New year's fireworks

A new year with no resolutions

Matthew Hoddinott

MD of Olyi LTD, helping businesses and people in the construction industry, develop sustainable, inclusive and safe communities so that everyone can led a fulfilling life.

Boom – and then it’s January.


So much hope and anticipation for the new year ahead.


As the last notes of Auld Lang Syne fade away amid the cheers, hugs, and kisses, we ponder what the next 12 months has in store.  We start with setting resolutions and goals. Business plans which have been agreed are set in front of us, the budget numbers all returned to zero and we begin again.


I find January an odd month. I always have.

Many fortunate people are so connected with love and cheer in December. Then the 3rd or 4th January comes, and we’re thrown back into the whirlwind of life, and the trepidation at what lies ahead.


When I was at school, January always used to be the darkest month. I lived away from wherever home was for my schooling, and so I would arrive back on the first day of the January term from the safety and comfort of my parents’ home, and into the maelstrom of boarding school life. Cold dorms, thin blankets, busy toilets, military style washrooms and often loads of apprehension. 


I felt the impact of long drawn-out grey days and dark nights, without the anticipation of spring to bring some colour.

As a young adult I would always spend my early morning quiet time looking at travel brochures and magazines, hoping to trek through that jungle, stay at that swanky hotel or lie on those prestige sands.

Banishing the darkness

I got married in January 17 years ago, and my wife’s birthday is also in January. These cherished events considerably lightened the month for me, and I always enjoy celebrating them. In fact, I do enjoy January now. 


I’ve changed the way I think about January  – now it holds no darkness, only promise. It’s a foundation for the year ahead and not just 31 days which need to be endured.


I’m good at looking at the headlines of something, but I struggle with small print. I’m at my best when caught up in a whirlwind of creativity and possibility, looking at the bigger picture and imagining possibilities. Detail and organisation are hideous necessities for me which I try and avoid, knowing that everything will just happen. Or that’s what I tell myself, at least.


And so armed with this knowledge I know that habit is one of the strongest traits I have. I know I’m good at habits (good and bad – I’ve written about these before).


I know that with a goal, I’m driven. I know that with a purpose, I’m focused. And I know that true understanding of my “why” means I can accomplish anything. Absolutely anything. I just need to remind myself of my why.

New year, new routines

I stick to my established routine every day, which starts with some self-care time in the morning – creating some space in my head for clarity and creativity, reading something new, challenging my mind, writing my journal, staying away from the news. Some time for stretching, exercise, and importantly for me, connection with nature (such as watching the sunrise if there is one).


I don’t set resolutions. I don’t say that this year I must lose weight. I don’t say that this year I won’t drink, I won’t slack at work, or I won’t get into debt. I try and focus on my bigger picture, knowing that if I start each day in the right way, the rest of the day will follow.


I use my bigger picture as a cascade starting point for how my life should be lived.

But most importantly the very first thing I try and do each morning is to be just grateful for the first breath of the morning. It means I’m still here and that makes me smile.


So that’s me. What about you?  What makes you thrive and makes you happy? This isn’t a dress rehearsal!

Each day it’s our choice to create a beautiful day. It really is in our control as to how we show up, no matter what’s on our plate.


It’s our choice as to how we deal with it.


With love



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