So, happy New Year! January 1st is seen to many as an opportunity for a fresh start. The chance to reinvent themselves, overhaul their life, or become a better person. For many this optimistic attitude for change manifests itself in one phrase… ‘New Year, New Me’. Whilst I admire and encourage an individual’s desire to commit themselves to self-improvement, there are some negative undercurrents to this particular phrase.
The phrase ‘New Year, New Me’ suggests that the current you just isn’t good enough. That you need to be transformed completely in order to accept yourself. Maybe you stood in front of the mirror as 2017 hurtled closer and thought…
“You need to lose weight.”
“Why are you so ugly?”
“Your job isn’t good enough!”
“When are you going to achieve something?”
I am a big of a fan of resolutions, provided they are achievable, defined and measurable. However, this particular attitude makes me uncomfortable. This sentiment lends itself to resolutions that are precisely not achievable, defined or measurable. When you say you need to a ‘New Me’ you are setting yourself an impossible task – you tell yourself that this is the year you are going to change everything. That nothing about you is ‘enough’… good enough, successful enough, attractive enough.
Successful goal setting
Most people aren’t capable of transforming multiple habits in one swift move. New behaviours take time to embed themselves into our routine. The best way to make self-improvement changes is with little changes that you build up over time. For example, if you wanted to start running, you wouldn’t immediately begin by entering a marathon and running 10k a day, you would just end up injuring yourself. No, you would start with shorter jogs, and build up your stamina. So, why would you write New Year’s resolutions that are super ambitious, bordering on impossible?
To get the most out of your resolutions make sure that you are given yourself the best chance to achieve them. After all, when you accomplish these more attainable goals you can simply set yourself new ones. This is far more productive and positive than setting impractical goals that will leave you feeling deflated and demotivated.
So, if you want to start working out at the gym, begin with 2 hours a week and then see how you go. If you are looking to commit to a year of education, you can set a goal to read for 20 minutes before bed each night. If you want to get more flexible, set a very specific milestone such as a flat right split, and begin stretching twice a week. Once you are comfortable with these new habits, or have reached that defined goal, you can move the bar; workout 4 times per week, read for 1 hour or take an adult learning course, or aim for an over split.
Why a new you?
But remember to ask yourself… why do you insist on completely transforming yourself? Aren’t you kind of awesome just the way you are? Yes, there may be things you want to improve; skills you want to get better at, fitness and health goals, or career milestones you want to smash. These don’t add up to an entirely new you though, they just build upon the traits and talents that you already have.
By using phrases such as ‘New Year, New Me’ you are communicating to yourself that you need to be ‘new’ in order to be ‘better’. Cut out this phrase and replace it with positive affirmations to maximise your self-improvement mindset.
♥ New Year, New Goals
♥ New Year, New Skills
♥ New Year, New Successes
So, when you are thinking about ‘who you want to be’ in 2017, remember that firstly you are pretty great just as you are, and secondly, if there are things you want to work on make sure they are – achievable, defined and measurable!
What is your opinion of the phrase ‘new year, new me’? What goals have you set yourself for 2017?