New Year, Same Me

We’ve all heard it, and many of us have said it. New year, new me.

Whether it’s committing to a strict diet, weight loss plan, or busting out that day planner you received as a gift three Christmases ago, we often use the start of a fresh year as an opportunity to resolve to make major life changes.

Honestly, new year’s resolutions make sense. The transition from one year to the next is a blank slate, a chance to erase the previous year’s perceived shortcomings and start over. A fresh start is well and good, but studies show that 80 percent of new year’s resolutions fail by February.

This year, I decided to forgo the resolutions. New year, same me.

No, I’m not just going to sit around and eat chocolate all year and twiddle my thumbs. Well, maybe part of the year. But for me at least, committing to continuously improving myself and living my best life is a process, not something that can be contained in a single word like “diet”, or a resolution that will likely fail.

I believe that there’s value in appreciating all we have accomplished already, and applauding the person we have worked to become. “New year, new me” implies there’s something wrong with the person we are.

For me, the greatest strides in becoming closer to a self-actualized version of myself have been steady, gentle developments that took place because I wanted them to and I worked for them.

When my daughter was born four years ago, I was working in a job where the treatment from my work supervisor bordered on emotional abuse.  I felt like I couldn’t quit my job at the time because I was pregnant, and dependent on the good health benefits I received. But while on maternity leave with my daughter, I took advantage of the several months off to start a blog and begin writing for fun like I’d always dreamed about. Quitting my job came about six months later when I landed the perfect position for me. My higher salary enabled my family to move into something I thought we’d never have: a brand new house in a neighborhood with good schools for my kids.

Realizing my worth, and knowing I could make the changes in my life I longed for at any time was intoxicating. My confidence grew, and so did the respect I gained from others. I took up yoga classes, not because I need to be skinny, but because I love how much more relaxed a regular yoga practice makes me feel and how much stronger I’ve become. I made the time to get back in to Polynesian dancing, which I hadn’t done for many years.

None of the changes were fleeting. They were slow, natural progressions of living a more authentic life.

I believe the word “authentic” is the key to us making lasting changes in our lives where it’s desired and possible. Do the changes help us get closer to the version of ourselves we are driven to be? Or are the changes better suited to someone else’s life and dreams?

Maybe sometimes living our authentic life doesn’t require change at all. Perhaps we simply need to focus on maintaining a happy, fulfilling life and loving ourselves.

Does being true to ourselves and having self love need to be new year’s resolutions? I don’t believe so.

New year’s resolutions often fail, but we don’t have to fall short in our commitment to living a satisfying life.

New year, same wonderful us.

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