Although I think that New Year’s Eve is overrated, I do genuinely love New Year’s Day. It’s a day I spend with my family, reflect on the previous year, and set my intentions for the year to come. Who doesn’t love a fresh and clean slate?
That being said, we are now a couple of weeks into the new year. And I don’t know about you, but I am definitely not feeling as ambitious and excited as I was on January 1st. However, it’s important to know that this cycle is natural. Each January, without fail, our social media feeds, advertisements and stores are flooded with messages and images that promote all the ways you can “live your best life NOW” and “get the perfect body in JUST THREE MONTHS”. These messages and the pressure they exert on us are exhausting. It can take all of the fun out of whatever new thing you may have decided to do or try.
If the New Year blues got you down and you feel like you’re wasting the year before it’s even really started, this is totally normal and valid. Here are a few things I want to remind you of so that we can all push through these New Year blues together.
1. Set intentions and manageable goals
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. I stopped a few years ago when I realized they weren’t serving me well. Instead, they affected my mental health. If you love resolutions and find them useful, that’s great! But if you, like me, find the word “resolution” stressful due to its rigidity, I would encourage you to switch to setting intentions and small, manageable goals.
Setting intentions is a really beautiful way to start off the new year. One of the intentions that I set this year was to “prioritize kindness”. It’s something I realized I needed to work on. It’s not concrete or tangible, really. But it is something I can write down and have it drive me forward into 2020.
2. You can start again
This is the most important thing to focus on: allow yourself to start again without shame or disappointment. So often, when we set goals and don’t achieve them immediately or in the way we think we will, it’s easy to just give up and wait until the next year to start over. But as shiny and new as January 1st may be, each day is new as well. Each day is a perfectly fine day to start over, try again, and keep going.
3. Don’t buy into diet culture
I believe I’ve blocked at least seven different diet ads or influencers on my social media in the past few days. The new year is like a feeding ground for these companies and brands who try to profit off of all of our insecurities and guilt about eating over the holidays.
I urge you to remember that you do not have to make every single change all at once. Take your time. If you want to go to the gym and eat healthy, do it because it’s what is right for you. I can promise you that those fast and “convenient” solutions that are being sold on Instagram or Facebook are not realistic. They will harm the way you feel about yourself when you inevitably stop using them. Diet culture loves insecurity. So instead, choose to be kind to yourself and your body.
4. Remember: You are only human
At the end of the day, January 1st is simply a turn of the clock. Please, remember: You are only human. There is no magic wand that will change everything when the clock strikes midnight. If you feel as if you’re comparing yourself to others who seem to have achieved so much last year or who are already crushing this new year, remember that you have time. You have time to make this year yours. But also, don’t be afraid to fail. Failure can be scary, but it can also be one of the greatest lessons and learning experiences.
The pressures of the new year can be overwhelming and make anyone feel small, especially in the scope of all that the year will bring. These new year blues can often feel insurmountable, but I urge you to not let them drown you for the rest of 2020. Instead, keep going and remind yourself, every day, that you are strong enough to take on all of the challenges thrown your way. In fact, write it down and set is as a 2020 intention, because we can start them whenever we want.