Well folks, it’s that time of the year again when our social media pages are spontaneously flooded with thousands of those horrendously annoying “New year, new me” bullshit memes.
Sorry for the incredibly blunt opening but you know me, straight to the point!
Now, I’m not normally one to moan about these little things but after years and years of witnessing these endless posts, I feel like my threshold for the inevitable ‘next year is going to be nothing like last year’ memes has really reached its limit!
It’s not the I disagree with setting yourself goals for the future, on the contrary, I myself do the same thing and I believe it to be of great importance to set yourself goals and to continually strive to achieve them. Ambition is what ensures progress in life.
But what does bug me is this: why do we wait an ENTIRE YEAR to start implementing these positive changes into our lives?! Why do we wait until 365 days have passed until we decide to give ourselves a kick up the arse and start doing these things we promised we would do last year and the year before that and the year before that?!
We have an entire lifetime to at least begin to work towards achieving these goals and instead we decide to wait until the very end of an entire year to get started on them, at which point most of us look back at the previous years list of goals and realize we accomplished very little.
Why do we do that?!
Do you want to know what I think? I think the problem isn’t that we are lazy or impatient or too preoccupied with day to day life to get cracking on our goals. I think the problem lies within the goals themselves.
You may disagree but if you browse through those endless memes and posts regarding people’s future plans for the year ahead, they’re all pretty much the same:
Transform into Victoria Secret Catwalk model
Find Love of Life
Make more money
Put said money towards buying house/car/’insert extravagant purchase that society has made you feel like you need to buy here’
These lists are only made worse when there are very specific time restrictions added to them. For example, lose ‘X’ amount of weight by July or save ‘X’ amount of money by October.
Why do we set ourselves these dreadful and unrealistic time limits in which to achieve these dreadful and unrealistic goals?
Okay, so you want to lose weight, that’s great. Why not set it as a goal?
But first, consider the reasoning behind it. Are you losing weight for yourself and your health or are you doing it because you feel pressured to do so by society? Are you planning on losing the weight slowly and surely in a healthy manner or have you put a time limit on it so that you have to starve yourself and spend hours upon hours in the gym just so that you can look good in a bikini when summer comes rolling around?!
You want to save money? That’s great too, we should all be putting a little aside for a rainy day as the saying goes. But what do you want to save money for? Is it for a deposit on a house that’s probably going to take you the next 10 years to save for in the current financial climate? Is it for a flashy new car because you think it will make people respect you more?
Can you see where I’m going with this? Its great to have goals and everything but the reasoning behind said goals is what is most important.
And another thing, making goals is one thing but sticking to them is another…
According to a study by U.S news, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.
What happened to good old fashioned hard work and perseverance? Well, precisely what I mentioned earlier. Placing ridiculous time limits on our goals does crazy things to our mentality. We live in a world were we are subconsciously programmed to want things now, today, yesterday so much so that we forget to think about the hard work that goes into gaining these things. When we take a look on any given social media site, we see an abundance of images portraying successful, goal-achieving individuals- they’ve got the smoking hot body, the wads of cash, the amazing wardrobe, the booming business, the apartment that looks like an IKEA showroom.- they’ve got it all. And we start thinking to ourselves, “I want that, that’s success and that’s happiness”.
But it isn’t. You’re only seeing half the picture, more to the point, you’re only seeing half the picture that they want you to see. What you don’t see is them going to the gym religiously every day to get the chiseled god-like body. You don’t see them having to sacrifice hours of social time with friends and family to stay back at work and earn that money to buy that house. You don’t see them food shopping at the Tesco’s reduced section so that they afford to buy themselves nice clothes instead.
Its all an illusion and so are these bloody new years’ resolutions!
I apologize for this awfully long rant but I just wanted to flash a bit of light on this subject. Life isn’t a competition and It isn’t just a list of goals, its so much more than that. It’s a slow process which sees us endlessly learning new things about ourselves and the world, it sees us changing, growing and transforming on a daily basis so why not create new years resolutions that are more in line with that?
This year my goals for 2018 are very different to the previous years and there are no time limits on any of them. Instead I plan to achieve them through hard work and learning for the foreseeable future.
If you’ve read this post and thought to yourself “Yes, I do that too and yes, I agree” then I would really encourage you to consider adding some of them to yours too!
- Be kinder to yourself and others. Whether that means doing something small like holding the door open for a stranger or doing something greater like donating your time or money to charity.
- Listen more, to yourself and others. In this crazy world where everything moves so quickly, I feel like we often forget to actually listen to ourselves and others. Listen to yourself and act upon your own needs, not the needs of society but equally, take a bit of time out to consider the thoughts and needs of others.
- Stop worrying about those silly little numbers on the scale- in the grand scheme of things they mean absolutely nothing. Instead, concentrate on feeding your body with the nutrients it needs, drinking more water and exercising regularly but always LISTEN to your body. If you feel too tired to go for a run, don’t. Wait until you have excess energy and then go, you’ll enjoy it much more and will be able to put more effort into it. On the same hand, looking after your body doesn’t mean depriving yourself of certain foods. If you want to eat chocolate, eat it, just don’t go too crazy and aim to achieve balance when it comes to what you feed your body.
- Instead of trying to change your self, change your self-perception and practice self-acceptance. Us women (and men!) love to look at others for inspiration and there’s nothing wrong with that if its done in a healthy manner. Its human nature, animal instinct to want to fit in and look and act like everyone else. But when we start to look to others for guidance and begin making radical changes to ourselves in a bid to be accepted by society, there’s something wrong. In doing so, we are merely separating ourselves from our real identity and real selves. Whether it’s on a small scale like looking at the way certain women dress and then styling ourselves accordingly, even if its uncomfortable. Or if its on a grander scale where we are literally getting our lips blown up to the size of small balloons because Kylie Jenner says it makes us more beautiful. Don’t do it! Like I said before, there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from others but never lose site of your individuality and identity. There is only one of you!
- Practice gratitude. Life has become so much of a competition to achieve happiness, abundance and wealth that in the race to own all of the above, we often forget to appreciate what we already have at this very moment. Remind yourself EVERY DAY to be thankful for the things you already have. Whether that means just appreciating out loud the fact that you have a roof over your head when so many other don’t, or whether its just waking up in the morning and writing a list of all the things we have in our lives that we are thankful for. Whatever it is you are grateful for, don’t forget to give thanks for it.
- Forgive others for their mistakes but most importantly, forgive yourself. You are not perfect, none of us are. We all make mistakes, we all screw up, we all learn from those mistakes and change and grow. That’s just life. Instead of berating yourself for mistakes you made in the past, be thankful that you made them because you learnt from them and its made you a better person. On the same hand, stop hating yourself for not being perfect, or for not being at the stage in life that you thought you would be by now. It will all come with hard work, time and self-acceptance.
- Set smaller more achievable goals instead of placing time limits on everything.
- Try learning a new hobby/craft that puts your imagination and creativity to good use. We are constantly taking in information, whether that’s through the internet, watching TV or listening to the radio. It’s a never-ending cycle of absorbing and processing. But less and less of us have a creative output for all of that information overload, which can lead to a rather cloudy and oppressed mind. Having a hobby like writing or art or dance can work wonders for your mind and body. Trust me on this one.
- Invest in your spiritual growth. At the risk of sounding like some yoga-living hippy here (although I most definitely am partial to a bit of yoga), spiritual growth is really at the core of what life is all about. And yet, the majority of us take no time out of our busy schedules to invest in it. Meditation is something that I firmly believe should be integrated into our day to day lives so that we can achieve balance and really get in touch with ourselves. Buy yourselves a few books or watch some videos on spirituality and start practicing it now, today!
- Give love. I’m not suggesting you go out on some mad shagging spree here, although if you’d like to and it makes you feel happy then be my guest.
Happy new year!