It is 10AM on January 1, 2019, and you have officially woken up in the New Year. You probably also went to sleep in the New Year, but this moment, this awakening, feels like the socially prescribed new beginning that it is. Technically, today is not all that different from yesterday except that we sigh a big sigh of relief that the holiday extravaganzas have come to a close, set aside until next year, and we can return to our lives. After all of the upheaval, albeit joyous, we feel a sudden urge to get back on track and remedy our indulgences. Thus, appears the stressful list of New Year Resolutions. The list that will somehow magically undo all of our holiday indulgences; this is the list that will make us the best version of ourselves in 2019, and the list that 70% of the time results in disappointment.
Why do we feel as though we must repent for our holiday fun? Why not celebrate the chaos as the symbolic ending and beginning of another year being here, happy and healthy as we rotate around the sun?
First of all, a list of New Year’s Resolutions may just be the worst thing to mix up in your New Year’s hangover. To come from a night of partying and staying up to watch the ball drop, and beyond, it is totally unrealistic to believe that the “new you” will be present on January 1st. The addition of New Year’s Resolutions leaves us feeling like failures when we would rather stay in bed binge watching Netflix than begin the latest extreme exercise fad on Instagram. Instead of enjoying the latest series we will find ourselves dealing with our first existential crisis of the New Year, because the juxtaposition between the previous night’s festivities and our list of resolutions leaves us feeling disappointed in ourselves before we even give ourselves a chance.
Instead of punishing ourselves for holiday cheer, we should give ourselves a moment to rest, recover and rebalance! If you have the day off, go through your favorite self-care routine. Put on a facemask, drink some kombucha, but definitely eat the leftover cakes from last night. Give your body what it needs before you give yourself a migraine thinking about what you should be doing! If you have self-improvement goals, frame them as such. Try to avoid judging yourself for what you are not and instead celebrate your strengths and think of ways to continue utilizing your strengths in the New Year!
Here is the thing, New Year’s Resolutions tend to focus on what society tells us to be, which is often unrealistic, and a detriment to our self-esteem as we enter the New Year. Additionally, resolutions often involve huge lifestyle changes that cannot be achieved at the drop of a hat, or in this case, the drop of a ball. We find ourselves spending a few days, a few weeks, a month, straining ourselves and our bodies to accomplish goals that take time and mindfulness to achieve. If the New Year is the time you decide to make changes in your life, start small! Incorporate healthy foods into your meals instead of totally cutting out your familiar foods. Go to sleep ten minutes earlier rather than entirely altering your R.E.M cycle.
Remember that life is a cycle of ebbs and flows, and one day is not going to change your life, and a few extra drinks is not going to ruin it. Allow space for the celebrations and indulgences in your life, so you do not wake up feeling guilty on January 1st and begin the year in self-disappointment. Try to begin the year doing what you love. Consider that perhaps the New Year is not the best time to enact change. Maybe begin the year as you would begin any other day. Maybe keep the celebration going! Whatever you choose to do, let’s make 2019 the year of self-acceptance and realistic expectations.