“New Year, New You.”
This message is being pushed on us from all around this time of year. So many of us hear this and are left feeling guilty for our “sloth-like” and “gluttonous” behavior over the past season. Suddenly those celebratory glasses of champagne enjoyed with friends, cookies baked and joyfully eaten with family, and mornings spent sleeping in and resting rather than hitting the gym are criminal. All of a sudden, our lifestyle choices just aren’t good enough – we’re too lazy, too fat, and in dire need of fixing.
So we write long lists of 20+ new habits we’re going to instantly adopt as soon as January 1st rolls around to shed ourselves of our old, deplorable identities. People who haven’t used their gym membership since last January are vowing to hit the gym six times a week, complete a monthly juice fast, become a super yogi, and finally achieve the body they’ve always wanted – thigh gap and all, of course.
I’m all for working out, eating well, and trying to live a healthy life. However, I also strongly believe that one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is to practice self-love and self-acceptance. You don’t need to try to become a new person this year, because who you already are is good enough.
That being said, I’m not averse to setting goals. Participate in the January Whole30 if you want, or sign up for your first marathon, but don’t do it because you think you need to do these things in order to be a person of value. The diet industry and media are constantly trying to sell firm abs and toned triceps as true happiness – that without those things we’re just not enough. It’s just not true.
My goal for this year is be happy with myself right now. We are all enough as is, and we need to stop trying to be someone else. Let’s focus on what makes us special and wonderful right now. Let’s empower each other to practice self-love all year long. Let’s lovingly create goals and intentions that honor our bodies and spirits.
Rather than trying to be a “new you” this year, I urge you to respect where you are at this exact moment and all that you’ve gone through this past season of your life, embrace how it’s shaped you, and live a life that is shaped by love and joy, rather than self-hate.
You don’t need to be a “New You” in 2017. Just be you.