It’s that time of year again where the remnants of the ‘new year new me’ quotes in picturesque backgrounds or under the captions of magazine-worthy pictures on social media are slowly starting to dwindle off the timeline. The second week of the year where you wonder if those who tediously wrote out their new year’s resolutions or decided that this was the year that they were DEFINITELY going to do something they’ve been putting off for so long, actually still feel motivated to do it and whether they have in fact put steps in motion to achieve their goals. The question lingers over so many of us every December- should we bother with making any new year’s resolutions? Should we want to do better? And if we do, should we stress ourselves by setting this particular time of the year to be the time that this MUST be thought out or decided?
Well, I believe this very much depends on the individual.
Making new year’s resolutions can be something as simple as eating healthier, drinking more water, socialising with people more, etc. However, the saying that references a ‘new me’ can be quite the emotional rollercoaster, especially for someone who overthinks as it is. This is a quote that is very personal to the individual in comparison to simple new year resolutions.
For someone who is confident in themselves and who they are, the declaration of a ‘new me’ is not so daunting. They can acknowledge that this mindset does not mean that there is anything defective about them but that they can improve in some areas and actually want to. This way of thinking not only motivates them to stick to what they have promised to themselves (whatever that may be) but it also gives them a sense of empowerment that they can identify the things about themselves that could be better, either for them or the other people and aspects of their lives. This also benefits some people as the ‘failure’ in not following through with these changes means that hey, they’ve got next year to try again!
However, the notion that you must want to change something about you and who you are at the start of a new year can also be a hindrance, especially to the mental stability of someone who is already struggling. The motivation that comes with declaring a new you at the start of the year is something that a high percentage of people probably feel at the time of making the list of all the things they’re going to do to improve. But how long does this last for the average person? How far into the year do you start to feel overwhelmed with the goals you set for yourself, especially when time is getting on and you feel no closer to fulfilling them?
Now don’t get me wrong.
Everyone at some point in their lives has a mental list of the things they would like to be different about themselves. One would hope that this would be simply for them and not for anyone else but in reality, a lot of the times, the changes we wish to make are for the benefit of someone else (or a particular circumstance) in our lives. For an overactive mind, we are already excruciatingly hard on ourselves and our flaws so why compound this with an unrealistic time limit? Not only does this put the brain into overdrive but it increases self-criticism, especially if the things you wanted to change aren’t achieved. You can start to become so consumed with the end goal that you start to lose sight of the steps it even takes to get there, which can cause more disappointment.
Furthermore, the saying ‘new me’ insinuates that you need to leave all remains of the person you were last year and become this new, shiny model. Sometimes there are parts about you and your life that need to come with you to be converted into the strength and dedication you need to get through the next chapter of your life.
Whilst wanting to be a better person and change things about yourself is worth commending, setting yourself up with having to do it or make this decision at a specific time of the year to be completed before the next is something that causes more agony than contentment. Instead, focus on doing something better for yourself any day, week or month of the year and make sure that what you are professing is realistically achievable. There’s no such thing as ‘too late’ in life with becoming a better version of YOU.
Be present in your life, have gratitude for where you happen to be and the people around you, and you have permission to be cautiously optimistic for your future and what it holds. Only you are in control of who are and what you choose to become and the numbers in the year or the month in which you decide to do this have no bearing on your success in getting there.
In the words of Dave Grohl, ‘No one is you, and that is your power.’ So, own it!