You come back from a holiday spent stuffing yourself with cookies and wondering what day of the month it is, toasting to the new year with big plans: In 2024, you’ll start working out. You’ll attempt a social life. Never again will you eat so many rich foods or wear the same pair of stretchy pants for such an embarrassingly uninterrupted period of time.
Then, a few weeks into January, reality sets in: You wake up for a 5 a.m. jog and it’s pitch black outside, the sidewalk slicked in ice. The droopy, sad-looking supermarket produce spoils your plan to eat more salads. You invite your friends out for drinks and find that no one, including you, is all that interested in leaving the house.
Welcome to the challenge of trying to reinvent your life in the dead of winter. It can be difficult enough to launch ourselves toward new goals at work, in our personal lives or with our finances at any time of year — but few of us account for the additional challenge of doing so as temperatures plunge and sunlight is still scarce.
That can hurt your self-esteem and your wallet. Many of us shell out extra cash in pursuit of a new-and-improved version of ourselves: A 2018 survey from software maker Quicken found that more than half of resolution makers spend money to stay on track — sometimes hundreds of dollars.
But if you’ve already abandoned your own New Year’s resolutions, you might just be onto something: A growing chorus of influencers, authors and experts are calling for a reframing of the way we think about the cold season. Winter is anything but the time to try and become a new you, they say. Instead, it’s the best time of year to rest and take it easy, especially on yourself.
They suggest a different way of thinking about winter, one that better reflects the natural world. Instead of goal-setting and self-discipline, embrace rest and reflection. Skip the 5 a.m. workouts for more sleep and slower mornings. Go ahead and accept that you won’t be leaving the house as much, and stock up accordingly on books, candles and other cozy comforts.
“Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer,” author Katherine May writes in her best-selling 2020 book, “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times.” “They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through.”
“Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs,” she continues. “Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.”
‘Acting like it’s summer’
Avoiding the impulse to reinvent yourself could help make the winter months a lot less miserable, said Ally Mazerolle, a yoga and breath-work instructor.
Her video suggesting that people take it…