Hands up who is fed up with this "New Year, New You" malarkey???
Yep, me too. There I was, in the blissful bit between Christmas & New Year, my hostest duties were over and I was part way through binge watching The Americans (totally recommend BTW), when I glanced at social media and saw it. A brazen advert for Yoga under the banner "New Year, New You". Turns out that was only the start, as the days have unfolded I've been hit with diet aids, exercise regimes and all manner of adverts aimed at creating a new me and it's made me livid!
Why I hear you ask....
<NOTE: I'm just going to have a tiny rant but I promise I will offer some practical advice in a mo so hang on in there, Thx>
Well I'm livid because the underlying message is the old you, the 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 etc you, wasn't good enough. It's saying the entire of you isn't good enough and, that if you do some <insert some random exercise activity or a fad diet here> you will be good enough and that, please excuse the language but I think it's needed here, is bullshit.
I get super angry because when people start to turn that message into the belief that they aren't good enough then this shapes their negative thoughts, feelings, behaviours, boundaries, and relationships and leaves a trail of destruction throughout their lives.
As a previous owner of self worth with more holes in it than Swiss cheese (check out my other blog on this) I am more than aware of how our negative brains can respond to the "New Year, New You" message. I'm going to demonstrate this by sharing a little about my break, sharing is caring after all...so here goes...
The week before Christmas I had myself a little fun vacation to the States, that place well known for it's not so small portions, and I came back feeling a little like this....
Then when I got home I was straight into Christmas and sampling the Mother-in-laws Mince Slices (different to pies people, don't get me started) and the Sister-in-laws Key Lime Pie, so by the end of that I was feeling a little more like this...
My jeans were tight, I was still jet lagged and I was tired from hosting and my negative brain seized this opportunity to started whispering this in my ear.......
Now fortunately, as a recovered over thinker, I know when I'm "SHOULD"-ing all over myself and I know how to close this dude down before he gets out of control. So I watched more of The Americans (did I mention how good it is?!), had an epic nights sleep and then in the morning I asked myself the question which always sets me back on the right track:
What do I need now?
Now if you have read my previous blogs on saying No you will notice I bang on a lot about needs. Us humans have loads of needs and I believe if we regularly review our needs and take regular small actions then we have more control over our life and wellbeing.
So as I went through the list I acknowledged my emotional needs and connection needs had been met big time over the holiday period as I'd had a fab time with friends and family. However I had to also acknowledge that my physical needs had gotten a little neglected. I also recognised my finances weren't great, but I expected this, and my growth needs had been neglected for a while.
I then asked myself: What do I need to prioritise now?
Did I need to prioritise everything? Did I need to create that new me? No of course not. I needed to prioritise some work in my physical health, finances and growth.
Finally I asked: What action do I need to take?
Do I need to do dry January, go on an extreme fad diet, exercise loads. Nope!
I decided I did need to cut back on deserts for Jan and eat lots of healthy meat, fish and veggies. I would up my exercise to twice a week and I would have a few dry weeks. I booked in some training for my growth needs and did a January budget for my financial needs. I also planned in some mini breaks for later in the winter and some catch up dates with friends in Jan to maintain my emotional needs.
How did I feel after doing this? Blumin fab because I didn't berate myself, I didn't feel guilty or ashamed, I acknowledged where I was and what I needed going forward and I felt super positive because I had a plan.
So now it's your turn, what do you need now?
What's going on for you in each of these areas? How did the Christmas period effect each of these areas?
What do YOU need to prioritise now?
What do you need to focus on? If your Christmas was challenging and your mental and emotional health have suffered as a result then it's okay to prioritise these. If you have been oversocialised and need less connection more hibernation then that's what you gotta focus on. Remember we are all different so what is a priority for me will be different to you and that's okay too.
So what action do YOU need to take?
So your housemate is going vegan and your boss has signed up to that Spinning gym thing that screams out techno music so loud you would be too scared for your eardrums. Ignore them. What actions do you need to take? Do you need to hibernate? Do you need to fix yourself up with additional support like counselling or a support group? Do you need to reach out to some friends? Do you need to eat a little healthier for a while? Do you need to value yourself and practice some self-care? As you plan please remember January can be a crappy month, with it's grim short days and it's pesky grey sky's mustering motivation can be tricky, so whatever you decide to do make it small and realistic.
So the moral of the New Year story is...
The New Year isn't about creating a new you and if you buy into that message you're putting your self worth at risk. The New Year is a natural point of reflection, like a birthday or mid life, where we can review our needs and make the necessary adjustments. If you want to live a healthier life then pay more attention to your needs on a regular basis and you will have more control over your wellbeing.
If you are London based follow me on social media where I am going to be sharing some of my top recommendations of small, but effective ways, to take action in this awesome city.
As ever if you need 1 - 1 help then contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading and see you next month!