Why ‘New Year New Me’ should be about self-love and acceptance
Do your New Year's resolutions make you feel bad about yourself? If so, maybe it's time to look at your resolutions differently
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"Maybe work on accepting yourself first and realising that you are filled with strengths and not just flaws. "
The period between Christmas and new year’s is one where time sort of seems to stop. Nobody really knows what date or what time it is. Meals typically consist of turkey leftovers, biscuits and chocolates. Topics of conversation might include who started the new row of the milk tray, who ate the last Maltesers in the box of celebrations and are there still the purple Roses. Time often passes through watching cheesy movies on TV, having a chance to catch up with family and friends, reading, lazing in your pjs in front of the fire, enjoying your Christmas presents, the unavoidable trips to the pub and maybe even a dip in the sea. This usually relaxing time away from the frenzy and flurry of our everyday routines comes abruptly to an end when New Year’s Eve arrives. Some people love the excitement of the parties, the fireworks, the countdown. I on the other hand am one of the people who dreads the advent of diet talk, unattainable resolutions to exercise more and eat healthier and thereby be a better person. In this article I want to challenge the concept of new year’s resolutions and the idea that this is a new start which is perpetuated by the media and advertisement industry.
ur lives didn’t always revolve around the clock. We didn’t always have the pressure of the years ticking by and the feeling that we have to achieve something and have hit certain milestones by certain arbitrary points in our lives. This isn’t a race. Sometimes you are ahead, sometimes you are behind. Think about it. It took Trump 70 years to become President. Our life will pass us faster than we think it will so enjoy each moment as it comes. Try not to put pressure on yourself or think that because it’s a new year you have to set out to achieve.
I’m not saying that setting goals for yourself is a bad thing or that you shouldn’t be ambitious. Setting yourself attainable targets and planning how to achieve them is great and can help boost your self-esteem and your self-worth. My point is, you can always make resolutions, every day is a new day, every hour a new one and every minute brings new opportunities. You don’t have to wait until January of each year to set resolutions and just because it's January doesn’t mean you have to set goals either if now isn’t the right time for you.
Last of all, I want to point out that you don’t necessarily need to better yourself. The author Matt Haig posted a tweet using the analogy of a Russian doll saying we aren’t filled with infinite better versions of ourselves to discover. This isn’t a game of Mario where you constantly need to level up. Maybe work on accepting yourself first and realising that you are filled with strengths and not just flaws. There will always be things we don’t like about ourselves or that we could improve so why not accept ourselves for all our imperfections which at the end of the day make us who we are.
This follows on nicely to the fact that if you do decide to set resolutions, ask yourself if they’re for the right reasons. If you want to change yes, this is the perfect opportunity to do so, but make sure your new devotion to exercising or changing your food habits is out of self-love and not out of self-loathing and guilt for the food you had over Christmas. Food is energy and not a judgement of our value or our worth. Some days we eat more, some days we eat less. Our weight fluctuates naturally so there is no point in feeling guilty about what you ate over Christmas.
If you do want to get more active now it’s the New Year, there are loads of great ways to do it. It can start out small like walking up to the shops or your friend’s house instead of driving or getting a lift. You can take the stairs not the escalator. There are loads of YouTube videos with yoga or workout videos for people of all abilities which also saves on an expensive gym membership. Even dancing around your living room counts. If you think running would be your thing, why not join a parkrun? These are free timed 5km events every Saturday for people of all ages and all abilities. It can be a good motivation to get you out and there is a supportive spirit no matter your speed.
Don’t be fooled by the ads you see about how this is time to discover the new you. Be happy with the old you. You don’t need an update. Ignore the diet talk and the resolutions made that set people up for failure. Make a realistic resolution if you want to and if you want to you can boycott the entire idea like I do. No matter your decision have a happy and healthy new year!