Well, 2022 was a bit of a shitshow in the UK wasn’t it? Too many prime ministers spoiling the broth and wiping billions off the economy, fuel and food costs going through the roof, wages not remotely keeping up with the cost of living, the mythical ‘£350 million per week’ not being used to ‘fund the NHS instead’ (surprise!), and much more besides.
In spite of all this I still managed to get a bad case of what I call Twixtmas Fever towards the end of December. I was feeling strangely optimistic, thinking about a few things I wanted to try in the coming months, and generally having ideas about ways to make 2023 better. Now I know most people spend this time period wondering what day it is and sitting around eating all the cheese, but for some reason my brain likes to get all overheated and come up with a stack of go-get-’em schemes and plans instead.
After some consideration it’s full steam ahead into January, dear readers. The only way out is through.
January can be great, honest…
One of the best things about January is that it’s practically giving you permission to hibernate if you want to, apart from the post-festive back to work thing. Think about it: other people are staying home because they’re following strict diets or sticking to Veganuary, avoiding the pub to help with giving up smoking or doing Dry January, or just because they’re simply very very skint and can’t afford to go out. The pressure is mostly off.
The weather might be horrible, but it’s the perfect excuse to wear your cosiest jumpers, stretch out and relax (yes, even if you’re trying to get fit – rest is an important part of any fitness regime y’know), go to bed early, listen to podcasts or music, or read a library or second hand book. The TV & film schedules are fantastic at this time of year too. If you need a little inspiration for anything recent then all you have to do is look up a few of the various ‘best of 2022’ lists for cinema, music, streaming services, books, podcasts and more.
This month is traditionally all about ‘out with the old, and in with the new’ but you don’t necessarily have to rush in and do too many things at once, and besides, simple ideas and plans tend to be easier to stick to. I like to take advantage of the relatively slow pace for doing some proper planning and research, and we can all use the opportunity to cast our nets wide and be creative in the next few days and weeks.
The relative downtime of January also lends itself very well to decluttering and organising. I’m already feeling the itch to spring clean, and sensibly taking the precaution of lying down whenever this happens and waiting until the feeling passes. Okay, I did take a couple of bags to the charity shop this week but that’s about it so far. The trick is to keep it manageable and work in small chunks that you know you can achieve in a set time frame.
January is also the perfect time for comfort food. You can make it cheap and cheerful with the latest seasonal ingredients, and make it healthy if you like too; this month was truly made for soups, stews, curries, casseroles, crumbles and pies. Oh, and mash with everything, don’t forget. There are plenty of fast and slow recipes, and you can batch cook too if you fancy it.
My January ‘mini resolutions’
For some reason 12-month New Year resolutions have never worked for me, but I’m great at sticking to a monthly plan as long as I keep it nicely specific and very streamlined and simple. It also has to leave room for quality of life, without creating a feeling of constant grind or joyless achievement at all costs, so I try to choose activities that feel positive or at least kinda constructive.
With that in mind, I picked the following four:
- Eat breakfast earlier and do writing exercises before work (weekdays)
- Make a new recipe each week from the India Express cookbook by Rukmini Iyer
- Keep up with my usual fitness classes + do another 90 (free) minutes per week
- Quick home spa routine on Sunday mornings
These all feel very do-able and add up over time, but they aren’t overwhelming. Also, they’re fun, which definitely helps when January gets a bit too grim. In case life gets in the way, I’m also allowing myself the flexibility to miss one of each of these activities during the month so I’m not setting myself up to fail when something doesn’t go perfectly to plan.
The rest of my 2023 is still to be decided. I have vague plans for a two-week holiday, a couple of new work/home/personal projects, and maybe two short breaks or weekends away, but that’s not scheduled in properly yet so it doesn’t quite exist as far as I can tell and we all know that a dream without a plan is just a wish. Watch this space, as I’m sure I’ll eventually turn those nebulous wishes into proper budget-tastic goals and make things happen.
Do you have any large or small personal resolutions or plans for 2023? If you’re taking on greater challenges this month then I have to say well done already and I’m very impressed. After all everyone’s different, and ambitious targets are often the ideal motivators for many of us.
Coming up here in January & beyond
It wouldn’t be January here at Golightly Gardens without a new Tenner Week Challenge, would it? There’s a cracking one coming up here in the last week of this month, starting officially on Monday the 23rd, and the general theme this time is thrifty self care because so many of us are feeling the pinch and a whole lot of stress in early 2023. As always, there will be new activities to try out each day, at least one of which will be completely free in case you’re financially and personally under a lot of pressure.
The simple Tenner Week Rules are here in case you’re trying it for the first time, or you’d just like to refresh your memory.
Before we get started on the Tenner Week there will also be a quick personal finance detox coming up to help you get organised, a cheap and cheerful capsule wardrobe collection to keep us looking good with super easy styling until the Spring, and lots of ideas to ease the cost of living crisis.
That’s it for the moment, and I hope you’ll be able to join me for the latest money saving Tenner Week Challenge.
Don’t forget to tell me about your resolutions if you have any too.