7 New Year's Resolutions That Can Be Toxic AF, Because Remember You Are Enough As You Are
Post-Christmas, at the coldest time of the year, the calendar resets itself, and in many ways so do people. The idea of the New Year's resolution is absolutely great in theory. But sometimes the reality isn't so hot. And god knows that we are bombarded with advertising, images, and TV shows telling us that we need to change. That now is the time. That now is the only time you can make a change, and it must be enormous, and if you don't succeed then you are a failure. Now how much of that sounds actually positive? Yep, some New Year's Resolutions are actually toxic AF, so let's kick them to the curb.
Many of the narratives around New Year's resolutions are basically saying "you're not good enough" or "you're not trying hard enough." Eugh. That's not cool. Repeat after me: "I. Am. Enough." Also, even if you do want to make some lifestyle changes in 2019, that's ok so long as you're doing it with self-love and kindness. You also don't need to do it in January if you don't really fancy — any time of the year is good. Do it when you feel ready.
Secondly, don't put yourself under a load of arbitrary pressure to achieve x by y, because it can set you up for feeling like you've failed. And feeling like a failure is just about as anxiety-causing, depressing, and downright negative as it gets. Thirdly, make sure your goals are actually something that will make you happy and more fulfilled, and are not something foisted on you by society. This post by Matt Haig, author of the bestselling Notes on a Nervous Planet, seems to sum it up pretty well:
Now, let's look at some pretty major resolutions that are quite popular and think of a slightly more positive, and manageable path.
1. Dramatic Weight Loss
"I just really want to lose my holiday weight." So you ate your own weight in cheese. Me too. Maybe some of your garms are a tad snug. You are definitely not alone. But listen up — you don't actually need to do *anything*. You're fine as you are. See this illustration by @rubyetc_ posted on Jameela Jamil's @i_weigh Instagram account for some #facts.
Also I've got a New Year's Resolution for the world: can we stop with the fat-shaming please?
2. Intense New Fitness Plan
"I'm just going to work out five times a week, sprint up stairs instead of taking the lift at work, and do 400 squats a day." That sounds like a lot of pressure you're putting on yourself.
Exercise can be fun and a source of joy for many people. But do it on your terms. According to a 2017 poll of 1000 gym members reported by the Mirror, 11 percent said they hadn’t gone at all throughout 2016, and 21 percent said they visited their gym only three times in that year.
Wasting money and feeling like a failure? No thanks. If the gym isn't your thing, far better to find an activity that you actually enjoy and to grow it from there, on your own terms. Ignore the January pressure: it's all just a ploy to get your hard earned cash.
3. New Work Life
"This is going to be my year. I'm going to BE somebody." PSA: you already are somebody, and you're pretty awesome. Focus and hard work is very important, and something many of us strive for. But don't discount all the hard work you already do every damn day.
Sometimes, career progression is also about luck, timing, or being in the right place at the right time. Those are things you can't control. So don't be too hard on yourself. Find a career you like, give it your all, and let the rest take care of itself. If you're in an environment that isn't fairly rewarding you or recognising the work you're doing, the issue is your employer. Take your skills and talent elsewhere. The last thing you need is a load of unnecessary pressure to hit an arbitrary target you made up in the midst of the January mayhem.
4. Only Being Positive
"I'm only going to have positive thoughts." Rome was absolutely NOT built in a day, and neither is a healthy mind. You can't just flip a switch and everything be forgotten and fine, and it is incredibly hard on yourself to try and force that on your mind.
It is far more positive to think of activities, actions, and people that make you happy in every day. Focus on what you are grateful for in your life as opposed to what you need to change, then the changes will make themselves.
5. To Find 'The One'
"This year I'm going to date and find THE ONE." Sure, relationships can be a source of love, joy, and happiness. Perhaps you fancy being in one, in which case go dating and have fun. But do it with self love.
Loving yourself is the most important thing. Enough of the pressure and belief that you can only be happy and a full person if you are in a long term relationship.
You're enough without "the one." Not "finding someone" or being single for 2019 is no reflection on how brilliant you are.
6. To Stop Being Stressed
"This year I'm going to kiss goodbye to stress and be a vision of calmness and serenity." Hmmm, I don't know about you but forcing yourself to stop being stressed sounds, well, stressful.
Stress isn't a button that you can turn off, nor is the anxiety and depression that it often coexist with. Focus on the things that make you happy, eliminate the things that don't and you might just find you're feeling less stressed.
7. Watch Less TV
"This year I'm going to ditch the telly, and save the world with all my spare time." Ok so when did the TV get such a bad rep? Don't get me wrong, TV can eat up the hours in your day, and if you have an unhealthy relationship with your remote control, it might be worth reviewing. But you don't need to ditch something you really enjoy if it's a source of happiness to you.
Also, this one always seems to be low-key shaming to me, implying TV is in some way low brow and you should fill your time with other high brow pursuits. Live your best life people, whatever form that makes you happy.
Who says the New Year is the only time you can make changes in your life? Who says everything needs to happen right this minute? Who says resolutions have to be about less, rather than more? Make your New Year's Resolution this year "abolishing resolutions and just letting yourself be."