Melissa Wilson, LMHC
New Year, Same Me...Just Better
We are close to a new year - another rotation around the sun - which means we are all seeing and hearing ways we can change our current habits. New meal plans to change eating habits. New exercise routines to become more fit or stronger or skinnier. My gripe is not in any of these promotions - I think it is important for you to take care of your whole body (and mind!) by eating nourishing food that fuels you from the inside out, to move yourself in a way that feels good, to gather with family and friends who make you feel loved and supported. And if you need to follow these plans to take care of your whole self - then, yes - you do you! Go get it! However, I am seeing a lot of "New Year, New Me!" - what is this about? How are you new or how will you become new? Because you changed your body? Because you eat healthier? Because you surround yourself with loved ones?
Spoiler Alert: you are not new and you will not become new. Let's reframe our thinking - you are actually your same self, even with all of these changes you are looking to make or you have made as you embark on this new year; however, maybe you are just better or you are simply striving to do better. You are still you. You don't need to become a new person this year - you are allowed to be who you are. Human beings are constantly changing; however, there are times when you may feel stuck - you may have been moving through some emotions and you got stuck, finding it difficult to move through the emotion to get to the other side or maybe you feel stuck in a routine that does not serve your overall wellbeing, which may involve over/undereating, lack of exercise/movement, drinking too much alcohol or maybe you get caught up in the stories you tell yourself about yourself that simply are not true. However, recognizing the need for change and then making those changes does not mean you will become a new human...just a better one.
Despite the fact that I consider myself to be a kind, compassionate, loving human, I want to be a better person. I have new goals for this upcoming year that I want to achieve - personal and professional - that likely do not involve carving out a six-pack into my abdominals. I do exercise regularly. I do eat nourishing food that fuels my body. However, this better version of myself that I want to see comes from the inside because real change comes from within. Working on quieting my inner critic, writing out daily affirmations, setting personal and professional boundaries are part of that inner work - I am still myself, but just better. It eventually shows on the outside - because I look happier and calmer and more confident.
And...I do all of this for myself. Ask yourself why you are looking to make a change or better yourself - is it for you? I hope so. Love yourself so much and so hard that you want to do it for yourself. I hear you say that you are doing it for your children or a partner or family or for your job. Again, it really needs to be about you, not for others. Yes - you may be a better human for your children or partner or friends - but, ultimately, this should be for you.
And since you are loving on yourself so hard, you are also going to be kind by choosing one item at a time to focus on - avoid starting a new exercise routine, while changing eating habits, while writing out daily affirmations, while adding daily meditations to your schedule all on day one. That sounds like a lot of change and the only thing you will achieve in the new year is feeling overwhelmed by your list. Choose one item and stick with it until you have a solid routine under your belt. Avoid adding something else until you feel like the first item is well-established. One item at a time...one moment at a time...and remember to breathe through it all.
As you enter this new year, no need to change who you are - in reality, you are enough. No need to be someone you are not - just be you. That seems so much nicer and so much softer when I say "New Year. Same Me...Just Better."