At the start of a new year it is very natural to start thinking about new beginnings and fresh starts and this can be a wonderful idea. Giving yourself the opportunity to begin again, to let go of behaviours or activities that no longer serve you can be incredibly helpful
However is this obsession for a "New year, New you" all part of a wider pursuit or yearning for a physical or emotional state of perfection that is often completely unobtainable and will probably mean that we end up never feeling satisfied with ourselves or our lives?
After the excesses of Christmas and in the dullness of January there is a collective surge of renewed gym memberships, sign ups to weight-loss programs and plenty of resolutions to finally achieve those goals that eluded us in previous years. This trend is reflected in the world of advertising and media and we are all fed the idea that "this year will be the year", without any acknowledgement that last year and the year before were also "the years"
January sees a surge of renewed gym memberships, sign ups to weight-loss programs and the resolution to achieve previously unattained goals.
We say things like ‘2019 will be my year, this is my year for prosperity and success’ without ever stopping to acknowledge that 2019 was also our year, as was the year before and the year before that.
But why don’t New Year’s resolutions work?
In my opinion there are three main reasons why new year's resolutions fail:
1. Thinking not wanting
Lose weight, stop smoking, start running? These might all be good ideas for you to have a go at but in general these kinds of resolutions are about what we THINK we should be doing instead of what we WANT to be doing.
In a society dominated by social media and the comparisons that they inevitably lead to it is hard to focus on what really makes us happy.
My advice - if you want to create a resolution that you will actually stick to then make sure it is about something that you actually want!
Resolutions can be quite similar to goals in that they are often about having "more" of something. The problem with this is that as soon as you start wanting more than what you have it becomes impossible to enjoy the now.
The striving for more will lead to feelings that you are less-than, that you have less and that when you have more then you will be happy. By setting a goal of where you want to be you are immediately highlighting to yourself that you are not happy with where you are now which can lead to problems with self-confidence and self-worth.
Once you reach your goal the temptation is to set another goal, to keep moving forward and striving for more, for the next thing. When do you stop, take stock and enjoy what you have right now?
My advice - chuck out the goal, stop striving for more. The true joy is in the here and now, take the time to enjoy it.
With 365 days in the year why wait for a particular date on which to make a resolution? If you have something that you want to achieve or do, something that is important to you then is there any point in waiting until the New Year to begin it?
My advice - if you want to achieve something then don't wait! There's no time like the present.
All that said, if the start of a new year has got you fired up, if you are in the right frame of mind for thinking about what you want, what you are hoping for then take this opportunity to take some time and tune in to your inner voice. Think about what you want from your life.
At this time of year when you are constantly being urged to be thinner, to have more, to be better take some time, slow down and tune in and really listen to what you need, what will light you up, what will get you excited - be true to you.
New Year, True You!