Every year in January we get the marketing blurb, TV advertising and social media frenzy about starting the year with a diet, do more exercise, give up alcohol, eat more vegetables, in fact become a new you! No-one can disagree we probably need to improve some elements of our lifestyle.
However, when working in the Beauty category a few years back, a lot of our attention in the golden quarter (3 months leading up to Christmas) was spent not looking after the customers in that moment but thinking about how to encourage trade in those months directly after the Christmas peak when the public were paying off credit card bills and generally keeping spending tight. The big industry dream was to make the “New Year, New Me” a thing! It was felt if you could get people focussed on fitness, health and diet, why not stretch it so they could try a new beauty regime or, better still, new products, dispensing with the products they had been gifted at Christmas etc.
In fact, a couple of the big brands always planned their biggest mascara launches for early January, throwing huge amounts of media spend on promoting a very visual new look that could be achieved at the same time as promoting the full make up cleansing product range to be in tune with people’s desire for being natural in the new year with incentives to sales staff to encourage customers to buy the full three products for best results.
Perhaps now you can see why I’m a tad sceptical of the whole “new year, new you” thing. To be honest, I’m not even convinced starting something new in the month of January in the U.K. is ever a good thing. For those from distant shores, it’s normally cold, damp and dark with short days, not the most motivational month to start anything that you want to sustain. Whilst I agree it’s the start of our calendar year, I’m not aware of any natural reason for January being the start of anything. Again, you have to wonder at the motivation of this whole New Year, New Me thing. You have to hand it to the marketeer who came up with the concept, in our time more and more of us launch the year with the latest new fad etc.
So, having said all the above, what’s the alternative?
Perhaps its about concentrating on choosing to be our best self more often, taking time to be our bes, realising sometimes we will let ourselves down and that’s ok we are only human. The important thing is to be self aware enough to be able to own the problem, If we are eating too much, eat less, if not taking enough exercise, get out and walk some more etc. The date you start improving is not the key to success. 1st January or 17th October will make no difference to any outcome. It’s more important to have the awareness and understanding of when you are struggling so that you can refocus your energy and efforts on getting back on track to improvement and make the changes to your routine that will embed the change of habit that’s required.
So, what does it mean? I’m not going to try and be someone else, I’m going to work hard at being a better version of myself. I want to be comfortable with the person I see in the mirror. It’s not about perfection, especially in my case, but I know I can be better and it will be good to be a bit healthier.
I find regular measurement and recording data helpful to my own motivation. Weighing myself regularly, recording what I eat and drink and how much exercise I have taken helps to keep the focus on doing a little better each day (Im not saying its perfect i failed to lose the weight I had hoped in December). Another tip that has helped me over the years has been to look at improving lots of things slightly rather than trying to crack one thing 100%. I believe it was the head of the UK cycling team who said its better to get the team focused on improving 100 things by 1% than improving 1 thing 100% (Again not fool proof, I find its easier to concentrate on less elements of improvement, however when I succeed its normally because of hard work and discipline).
I would like to remind all readers I have never professed to be an expert on anything, my rumblings are just my own thoughts/personal experienced shared, If you have enjoyed the read please let me know.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year. By the way the photo is of the Lane out of our village on New Year’s Day at the start of our walk.