January the 1st comes around and we all start creating an endless mental list of the things we could do that would make us better versions of ourselves. Maybe we could eat less and be skinnier. Maybe we could start wearing different make-up to look prettier. We could even enroll on an evening course to make ourselves feel more educated. But that’s presuming there’s anything at all wrong with who you already are. Think of all the friends you have, the partner that loves you and the family who adore you ‘just the way you are’. Do they really want you to be someone new? What is wrong with the current you. Unfortunately, no matter how self-aware you might be, social media and beauty advertising campaigns are on the other side of the fence saying “Look how happy you’ll be if you buy us” or “Look how attractive you’ll be if you wear this” so it’s going to take a strong, positive mindset to say f*”! off to them. I’m no expert on setting goals but I have seen my fair share of clients with unrealistic goals or crazy resolutions. Below are my tips on how to avoid the trap of guilt caused by failed New Years resolutions.
- Look outwards– instead of thinking about what you can do to make yourself ‘better’/happier/skinnier/prettier think about what you can do for others. I have an amazingly kind client who volunteers for a food bank in London. Although this started out as something she was doing to help others I have seen how much joy, compassion and empathy she has learnt from doing so and it makes her happier than any facial could.
- Think positive– try not to think “what don’t I like about myself” think “what makes me happy”. Once you know what makes you happy start to think of ways you could do more of those things. For example if going for dinner with your best friend once a month makes you happy book the next few months in now before you both get too bogged down.
- Fitness does not have to hurt to be worthwhile– when making fitness plans for the new year I see people throwing themselves in at the deep end. Instead of easing your body in, as you should do, there is panic surrounding their workout choices. If you choose something that makes you hurt for days after, chances are you’ll give it up sooner. Think about what exercise you like, and then work out how you can factor that into your life.
- Re-assess previous goals– write a list of all the resolutions you have made in the past. Yes all of them. Even the silly ones. See if there’s a pattern emerging. Are you always choosing the same ones? Have they ever worked? Did any of them actually make you any happier? This might just help you avoid making the same mistakes again.
- Health has no time frame– The problem, in my mind, with starting new goals on the 1st January is that, as with diets, there is this time frame element. It’s always “ok so I will start on the 1st but before that I’m going to totally binge eat/binge drink/do no exercise” and then it’s complete abstinence/exercise-panic come January. Wellness is lifelong. There’s no start and end point. You can’t make up for years of abusing your body with a 3 day juice cleanse. So instead start looking after your body NOW. No matter what the date is. No matter what you did yesterday.
So no grand gestures. No unachievable New Years resolutions. Just start being kinder to your body, kinder to those around you and kinder to yourself. Do what makes you happy*, not skinny.
* Unless it’s drugs. In which case just don’t do them.