I like the way we say ‘Happy New Year!’ to people we know, and even sometimes to people we don’t too. It feels optimistic, caring, a bit old-school in terms of being part of a community, part of a shared culture. But I wonder if we actually look forward to a happy new year: whether we anticipate pleasure, fun, acceptance of ourselves and others?
New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on improving ourselves in some way: losing weight, getting fit, giving up smoking. All of these cab be worthwhile endeavours that leave us feeling better about ourselves… if we’re successful. And even then, if we slip up we can all too easily and quickly fall into the trap of feeling like failures, mentally beating ourselves up and despairingly going back to our old ways.
How about instead making a resolution to treat yourself with kindness and compassion? To treat yourself the way you would like to be treated by a partner or best friend? Perhaps dig a little deeper into what it motivating your desire for change. For example, are you just buying into our culture’s pressure to look a certain way or messages you received from your parents about your acceptability? I think what we really need to hear is that we are fine the way we are. Any changes we decide to make for ourselves will come all the easier from a place of accepting ourselves in all our imperfection and uniqueness.