How dare you enjoy your holdiay… don’t you know it’s 2014?!?!
So everyone’s capitalised off all the Christmas season marketing and everyone is feeling a little bit broker than usual, but hopefully a little more joyful. You would think that after the ordeal leading up to Christmas we would finally be able to relax and enjoy the time with friends and family, but alas, the interwebz has other ideas!
In fact, how dare you enjoy your holiday… don’t you know it’s 2014!?!
Yes, I have seen one too many ads pop up on Facebook claiming that spray tans; boot camps; gym memberships; detoxes; clothing sales; makeup discounts and so on will magically turn you into the Disney Princess you have dreamed of since you were five. Capital ICK. Now where is that glass slipper? I think I need something to hurl into…
First of all, I get it. Look, I understand your business has to turn a profit, I get that you want more website hits, I get that Christmas is an easy theme to tailor content around (Hello to my last five posts…) but why do we have to focus on making people feel inadequate, and sell them this idea of a “New You” every year? This year I’m going to be focussing on just three things:
1. Creating lasting, sustainable change
New Years Resolutions are notorious for being thrown out the window come March (if you made it that far!). I’m not going to deny that just about every New Year I make a list of all sorts of things I’m going to do in the New Year- workout every day; lose X kgs; restyle my entire wardrobe; get my hair trimmed every six
weeks , make that months… The New Year seems like a great time to get all sorts of positive change underway, and don’t get me wrong, we absolutely should channel this energy into positive projects. If you’re feeling like making some positive changes in your life, and New Years is the inspiration you need, then GREAT! Seriously, GREAT. Do it. Go for it!
However, this year I’m at least going to be focussing on long lasting, sustainable change. Not losing X kgs, or maintaining a perfect sun kissed tan. I’m going to be focussing on the big picture of overall health. Why?
While breaking down BHAGs into many smaller goals is definitely a good idea for some, let’s face it- many of these big goals are not achievable within one year. Great, you want to lose 10kgs. Fantastic (as long as you’re focussing on health, rather than weight or ideal size please). But is it really realistic for you to never touch sugar again for the whole year? If not, then making this one of your New Years resolutions is only going to make you feel disappointed when that slice of amazing looking, dense, rich, moist, chocolate ombré cake crosses your lips at your best friend’s wedding. If you are spending more time focussing on how many hours of Zumba you need to do to work it off; rather than oohing and aaahhing at the incredible Ribbon and Rosette buttercream frosting, complimenting the bride and groom on their great taste, and focussing on the amazing party your tastebuds are having, then you are doing it wrong.
Working hard on your goals is great, but remember to balance this with actually living your life. If you get through 2014 and all you can think of is how hungry you were, picking at your lettuce at every coffee date; dinner and party you went to, then whether you kept your resolution or not, that sounds to me like a pretty shitty year.
-Avoid all or nothing goals
-If you’re going to make your goal measurable, make it achievable
-Pick goals that you can build on over the year, and years to come
2. Doing it for YOU
If you are going to make some changes, at least make sure you are doing it for YOU. This is particularly concerning when I hear so many people online talking about their parents, mothers in law, or partners telling them they need to lose weight, or otherwise look different. Everyone’s viewpoint is informed by their own experiences, and not all of these experiences are positive. So do what is right for you, because you want to do it. If you do it simply to please other people you will often find that:
a) you don’t do a very good job of it: ie. not keeping weight off, or losing it unhealthily, if losing weight is your goal
b) it won’t make you happy.
Of course, I’m not saying that other people’s opinions or encouragement can’t be helpful, but particularly in cases such as losing weight (probably the number 1 New Years Resolution for women), not everyone is an expert or knows what is healthy or right for your body. So take their “words of wisdom” with a grain of salt, and whatever projects you do choose to channel your energy into this year, make sure they are choices made for YOU with respect and love for your body and your peace of mind.
-Ask if your goal will make you happy
-Ask if your goal will make you healthy
-Ask if it is YOUR goal or someone else’s goal for you? (Particularly: are you trying fit someone else’s beauty ideals, or are you doing what is right for you and your body?)
3. You are ENOUGH
You are enough. You don’t need to be skinnier; prettier; better dressed; fluent in ten languages; or have multiple degrees to prove your worth to the world. You don’t need to prove your worth to anyone, and if someone seems to think you do, then they don’t deserve to have you in their lives. Know that you don’t need to be anyone other than yourself, you don’t need to create a “New You” for the the New Year, just to justify your existence to the media and populace at large who have ridiculously unrealistic standards for all people, and particularly women.
If you have any resolution for 2014, let it be to accept yourself exactly as you are, flaws and all. Accept that you are not super human, and you can not be at the gym; at work and at home at the same time; you are going to have lapses of judgement, willpower and energy; you are going to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t meet unrealistic expectations or if a few of your goals go unmet; you will be happier, healthier, and a greater gift to the world if you realise that you are enough and dedicate your year not to goals on a bit of paper, but to your own happiness and health.
This is what I will be doing this year… I suppose you could call it a “Resolution”, but I’m confident that my days of writing checklists and budgets to stick to are out the window!
Happy New Year, Bonne année and Hari tau hou everyone!