I’m conflicted when it comes to the trend of making New Years resolutions… on one hand I try to be an optimist and I think its great to create goals that give you a sense of motivation and to improve things in your life, but on the other hand I hate the cliché ‘New Year, New Me’ notion and the massive pressure we can put on ourselves to have some sort of re-birth in the New Year. The extreme diet goals that you see people on social media set themselves… all the many milestone-type achievements people strive towards. I’ve done it plenty of times, thinking that when the clock strikes 00:00 on NYE I need to somehow feel a noticeable change throughout me like an electrical current, a full body rejuvenation, and that if I’m not entering that new year feeling refreshed, happy and confident it’s a bad omen for the rest of the year to come.
We can end up focusing too much energy on these goals that are meant to define us as being better versions of ourselves, however a lot of the time these goals are unattainable, un-realistic and maybe we just expect them to happen magically without any real process involved. If we haven’t shed that weight by Spring or got that job or joined that dance class or been travelling to several different continents and rescued some endangered animals (etc etc) we can feel as if we’re inadequate and as if we’ve failed ourselves. It can be a recipe for self-loathing and comparison for a great deal of us, so I think its time to be a bit kinder to ourselves.
I’m deciding to re-frame my idea of New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t think looking forward has to be all about completely changing ourselves, but more so carrying on with some of the good steps we’ve already made in the previous year. I’m going to take some time to reflect on the things that actually have went well and have improved and try to think of ways to continue in than vein or inject them into my life even more. I think goals are great within reason, but I’m going to make them as touchable as possible, without putting rigid time-scales on them which I’ll undoubtedly break, and giving lieu-way for those inevitable times where life simply just gets in the way.
I was inspired the other day by a Japanese technique called ‘Shikata Ga Nai‘ which I came across in a daily Shine message. Shine is a free, self improvement app that sends you little daily pep-talk messages with links to interesting articles to spur you through the day. It’s not wishy-washy or corny though (which a lot of similar types of apps can be like and can totally put me off!). The messages are straight-talking and usually have reference to some psychological evidence or research. Aaanyway…..the art of ‘Shikata Ga Nai‘ is essentially about letting go of the things that you can’t change or control, washing your hands of the less-than-ideal things in life that come up but cannot be helped. It’s all about not dwelling on these things (easier said than done, I know) but in essence taking comfort in the fact that you’re not obligated to spend any energy on it at all. I plan to channel some of this into 2019 and direct my energy into more of the things that I enjoy.
There’s also a great article here that perfectly explains how to create achievable and productive New Year habits ↓
Let’s (un) officially put ‘New Year, New Me’ to bed!
Peace, ♥︎ and a Happy New Year