While the start of a new year can infuse us with fresh inspiration to make lifestyle changes, it can also be a time of anxiety for many, especially if we’re the type to set sweeping, sometimes vague, goals for ourselves. While I’m not averse to making resolutions (any time of year, in fact), I’ve learned the hard way that we can’t turn into new people when the ball drops, and I learned even later in life that that’s actually a good thing.
Too often, resolutions run the risk of overshadowing all that we have to celebrate about ourselves, and we may be unwittingly sending ourselves the message that we’re not enough—not until we accomplish x, y, and z. Furthermore, with the wellness trend becoming evermore far-reaching, it can be easy to feel like we should resolve to do more yoga, mask every Sunday, meditate morning and night, make sure we have a nibble of kale every day—which can be a lot to assign yourself all at once! So in addition to some resolutions being potentially emotionally unsupportive, they can also be quite the logistical challenge.
Of course, there’s no right or wrong way to pursue change in your life, and ambitious resolutions may just be the thing that work for you. I encourage all of us, however, to give ourselves some major credit for the following three reasons.
You Grew Last Year—and You Probably Know Yourself Better.
Regardless of how your 2018 passed, chances are that your experiences helped you get to know yourself better. Perhaps it was something light and joyful like a starting a new hobby. (My new favorite bedtime reading includes reading about the history of cosmetics, for example). Or perhaps you discovered some challenges facets of yourself or situation. With a toddler, I’m on a daily journey of weaving together motherhood, my own personal interests, and maintaining the remaining threads of my career. Bit by bit, I’m building patience, girt, and acceptance while trying and sticking to new ways to cope with my anxiety about all of the things I can’t control. I think 2019 will be a continuation of learning about myself—from the little everyday delights to the larger, more long-term pursuits. Take a moment to think about all the ways you grew during the past year.
You May Have New Questions.
As a routine-oriented and sometimes change-averse person, I often find the bigger questions in life so unsettling: What will I be doing in five years? Am I investing my time where I should be? How I should be? Fortunately, I’ve gotten better at noticing my anxiety around these unwieldy uncertainties, and I remind myself that it’s okay to live in the questions. We don’t know to answers to a lot of important questions, but uncertainty isn’t inherently an antithesis to feeling fulfilled, safe, abundant, or joyful. The process of uncovering new questions for yourself over the course of a year can be a wonderful thing—even if the answers are still far off. What questions do you have for yourself?
You Are In Progress. You Have Made Progress.
One of my favorite beauty writers, Sali Hughes, recently posted something so spot on. In expressing her frustration with self-help books (you know the ones that promise to help you renovate your entire life in five chapters), she writes, “the problem with self-help books lies not so much in all their unproven hokum, but in their overarching view of life as a problem to be fixed, a chronic condition to reverse.” When it seems like every guru is promoting the notion of starting fresh, Hughes’s wise reminder is a breath of fresh air. Targeted self-improvement (like working on reducing screen time or committing to trying new experiences) can be a wonderful thing and evolving your entire person is, too—but we don’t need to start from scratch. We’ve come a long way, mistakes and flaws included. Take a moment to think about all of the goodness you’ll be building on this year. Cheers to who we already are!
How are you feeling at the start of this new year? How will you be celebrating yourself?
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