QnA: How to avoid the New Year – New You trap?

I suppose it’s how you look at it! I personally love a new year. I don’t necessarily feel like I’m going to be a new me. But I’m definitely one for setting intentions, hopes, goals, dreams. This isn’t disregarding my previous self at all as some social media posts seem to think it means. But to keep pushing myself forwards and I grow and expand in this one life I have to live.

However, it can be negative for many. It can mean – You’re crap – time to change! Get rid of your own flabby self, get rid of her completely – it’s time to be super you!

So if it’s triggering for you in any way – I wonder if you feel some insecurity about any part of yourself and you’re wondering “Hmm. Maybe I do need to change?” I may be wrong.

But many moons ago, I definitely used to feel that I was a bit rubbish and could do with a do-over. But I didn’t want an upgrade. Back then I wanted to be whole, NEW, shiny person. Not even me. This is pretty much the ultimate self-rejection. But New Year – New You doesn’t have to be literal. Not if you don’t let it.

What changed for me was practicing being radically kind to myself for many years. Tara Brach and her book Radical Kindness is a go-to for this idea. (Heavy in meditation and Buddhism, so if that’s not your thing, consider a book that has the same message, different tone: You are a Badass by Jen Sincero). Radical kindness and self-acceptance is about not being so ready to throw yourself away. It’s really about developing a growth mindset about yourself (Mindset by Carol Dweck for more info). It’s believing that you are a good enough person, but that you can handle some more challenges. Why? Because you like them and you’re worth the effort to keep growing, because you believe in yourself. You don’t want to lock yourself away, you love yourself, you want to nurture yourself. In nature, everything wants to thrive. To reach for the sun. It can’t do that under a cloud of hate. It can only do that under the constant exposure to all the kind and right elements in needs, perfectly accepting that it has a place in the world and knowing it can grow!

Reframe the new year thing. Put your own spin on it. Instead of thinking in terms of change, or newness. Think: “What did I enjoy this year? What have I really liked doing in the past?” AND DO MORE OF THAT.

If you liked walking on beaches last year, make a plan to walk a beach each month.

Meditation? Find a class.

Running? Go for a walk/jog.

These are great because you are bringing something to you that you know you like and that was part of you before. Not some disembodied ‘perfect’ you that you’ve yet to become. That’s nonsense!

And remember that sometimes we get what we want, and we’re still not happy. So getting something isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe it’s stopping and giving yourself the gift of connection to the small moments of your day is the best thing you can do for yourself, and that’s really accepting what you have right here, right now.

I hope that helped!