Ah, New Years. It comes around quicker and quicker every year I swear. This year, the New Year celebrations are sort of overshadowed by everything else going on the world with the pandemic, restrictions, social distancing and more national lockdowns. It doesn’t have quite the same resonance and sense of renewal as it normally might, as we continue battling through another wave of Covid-19 and life stays stripped down to the bare essentials.
We can’t really hit the gym to finally start the journey to getting fit, or follow our dream of travelling more and seeing the world. But that doesn’t mean that self-care and self development are completely off the table! Of course, if all you do right now is just make it through the day, that is enough and you’re doing amazingly! Managing at Christmas and the festive period can be difficult enough without bringing that energy into the New Year when what you really need is rest and self-love!
It’s a really strange and difficult time, and nobody needs the extra added pressure of “New Year, New Me” culture, especially with the looming presence of social media and the spectacle. Goals, growth and development can be simple, subtle and internal too – they can be based on cultivating and rewiring our mindset and creating a calmer or more confident environment for ourselves to inhabit.
Sometimes, New Years resolutions are rooted in social and cultural ideals that are fundamentally problematic and can lead to unhealthy places and fixations on our appearance, social status and material things rather than mental and emotional flourishing.
I’m not trying to police anybody’s desires here – don’t feel guilty if you’re affected by social conditioning! Certain priorities are ingrained into us by society from the moment we can understand and absorb information, but this doesn’t mean we can’t stop and examine the roots of our self-development goals, recognizing unhealthy ideas and thought processes going forward. We can ask and explore: are our resolutions and goals stemming from the pursuit of true personal happiness and satisfaction? Or social acceptance and desirability?
How do we settle on a New Years resolution? How do we identify what it is that we value and what we would like to change? Through whose eyes are we attempting to view ourselves?
My ultimate advice is to set resolutions that are kind, reasonable and realistic – don’t put intense pressure and expectations on yourself to change drastically and quickly, especially right now with everything that’s going on in the world. Think instead about small changes and habits you can start to implement easily in order to make positive transformations, things such as:
- Keeping a journal to externalize and explore your thoughts and feelings
- Implementing positive affirmations either out loud or in your head to start shifting your self-perception
- Being stricter about the things we buy, asking “do I really need this?” “can my money be better spent or saved?”
- De-cluttering your home and clearing out the junk-drawers or the spare room where you keep everything you’ve ever owned
- Spending a little less time on social media each day/week – you can keep track of this using the screen time feature on your phone
- Finding ways to show the people in your life how much you appreciate them in a way that makes sense for you – we all have different communication styles, love languages and ways of saying “I love you” and “I care about you” whether it’s making and giving gifts, writing letters, setting aside some quality time (in person or on zoom)
- Try something new in terms of self-care and development – frame it as a one-time thing so there’s no pressure to stick to it after you’ve tried it, maybe you’ll love it and carry on or never do it again but at least you’ve given it a go which was your resolution! Things like meditation, yoga, making a vision/manifestation board – instead of approaching it like its going to become a defining feature of your New Healthy Personality, just choose to explore it casually and see where it leads you
These are just a couple of ideas to help inspire you and demonstrate that resolutions can be gentle and low-key while still holding lots of potential for positive improvement and change.
Hopefully, this strange new year can bring a little bit of fresh energy and a benchmark of personal self-growth. Remember though, just getting through and managing the bare minimum of self care is what is important right now.
If you’d like to receive some extra support going into the New Year, you can book a discovery call with me right here – I’d love to chat and help you on your journey to a more positive and empowered state of emotional wellbeing.
Much love and festive cheer to you all!