If you’ve entered a corner store or supermarket recently and made your way over to the magazines, you’d already be aware that 2015 is here and Ready For The Arrival Of The New You! A handful of choice resolutions slaved over through months of careful consideration, or a rushed few ideas you came up with drinking a glass of bubbly as the clock hit midnight are going to Reshape Your Life in the months ahead. Each New Year is the opening of a book filled with blank pages to write our new stories on, and each New Year we are reminded of the endless ways we could be improving our lives. It’s up to us to decide what to do with the days ahead. We could do a Bridget Jones and promise to lose weight, quit smoking, quit talking nonsense to strangers, and commit to finding a decent man (paraphrased somewhat). We could take up new hobbies, join the gym, and actually go and workout like we promised ourselves last year, finally nail those hair tutorials on YouTube, always make sure you have an outfit that is Instagram/Pinterest ready before you leave the house, and spend a year cooking something fresh from scratch every single day.
To be honest, a smaller job would suit. We are pulled between so many ways to improve ourselves, the choice is mind-boggling. Pointless detoxes (the body naturally removes toxins on its own otherwise we would die) are advertised, those last few pounds are targeted as the reason we are still miserable, and we are made to feel guilty for holiday excesses. Yes, we all ate too much, got too little sleep, and gave our livers more than their fair share of work to do. But chances are that somewhere in the midst of all that, you had fun which means you have nothing to feel guilty for so long as you didn’t commit a crime or spend too long drunkenly Facebook stalking your ex.
A year is 365 days long. That it takes 21 days to successfully form a new habit is a myth; in fact it’s much longer than that at anywhere between two and eight months. So realistically, how many of these New Years Resolutions can we be expected to keep? Keep it simple. Make this New Year about being kind to yourself—here’s three easy ways to do that:
1. Cut the slackers
Those ‘friends’ who don’t ever really come through, and who always seem to turn up on your doorstep offering you one more shot at having a great time together just when you’re about to give up on them. The ones who you spend more time running around after and who only want you in their lives when they find themselves missing the attention they get from keeping you on a piece of string. The ones who come along with a large side order of drama and expectations and who deep down you know are only putting up with you until something better comes along. The ones you have blowout arguments with because you don’t really see eye to eye or listen to each other properly, but hey, everyone loves a bit of drama. But these ‘friends’ are a waste of time and energy in the long term. We all live fast-paced lives so time spent on building and maintaining friendships is precious, especially when we rely on our friends as a support network. Real friendship is having a friend call you at 2am when you text that you are having a crisis, not just saying old clichés like, “Oh, but you know I’d die for you.” Getting the drama theme here, anyone?! It’s the little things that matter like a text on a bad day or a cute note with an unexpected morning coffee that really matter, not a promise to be Chuck Norris should you ever be trapped in a hypothetical room filled with ninjas and poisonous snakes. Life is hard enough without continuing to invest time in people who aren’t supportive. Take a deep breath and make the cut and stick to it. 2015 is for remembering that flakes are for croissants, not friends.
2. Cut yourself some slack
Unless you managed to singlehandedly destroy an entire company or launch a nuclear attack on a neighbouring country, or committed a serious crime, you’ve probably done ok over the last year. Well done. You are not the despicable slob of a human being desperately in need of a complete reboot before you topple over from heart failure caused by your wanton lifestyle of couch-potatoeing the magazines are making you out to be. Seriously, you’re doing just fine. The sofa has not in fact cemented itself to your buttocks. If you have 20 twenty pounds to lose, make an achievable plan that doesn’t involve starving your body. Pick up new habits if you want to, but don’t try for too many at once. Be reasonable in your expectations of yourself and reward yourself for doing well instead of punishing yourself for not doing enough. Start exercising by going for a run and then treat yourself to a luxurious hour-long bubble bath. Enrol in that drawing class you’ve been putting off because you’re shy about showing others your work, but don’t get down if you’re not Da Vinci standard in your first week. 2015 is for remembering that being a better person starts with treating yourself better and goes outwards from there.
3. Cut some slack into your everyday life
In this digital age, information is constantly streaming everywhere at speeds we can struggle to keep up with. If living in big cities like Hong Kong and London has taught me anything, it’s that we can’t keep up with everything. As someone who suffers from acute FOMO (fear of missing out), I can’t count the number of times my bed has become a foreign entity as I keep tanked up with caffeine to run from event to event before the inevitable crash occurs. All it takes is ten minutes of downtime every day for your brain to recharge. Ten minutes of unplugging from all electronics and sitting in silence with your eyes closed while breathing deeply. Afterwards you’ll be able to better decide how to spend your time, make it to the events you really want to go to, and have the confidence to really be present at those events rather than always being on social media scouting for the next place, or trying to convince people you’re having the Most Fun Party Ever when in reality you’re in the backroom of a pub in Clapham that smells like wee. 2015 is for learning that things aren’t instant—take some time out for yourself and you’ll soon see how to use your time better.
Here’s to 2015. May it be filled with learning and happiness for all of us. There’s no need for a Brand New You. Just polish the one you’ve already got and you’ll do just fine.
Title image source: forums.au.reachout.com