In addition being Martin Luther King Day Monday, January 19th, is “Blue Monday”. Blue Monday is what experts claim is the unhappiest day of the year. This is due to a combination of factors, including being in the midst of a dearth of holidays, the gloominess of the winter season, failed resolutions and financial and weight struggles.
The concept of Blue Monday is interesting because that means people only gave themselves 17 days to make significant changes in their lives. You may say they gave themselves 19 days, but who starts a diet, exercise program or budget on New Year’s Day? Not us!
Experts also say that it takes repeating something 21 times for it to become a habit. If the person who started a new exercise program on January 2nd was disappointed with their progress by Blue Monday, January 18th, they only gave themselves 16 days to hit the gym. It’s not wise to hit the gym 16 days in a row. Everyone, even elite athletes, need time for recovery. So, this once-excited gym goer likely only went to the gym a handful of times.
This got us to thinking about realistic and unrealistic goals. We humans seem to have a disconnect between who we are and who we want to be. How often have you said to yourself and others, “Starting Monday, I’m losing this weight”, “I’m not drinking again after tomorrow” or “When we get our next paycheck, we’re sticking to this budget come hell or high water”?
These or similar are all common phrases we love to share and make ourselves believe. How realistic are they, though? What are the chances that we’ll make a 180 degree turn when it comes to our health or finances? Unrealistic goals only set us up for failure. To expect that we’ll change from Warren Bankrupt to Warren Buffet overnight is not realistic. To expect that we’ll go from spending most of our free time on the couch to spending it on the treadmill because earth turned a year older is a bit odd.
Overcoming Blue Monday
There are two important factors to succeeding with goals. The first is to set realistic goals. The second is to set realistic time frames for achieving those goals. If by January 19th you realized there was room for improvement with your plan to achieve your resolutions, then it was a good time to reset. If you realize this today, now is a good time to reset.
Every moment is an opportunity to improve yourself. If you made a mistake or weren’t as good as you could’ve been, now is a great time to change that. You don’t need to wait until another year passes. You don’t have to wait until Monday or next month. You don’t have to postpone your self improvement until some artificial milestone or hurdle.
Now, even Blue Monday, is the perfect time to improve yourself. The first step in any journey is the furthest. Every step towards personal improvement is another step towards personal improvement. Even if you’re only taking minor steps, you’re still taking steps. As we say, it’s a marathon, not a race. Namaste.