You know these New Year, New You! marketing campaigns that are catapulting into your inbox and showing up in your Facebook feed and in the magazines you read and everywhere you seem to be and they just won’t leave you alone?
I feel cross when I see them.
And kind of sad.
I’m not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions. For lots of reasons, but mainly through figuring out for myself throughout the years of setting them that they just don’t work. I spend a lot of time working with people, as well as studying and researching human behaviour change and how our minds work, and what I’ve learnt is that forced change tends to have pretty low success rates. (Again, I know this personally because I’ve tried to force change myself: I’m looking at you, deciding to go vegan and starting a daily meditation practice practically overnight).
I don’t believe that it is possible to change everything overnight.
I don’t believe that a simple date change automatically, and-if-by-magic, gives us the discipline, understanding of ourselves and balls to change.
I don’t believe that a New Year is a blank slate, or a new chapter or a fresh page, and that everything that has happened before in our lives; all our habits and stories and the things we believe about ourselves and the world, somehow disappear into thin air come January 1st.
What I am a big believer in is starting where we are with who we are. Not by forcing ourselves to change, but by being honest with ourselves about why we want to change, and if we do, why we find change so hard in the first place. Because just below the surface of the New Year, New You! who suddenly decided to never ever ever eat chocolate ever again and to start working out 5 times a week and be less stressed and spend more time with the family this year, is the same you from midnight, December 31st 2015 (you’re probably just less drunk right now and not waving a sparkler in someone’s face).
The you who has been putting up with things in life and making them ok when they are most definitely not ok, and who finds sweet, sweet solace in stuffing yourself silly with food, to make the not ok things feel ok again.
The you who believes things about yourself that are not true. Things like, “I’ll only be happy when my life is in order and everything is perfect”, “I’m too fat and that’s why he doesn’t love me”, “I’m too lazy”, “I don’t have the time.”
The you who thinks things like, “I’m damaged”, “They wouldn’t be able to cope if I said no”, “Nothing good ever happens to me”, “I don’t have the balls to change”.
The you who, if you were just a little more easy on yourself, and took things just a little more slowly, could make some really brilliant leaps in life.
And so, here’s 10 questions to consider, from me to you – that start exactly where you are, with who you are – for the year ahead. 10 questions that don’t involve signing up for a gym membership you’ll never use again come February or, worse, having to do a juice cleanse.
1. What would you like to do more of this year?
2. To do more of these things, what is it that you need to believe about yourself so that they actually happen?
3. What would you like to do less of this year?
4. What are you deep-down capable of that you don’t think you’re capable of?
5. What one thing have you not yet done in life, that you really want to do? What has been holding you back?
6. What makes you, you?
7. To really understand you, what do others need to know?
8. If you were to go a little easier on yourself this year, how would you do this?
9. When do you most feel like you?
10. What is it that you’ve been putting off starting? And can you commit to starting, even just for just one minute a day?