As we enter another New Year, the rumblings of resolutions have started once again. According to this article, approximately 189 million adult Americans (74.02%) of the population reported setting some form of goal for last year. It could be to learn something new, make a lifestyle change, or essentially become a new person in the new year. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against goal setting. In fact, I would be lying if I said that I’ve never set new year resolutions. However, the older I get, the more unsettled I’ve become with the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ mentality. After a few days of reflection and discussion with some trusted friends, I believe I’ve found the reason why.
I want you to think of new year goals as seeds, ready to be planted. Right before you, there are two options. You can either choose to scatter your seeds on a field of (i) stones or (ii) fertile soil. It’s pretty safe to assume that you’re going to pick the fertile soil, right? Because it has the perfect conditions conducive for the long-term growth of the seed. But it took me a long time to realise that I and so many others have been unconsciously planting on a field of stone, wondering why our goals aren’t manifesting. Allow me to give you an example.
My personal experience
At the start of 2012, I swore to myself that I was going to be a different person. I distinctly remember writing down in a notebook that I wanted to increase my fitness and reduce my weight. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really care about my fitness, all I wanted to do was drastically change the way I looked. This was a difficult part of my life where I didn’t like who I was. In fact, that’s putting it mildly. I deeply despised myself, and so that when I embraced the ‘New Year, New Me’ mentality, it was purely out of self-hatred.
I convinced myself that when I reached my goal weight, that everything would magically be okay, that I would finally be happy. People would like me and, more importantly, I would finally like myself. Oh, how wrong I was. Eventually, after a couple of months of unhealthy dieting and exercise, I did lose the weight, but that hate was still there. I still criticised every single piece of my body. What was wrong with me? I had achieved the goals that I had worked so hard for, so why had nothing changed?
The honest truth is that choosing to change myself from a place of hate was the equivalent of planting a seed in the field of stone. No matter the effort, the return won’t ever be fulfilling.
It took me quite a while to climb out of that dark hole but reflecting on it now, I’m glad I went through that experience. Because of it, I’m here today, in this moment, writing this article. So, when you go about setting new year resolutions this year, I want you to ask yourself one question, am I doing this out of love or hate for myself?
Goals that arise out of self-love aren’t drastic, pressurizing, or set on an unrealistic timeline. They’re more likely to be SMART ( Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). So instead of saying, ‘I NEED to lose 10kg before the month is over’, try ‘I’m going to have a better relationship with my body this year, starting with including fruits and vegetables in my diet as well as including walks into my routine’. It makes a world of difference, trust me.
I am by no means perfect. In fact, whilst writing this article, I’ve realised that there are a few of my goals that need to be re-evaluated. The fertile path of self-love isn’t always clear, and it most definitely is quite difficult. However, I truly believe that if we set upon this journey in 2022, it will be well worth the struggle.