This is why you shouldn't set your New Year's resolutions in January, according to an astrologer

Wait for the Spring Equinox instead

 New Year's resolutions: Hands with rings on fingers are holding crystal ball near esoteric set on concrete gray background with many stars sequins
(Image credit: Getty Images)

New Year, new you? Gets a little bit tiring, doesn't it? While we'd argue that goal setting is a useful thing to do any time of year, we'd be lying if we said we always stick to our New Year's resolutions. Well, according to expert astrologer Kirsty Gallagher, the difficulty in maintaining our resolutions can be attributed to when we're making them. Essentially, in the dark depths of January, it's the worst time to be setting shiny new goals—and you'd actually find success comes a lot more easily if you wait until Spring. 

Kirsty Gallagher headshot
Kirsty Gallager

Kirsty is widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading voices in modern-day spirituality and soul-led personal development. As well as offering coaching and mentoring services, Kirsty is also the author of the Sunday Times bestselling book Lunar Living.

"I've been saying for years that it's the worst time to set resolutions because it's cold, it's dark, it's grey; everything around you in nature is still in total hibernation," Gallagher tells me as I sip on a Lemsip trying to fight off the end-of-year cold that's been doing the rounds. "As I'm sure you'll understand," she continued. "At the end of the year, we're already exhausted, then we push through by going out to parties and celebrating. Then January comes and we're expected to find all this enthusiasm for the new year. This means when we set these big resolutions, we tend to pick them out of thin air as we're not prepared."

Gallagher argues that we'd be much better off waiting until the Spring Equinox (usually around 21st March) to make these choices. "This is the beginning of the astrological year and when all of nature starts to come to life. That's the time we want to be setting intentions. We feel like we're coming back to life; there's hope in the air. We set ourselves up to fail when we make intentions in January.

"The Spring Equinox is the start of the astrological year and a new astrological cycle. We've not only got nature on our side, we've also got Aries energy; the go-getter of the Zodiac. It's like we've got a cheerleader around us saying: go for it, you can do this, let's go for it. That's how I live, the beginning of my year is the spring equinox. I don't buy into any of this 'New Year, new me' stuff."

So what should we be doing in the depths of winter instead? You guessed it, resting. It sounds simple, but yet year after year we make—and often break—our January resolutions, because it feels very difficult to get that gym or home workout routine going in the depths of winter.  

Gallagher continued: "In January we want to be moving slowly and taking the time to reflect. It's the perfect time to look back over the year and think: what did I do well this year? What could I have done better? What could I do differently?"

According to Gallagher by looking at nature, we can learn a lot about how we should approach the year. She continued: "We look at nature in January and everything looks dark and dead, but underneath the surface, nature's got this vast roots system that's just gathering nutrients so that everything can grow again in the spring. And that's what we need to be doing. It's looking at what the future version of ourselves needs. It's about gathering energy so that you have that energy to go after the things that you want. It's a time for gathering and a time for going slowly and resting." Our guides to self care ideas, reframing negative thoughts, and wellness planners should also come in handy during this time of year. 

As we enter 2024, astrologically we're in Capricorn season. As Gallagher explains, "Capricorn season always begins and ends the year. The Capricorn sign is about long-term, future focus. Then we come into Aquarius season next in February, which is all about taking those Capricorn visions and starting to put them into place. When nature starts to stir, we find we start to stir ourselves and it's often a time when we think about what we don't want anymore.

"Then we get Pieces season, which helps us to end things—it's the final sign of the Zodiac. We've come three months into the year and see where we're repeating the same patterns, putting up with the same things and it's time to say what we need to let go of. Then we create all this space when Aries season comes, to begin again."

New Year's resolutions: Picture of the moon throughout the moon cycle

(Image credit: Getty Images)

She also highlights how the beginning of the year is a great time to get in touch with the moon cycle, even if that just means a reason to check in with ourselves once a month. "Working with the moon means we're never again going to get to December and go where has the year gone and we've got a pocket full of dreams," she continued. "It gives us a chance to check in once, if not twice, a month with ourselves and prevent those cycles where we're making the same mistakes and not allowing ourselves to grow. I love sceptics about the moon as if you took the moon out of it and just sat once a month with yourself, it would change your life in ways you can't even imagine."  

And what's the advice for sticking to the goal we make? Dream big, and be wary of sabotaging your own goals. "Very often we don't dream big enough," she continued. "There's a fear that we might not achieve it, so we keep our dreams small. But because it's not a soul-felt dream and a heartfelt dream, we don't give it enough enthusiasm. But then there's also a big self-belief piece around knowing that when you set an intention, you don't have to be fully committed to believing it right now, because it's a journey of growth towards that. 

"A dream should be big enough that it scares you—we need to remember that fear and excitement feel the same in the body. It's important to check in as well and if something isn't happening, ask is it because I don't want this, or am I getting in my own way?' Constant little check-ins will help you stay on track." 

Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has bylines in publications such as Marie Claire UK, Red Magazine, House of Coco, women&home, GoodTo, Woman's Own and Woman magazine.

She started writing for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant and covers everything from fashion and celebrity style to beauty and careers.