’m equally relieved and depressed that the holidays are over. I’m prepared for and blindsided by the fact that another year has come and gone. I don’t know what to make of life other than it feels much gloomier than it did a few days ago.
In January I’m not really interested in drinking lemon infused water, reading two books a week, balancing my checkbook, and going to the gym twice a day. I’m interested in staying in bed and waiting for the weekend. January is not the best time for me to start anything.
For me, January is about regrouping and recovering, resting and reflecting. It is not about being the best version of myself. It is about me accepting the version of myself that I am right now.
January is not a month of action. It is a time for me to think about what I want to keep, what I want to change, and what I want my life to look like this year. I can’t do that in November and December. There is too much going on to carve out time to intentionally reflect on any part of myself.
Every time I’ve tried to start January off with a goal or aspiration or resolution, or whatever you want to call it, I’ve failed. No, January is not my month to start over anew. January is a month to stop and restore myself to a level where I can fully operate again.
Yes, there are things about myself and my life I want to change. Sure, there are habits I need to break and other ones I need to build. But today, right now, this month, is not the right time and I’m okay with that.
I’m meeting myself where I am, I’m sitting down, and I’m staying put for awhile.
From now on, I’m starting my year when I’m ready. Not when the world tells me to. Sorry January, we were never meant to be. You’re just not my new year.


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Fresh Air and a Fresh Take – Courtney A. CastogkgirlKatrinaTheresaWren Recent comment authors
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September has always felt like the beginning of a new year for me. Unfortunately it has the same pitfalls as January: it starts with two weeks of absolute chaos at work, working through lunch breaks that should be used for talking walks, resorting to whatever is quick and convenient not nutritious and healthy for meals and zoning out on the couch at the end of the day.
But today, as I realized my favourite comfy pants were a little tight after sleeping through my workout alarm, it’s just as good as any day to start a new year.


This is so beautifully accurate! You’ve captured exactly how I feel about January… I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in feeling depressed about whenever the new year rolls around.


There is nothing wrong with that at all. You can start your year when it feels right to you. January is a tough month I think.


This is a great post. January always feels like such a crappy month for my mental health. For me, starting new and healthy habits always makes it just a little bit better.. But it’s so important to know when you need to just sit back and let yourself be! Kudos to you for not following the crowd.


Oh, oh oh THIS! I love this so much. And yes… I think whenever we are forced to do anything, it backfires splendidly. You do you, on your own timeclock. Or none at all. I stopped making resolutions for that reason–I just felt god awful year after year, because February came along and I hadn’t made as much progress as I wanted. So now I set tiny manageable goals. I share them, because it holds me accountable, but I don’t pressure myself to meet each one. And let’s face it. It’s cold AF out there, and really motivating to do… Read more »


January is a down month for me, too. I’ll start a new year in February 🙂


To be fair, the Steelers losing in the playoffs may have contributed to your crash landing (says a delighted Bengals fan)! Jesting aside, I think it’s great that you’re doing what works for you. You’re going to have a great year!


Thank you for writing this, Courtney. I am not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions and while I write a bit of a goal list every year, I am definitely not that person that has to change EVERYTHING come January, 1. In fact, I feel a lot like what you have described right after the holidays: I’m equally relieved and depressed that the holidays are over. I’m prepared for and blindsided by the fact that another year has come and gone. It’s definitely more of a month of reflection and planning than anything else… and you know what? That… Read more »


I love this! January is not always the best time to really make big changes or think about a new year, especially if you live somewhere with a lot of bad/cold weather.


AMEN girl. My thoughts EXACTLY. I always say that you cannot make change until you feel it in your bones – until you’re good and ready too. Not just when the calendar flips. Don’t feel pressured to do something just because everyone else is. That is when failure happens. Do it when you want to!


I totally agree! I take things month by month. My goals/needs/aspirations evolve all the time so setting up plans for an entire year just wouldn’t be realistic for me.


Hi Courtney! I want to reintroduce myself, because I think you found my blog at Warmly, Wren a while back and I have since decided to come back to WordPress. So, hi! Hello. And I love, love, love the aesthetic look of your blog. It’s beautiful and I aspire to it. 🙂 Now… I wanted to comment because what you’re writing about is something I’ve felt for years and years. I have NEVER felt fresh and new or like my year is even fresh and new during the month of January. My years always feel like they start over for… Read more »


I’m with you. The idea that at the start of the year we can all magically make a bunch of changes in our lives is a bit absurd. Go to the gym on January 2nd and you can barely find a free treadmill; go on February 2nd and the place is empty. The reality is that change is an ongoing process, one that doesn’t happen on a single day but instead over time — through a series of ups and downs and adjustments. It’s work not just one decision to change. If I make any sort of resolution, it’s something… Read more »


I totally agree. I do like that people reflect and want to make positive changes, however, Americans costantly want to produce. I’m exhausted. I need to recoup. Taking care of ourselves mentally and emotionally is often overlooked. Of course it did make me laugh when I realized I’ve exercised less. 🙂


Yes! I totally agree….that totally explains why/how i set myself up for such failure
year after year after ever-loving year!


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