The most wonderful time of the year is, in my opinion, followed by the least wonderful time of the year. Enter the ‘New Year, New Me’ season. The lights, bells and wreaths are packed away. Only to be replaced with impossible goals, vision boards and various words for the year. Most of which, will have faded to a distant memory by late March.
So, why is the new year my least favourite time of year? I’ll be vulnerable – my word for 2023 – because I’m tired… I’m tired of feeling like I need to constantly level up and become an entirely new version of myself, overnight.
In hindsight, ‘tired’ should have been my actual word for 2023 because it’s what I felt most of the time. Unfortunately, the ‘New Year, New Me’ season only seems to amplify the feeling of exhaustion.
We start the year by listing the transformations we must make. We want to be more healthy, more present or more active. We aim to be a better partner, parent or person. All great things. The goals are not the problem. It’s the sentiment behind them.
So often, we create New Year’s resolutions from a place of self-criticism. We focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves and set unattainable goals to fix these flaws.
It’s not surprising that when we inevitably fail to achieve our resolutions, we berate ourselves even further. It is failure on top of failure, and a miserable place to be.
It’s left me wondering, where did the idea of New Year’s resolutions come from? And why do we religiously follow this tradition? It’s as though we need a date in the calendar and strict terms and conditions to change. All improvements must be submitted no later than the 31st of December. Changes will commence effective from 1 January and continue until the end of time. Or at least until the 17th of January, when you inevitably drop the ball.
After so many years of failed resolutions, I’ve had enough. Instead of the detailed list with all the fundamental changes I need to make, I’m starting “New Year, Same Me” resolutions.
These are a list of the things you want to keep doing in 2024. It draws out what you did well in 2023, that you wish to continue in the new year. The focus isn’t on what you should change about yourself, but on what shouldn’t change. The things you were proud of, that should stay the same.
The self-improvement addicts might see this as a wasted opportunity. Of course, change and growth are crucial. But recognising what you’ve done well also matters. In an uncertain and unpredictable world, it’s natural to spend most of our time on what needs to change. But we rarely consider the things that we need to keep doing.
So this year, instead of New Year’s resolutions, think about the things that make you feel most energised, content and present.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos suggests that in work and business, focusing on what shouldn’t change tends to be more important than focusing on what needs to change: “There’s a question that comes up very commonly: ‘What’s going to change in the next five to ten years?’ But I very rarely get asked, ‘What’s not going to change?’” he said.
This logic applies to both business and your personal life. By acknowledging the things you did well that you don’t want to change, you can keep growing without the negative self-perception.
For me, one of the things I was proud of in 2023 was that I went on a daily walk. It wasn’t transformational. There were no marathons. There was no cross-fit. I just made my daily walk a priority. It was a small habit that benefited me last year, and it’s one of my ‘same me’ resolutions for 2024.
So this year, instead of New Year’s resolutions, start your ‘same me’ resolutions. Think about the things that make you feel most energised, content and present.
Ask yourself these questions: When did I feel most proud? When did I do my best work? What things do I not want to lose this year? From here, list the five to 10 things you want to keep doing this year. These are your resolutions.
Here’s the best part: you’ll start your year from a place of self-compassion instead of self-criticism. It’s a far healthier way to kick off the new year. So here’s to the new year by the same you. You did good.
Source: Thanks smh.com