New Year, new me: Are New Year's resolutions toxic?
January has rolled around again, many of us will be vowing to better ourselves yet again and make the same New Year's resolutions as last year: must get fitter, drink more water, save more money.
Are New Year's resolutions really necessary? Or do they breed a toxic environment of self-improvement and comparison?
Every single month of the year includes the number one so why does the change in year automatically signal a complete overhaul in lifestyle? If you want to make improvements in your life then any day is worthy. Maybe, we see January as the month of change due to its ability to be capitalised on and marketed as ‘JanYOUary’ so automatically we feel the need to alter aspects of ourselves as it’s clearly the month to focus on yourself.
Do New Year’s resolutions breed a level of toxicity, or are they a healthy and important way of introducing positive changes in your life?
The issue with resolutions is the motivation behind them. Most resolutions begin as a feeling of things we ought to be doing rather than what we want to do. They're extrinsic goals that are deemed worthwhile by culture and society as opposed to being motivated by your own personal goals. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make changes. However, importantly, you need to ask yourself whether your motivation behind the change is truly from yourself or somewhere else.
Resolutions can also be unrealistic and if your goals are not achieved instantly it can be disheartening.
Many of us begin the year with the best intentions and become underwhelmed when the results are not immediate. We tend to believe that our new ways of life will have speedy results and, often, this is not the case. It's okay to give yourself time to grow and improve but it's not okay to expect instant effects. Therefore, this culture of toxicity breeds as we pool our attention and efforts into an unattainable state of being that cannot be upheld.
Change can begin at any point in your life, any day of the week, any month, any date. January does not have to be the start of a complete switch in your life, nor does it need to incite a sense of duty or obligation that you must change if you’re happy with yourself. If you’re determined and motivated to implement positive change in your life then that can happen at any time. All you need is yourself and your own resolution to succeed.
If 2020 is the year of change for you then, by all means, go for it. However, always remember that change takes time, it's not an overnight quick-fix and ask yourself whether your resolutions are motivated by obligation or if they are genuine changes you wish to make.