It’s the first of January! People everywhere are starting their year stood on a set of scales, sighing at the sight of their naked body in a full-length mirror, as their head pounds after last night’s celebrations. They’re vowing to make a fresh start, to eat healthily, making resolutions to overhaul their entire lives and reinvent themselves. (Once that dreaded hangover’s passed, anyway.)
But, is it all pointless? I think it is.
I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago about why I thought making a set of unattainable goals at the start of every year was futile.
And I thought I’d tell you why I still stand by that.
As a perfectionist of the highest order, I put myself under a considerable amount of pressure to get things right. And, guess what? I rarely achieve what I set out to do, because the pressure’s often too great, and I’m only a human being; a species which is prone to messing up.
I mess up. You mess up too, lovely reader. (Sorry to point it out to you.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally relishing the start of the new year as the chance to make a fresh start, especially seeing as 2017 was a bit of a mess.
But I’m acutely aware that it’s technically just a new day, and the same problems that were there yesterday are still sitting above my head, and yours above your heads too.
While there is something really exciting about the chance to reinvent yourself and start afresh, it can put a lot of pressure on us. Yes, it’s genuinely reassuring to give yourself an excuse to wipe the slate clean, but we shouldn’t force ourselves to if we don’t need to.
So, while I’m embracing the opportunity to turn things around in the areas of my life that have gone a bit wrong, I think that New Years Resolutions are total and utter BS.
We tell ourselves that we’ll lose a couple of stone. That we’ll start every single day with a smoothie bowl or avocado on toast washed down with a pint of water. That we’ll get that promotion, wake up an hour earlier each day, start that new hobby (no matter how daunting it is), meet new people, make new friends, get a boyfriend, (and if we’ve got one) find a better boyfriend, blog more, spend less money, relax more, exercise more; be the best possible version of ourselves.
Which is fine.
Really, it is.
I can’t help but feel that all these silly massive goals put undue pressure on us. Pressure that’s going to make us feel terrible about ourselves when we undoubtedly fail to stick to our resolutions. (I know I will.)
Because, some days, you’re going to start the day with a croissant and a pint of coffee. Some days, you’re going to eat loads of crap because you’ve had a bad day. Some days, you’re going to wish you’d taken a different career path to the one you’re now totally stuck on. Some days, you’re going to wish you’d stayed single. EVERY DAY, you’re going to be human – Flawed, and brimming with foibles.
Basically, imperfect. Oh, so gloriously imperfect.
So, strive to be the best possible ‘you’, by all means.
But don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake, or failing to keep up with whatever ridiculous fad diet’s currently taking the world by storm.
Because, as long as you’re happy with yourself, nothing else matters.
If you’re not happy, then, yes, work needs to be done…
…And while we’re on happiness: Depriving yourself completely of what does make you smile, isn’t going to make you happy. Which goes without saying, doesn’t it? If you like a bar of chocolate every now and again, cutting it out of your life entirely won’t make you feel better, will it?
So start your day with a full English, and ditch the lemon water for a cup of tea, if that’s what you want.
Leave that job if it’s making you unhappy.
And if you’re fine as you are, you’re perfectly entitled to trundle into 2018 without fanfare and a promise of reinvention, if you’re more comfortable with that.
It’s okay to make a fresh start while also keeping some of those old habits that make you, you.
You don’t have to change yourself, just because it’s another new year. So, don’t cave under pressure to be something you’re not, to beat yourself up for not being flawless, to make yourself unhappy in a quest to chase what you think WILL make you happy – but probably won’t in the long run, actually.
We shouldn’t put ourselves under undue pressure to reinvent ourselves every single year. It’s impossible. We can make small changes that amount to bigger changes, yes, but to completely change our lives every twelve months is daft.
Thank you for sticking with that MASSIVE New Years ramble! If you made it this far down, pat yourself on the back!
Where do you stand on New Year’s Resolutions?