New Year, New Me, and New Anxieties

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Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

Every January the dawning of a new year becomes synonymous with the idea to reinvent yourself and dramatically distance the person you were in the previous year from the person you wish to become in the upcoming year. There is social pressure to conjure up resolutions and crazy aspirations that force you to become ‘the best you‘ that you can be, but should we really succumb to the ‘new year, new me‘ pressure or just continue to grow and change as you will, without bookmarking it on the 1st of January?

The notion of reinvention suggests that there is something inherently wrong with us that we must put to right and therefore along with this comes the unnecessary pressure to live up to the ‘new me.’ It feels as though January becomes the month of self-deprecation and self-hatred rather than improvement, especially when we set unrealistic goals that we know we’ll never achieve; the one day we take off from going to gym can mean nothing other than we have failed ourselves and therefore failed the year.

Being the month of self-inflicted hatred and deprecation isn’t helped by the discourse that surrounds the Christmas holidays and the new year period where everyone is egged on to eat and drink too much because, after all, it is Christmas. When this becomes our state of mind for two weeks then we have to accept and expect that in January we’ll feel sluggish, heavy, and quite regretful. However, if we change our consumer habits over the month of December, come January we won’t feel the same intense and oppressive hatred for having over indulged and perhaps we’ll have a better start to the new year.

Regardless of how you spend your December, we all feel some sort of push to set resolutions and January will always mean a fresh start. Whilst that can be good, January is one month and there are a whole host of other dates to set resolutions. As people we are constantly changing and adapting to the life we live, often with these changes going unnoticed, therefore making the experiences we are confronted with in life a trigger for goals, aspirations and ambitions.

January isn’t the only time in an entire year that we have to make changes; birthdays, starting new jobs, and new school years are more appealing times for new beginnings and to make resolutions. In doing this we can successfully reject the pressure society inflicts January with and enjoy it as just another month, after all thats exactly what it is. Birthdays are the more appealing way to bookmark the changes in your life and set goals for the years to come as the resolutions for your 15th year will drastically differ from those in your 50th year.

But why reinvent? Even if you don’t explicit set resolutions or shout from the rooftops that this year is the dawn of a new you, everyone is constantly changing. We are always reinventing the person we are or the person we want to be without caring about the day of the year, a much healthier prospect than pinning all your hope on January. When you don’t care about the chronology of resolutions and you set them as and when they occur, you open yourself up to the freedom of making mistakes and not damning yourself when you slip up or don’t stick to them completely.

In an era when more people are aware of the importance of mental health, putting all your ‘new year, new me‘ eggs in one basket can only be detrimental when you don’t stick to it. Allowing yourself the time to assess when, if at all, you want to make changes and what they ought to be means you are relieving yourself of the anxiety that comes with the pressure of making January the only time to change. Hopefully this will make for a mentally healthier year, whenever you start your year, as well as a happier outlook on resolutions, goals, and aspirations.

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