You can’t turn the TV on, visit a bookstore or read a magazine without seeing something with the slogan “New Year, New You.” (Or simply open your inbox. Just today I got an email from Amazon with this subject line.)
And like many things in our culture — ads for diet foods and weight loss companies — after a while, you might feel like you need to board the same train. You might feel like you need to adopt the same line of thinking and change yourself.
You might be thinking: Well, I’m far from perfect. If many people are making a resolution to lose weight, diet or try other similar goals, then maybe I should, too.
You might think like I did years ago: Well, I’m not thin, so I have to lose weight, too. I have to diet, too.
And that’s one reason I don’t like the “New Year, New You” sentiment. It misses the whole point of making goals that deeply matter to you. That respect and honor you. Goals that are a result of listening and tuning into ourselves.
Another reason? It suggests that we should modify ourselves. It suggests that we need a makeover, an overhaul. And, depending on the article, ad or site, this message is wrapped up in shaming and punitive rhetoric.
There’s something inherently wrong with you. Now change. Change yourself completely.
And this encompasses everything that frustrates me about traditional new year’s resolutions: making empty goals surrounding shoulds, such as I should lose weight. I should diet. I should work out more. I should join a gym; and using goals to punish yourself, such as I was sooo bad during the holidays. I need to cut out all dessert or buckle down and count every single calorie.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with having goals and wanting to create significant change in your life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to learn new things and grow and evolve.
However, today, I prefer taking a kinder, gentler approach, and focusing on self-acceptance. Unfortunately, there’s a prevailing belief that self-acceptance is somehow lazy. That it’s the opposite of growth and flourishing.
I love these words on self-acceptance from Mara’s newsletter, which arrived this morning. (Sign up here. It’s so insightful!):
Some people assume that self-acceptance is synonymous with stagnation. As in, once you’ve accepted yourself fully you stop moving, stop yearning, stop reaching for things on the periphery of your scope.
I’ve found that it is exactly the opposite.
The more I love myself, the deeper I search.
The more I accept myself, the better my ability to formulate my intentions, grounded deeply not only in who I have been up until this moment in time, but also who I want to be, from this moment on.
You should see yourself reflected in your intentions, carefully placing yourself amidst the collection of words, amplifying the vibration of your desire.
Today, I prefer making intentions, and thinking about my true desires. Today, I refuse to buy into the belief that I need an overhaul or major makeover, that I need to lose weight or go on some cleanse to improve my life.
Remember you don’t need to fix yourself. You don’t need to become someone you’re not.
If you’re setting resolutions for the new year, consider what a compassionate approach might look like. Consider if your goals are a reflection of what you truly want.
Consider if your goals inspire you and get you excited. Consider if they’re punitive or nourishing. Consider if they bring a smile to your face. Consider if they add value to your life.
What do you think about the “New Year, New You” hoopla? What resolutions are you making this year?