I do love new year. It is a time for me of reflection; thinking about the year that has almost gone, planning for the one still to come. But this time of year can promote the unhealthiest of habits (no, not Prosecco). The idea that at midnight, everything changes. That somehow, with just a strong dose of willpower, the help of the latest guru or a bunch of promises to yourself or others, January 1st is the day. New year, new you.
It is of course, a heady mix of marketing and hype. After the holiday excesses comes the guilt trip. We can make it all okay, all better, all over again. If we just buy more stuff and spend more money.
The problem with the new year, new you narrative is the underlying suggestion that there was something wrong with the old you. The old you ate too much, mediated too infrequently, failed to exercise sufficiently, didn’t detox and so on.
First things first. The old you is awesome. You are not what you eat, how much you weight, how much you drink, the carbs you consume, the gym visits you undertake.
If you want to make a change in your life, by all means start at the beginning of the year. But please, don’t make a big long list. Don’t try and change everything all at once. It is too big, too scary, too much to deal with cognitively. Those new white, clean trainers will never make it to worn. Instead, think about this. What is the single most important thing you want to work on for your wellbeing right now? What one thing can you do to support that?
And then do it. Keep doing it for a while, until you are happy with it, until it becomes a habit, until you are satisfied. Then pick something else. Whatever day of the year that turns out to be.
Change enough of the small stuff bit by bit. It will all add up to big stuff by the end of the year.
New year, same awesome you.