First, happy 2018!
Each year brings a welcome fresh start. Sometimes that fresh start means organizing the closet, cleaning off your desk, starting a new money-saving habit or beginning to volunteer in your community—all good things, for sure, and helpful! (In fact, here are a few tips from my Guiding Stars colleague, Allison Stowell, who wrote about setting reasonable resolutions last year.)
According to surveys, 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, and roughly 21% of those involve eating more healthfully and losing weight, while working out more often is a resolution of about 5% of people. Clearly, improving oneself is a goal—and not inherently a bad thing. In fact, those who set goals are more likely to achieve them—even if it takes multiple attempts. I have no problem with goal setting; it’s a great tool. I do, however, have a problem with the magazine cover line “new year, new you.”
I’m okay, you’re okay.
Have you noticed all the January magazine covers, Facebook, Instagram posts and advertisements that infer the arrival of January 1 means it’s time to “fix” yourself somehow? Ugh. There is nothing “wrong” with you. You are more than how you look, more than what is visible to others. You are just you, and the current you has value—there is no need to strive to be a “new” you! We are all on a journey, and at different places on that journey—that’s perfectly appropriate and okay.
Give yourself some positive vibrations.
I’ve got an idea for you—instead of trying to make yourself into a “new you” through punishing or nagging yourself into improved eating or exercise habits, how about focusing some positivity on yourself? Your strong legs, flexibility or good balance (lots of folks forget that balance is an important part of fitness by the way)—these are things that warrant celebrating!
Be kind to yourself this year.
Lots of us work to be kind to others and yet treat and talk to ourselves in a less-than-kind manner. You deserve kindness, too! Resolving to be kind to yourself is a great idea for the new year—and its incredibly customizable. For some, learning a new sport or fun physical hobby might be the thing (hello, indoor rock climbing lessons!), for others getting a regular massage or signing up for a few cooking lessons might define self-care. This past year I decided to start using better skin care products and, while it is more of a visible kind of self-care, it also has made me feel good about myself, too, so I count that as a win.
I wish you a happy 2018 full of positivity, kindness and the joy of caring for others as well as yourself.