With the New Year comes the promises we make to ourselves to live a better life of self-improvement. Towards the end of the previous year, you alongside the general population vow that you will become a better version of yourself, often professing that with the new year in tow, will come a new you. You’ll come up with your goals and resolutions for the New Year, hoping that you will make some sort of transformation in your life in the following twelve months, persistently claiming, New Year, New Me. For many of us, it’s as if once 1st January kicks in, we expect an immediate change within ourselves, our actions and attitude. While pursuing down the road of self-improvement is a great thing to do, is there perhaps a problem with the concept New Year, New Me?
Often without realising, the idea of a New Year, New Me can put too much pressure on us. Going to the gym regularly and procrastinating less are both great resolutions to set for ourselves, but can they really last? We start the year being optimistic but can sometimes end up setting unrealistic goals for ourselves. We put a lot of emphasis on making changes in the course of 24 hours to the point that our resolutions seem intimidating and by March our gym membership card is getting dusty in our wallets.
We shouldn’t be using the New Year as a determiner to make changes. It’s an ideal starting point, but we should assure ourselves that it is also just fine to make changes throughout the year when it suits us. In fact, a lot of the time the goals we set for ourselves in light of a New Year, New Me are things that we should be working on all the time. Waiting until the New Year should not be the mindset we hold in order to become a better person. Shouldn’t we just start once we recognise an area that requires improvement within ourselves? I am very guilty of this myself, and would previously use the New Year as an excuse to procrastinate my resolutions for the upcoming year. But at the end of 2017, I knew in order to have the right mindset in order to fulfill my 2018 goals, I needed to start building the foundation before the clock struck midnight on 1st January.
There is also somewhat of a pressure to actually make New Year’s resolutions and share them on social media. Like a lot of things displayed on social media, it adds an unnecessary pressure on us and can perhaps lead to feelings of inadequacy or that you are not prepared for the year ahead. Let’s be honest, we’re a judgmental society and we tend to focus on the negatives rather than the positives, such as others flaws instead of their accomplishments. This year, it has been refreshing on Twitter seeing thread upon thread of people celebrating their achievements and speaking proudly of what 2017 has allowed them to accomplish. But just because you do not have any resolutions planned, or have decided to steer away from constraining intentions for the year, does not make you any less adequate or unprepared for what is to come in the New Year. Personally I like the idea of setting myself an outlook that I will maintain throughout the year and keep reflecting upon whenever I’m ticking off my goals. I think this allows for much more self-development and self-improvement than having a list of ten things I must achieve before the end of the year. As long as I’ve carried on through the year with that outlook, than I will be satisfied.
So instead of using the New Year as an indicator to when we should start making some alterations in our lives, perhaps we should just see it as it should be – a symbolic start to a new period of time. Holding such importance on the idea of a New Year, New Me will only hinder us in bettering ourselves in the long run. It’s so much better to check in with ourselves throughout the year and to reflect on our achievements, and therefore organising our goals accordingly. Furthermore, we don’t want our resolutions to become a burden to us, rather we should be wanting to change and make improvements continuously. Being a better person should be something we want to do all the time. Ultimately for us to get out of this New Year, New Me mentality, we need to make the idea of a “New Me” a daily occurrence.
Written by Aisha Rimi