Every time a new year rolls around, there’s so much hype around NYE and the first day of the year. Then, most of us go back to work and reality but with the added pressure of feeling like we need to be the best versions of ourselves. The whole “New Year, New Me” ideal can be a bit much, given that a lot of us are probably keeping our heads down and just trying to get through the days and weeks while regaining our pace.
Here’s my hot take. Just because the calendar told us it’s a new year, doesn’t mean anything has really changed. Sure, it’s healthy to reflect on the past year and reevaluate your wants, needs, and values. But, you don’t need to change just because the year did. Now that we’re a few weeks into 2022, here are a couple of reminders that will hopefully help you avoid the self-improvement spiral and narrow in on what really feels important.
Get Your Facts Straight
The entire concept of new years resolutions focuses on all the things that are wrong in our lives. We often go straight to the fixing and skip the part where we reflect on the good stuff. The stuff we want to keep seeing, doing, and feeling.
Before you even think about any sort of change, do yourself a favor and spend some time thinking about what’s already great. What you want to keep exactly the same. What makes you happy is a fact – you can’t argue with it or convince yourself it needs changing, so it will put you in a good headspace. I’ve become obsessed with cooking over the past couple of years and it brings me a ton of joy, so I’m going to keep doing just as much of it as I was before.
Is There Anything You Actually Want to Change?
Often, we start the new year with someone else’s idea of what we should change instead of our own. Social media is littered with resolutions you “should” be making – get in shape, get your finances in order, find your dream job, eat healthier, get organized… the list goes on. Sometimes we start making changes and end up abandoning them because we didn’t really want to do it in the first place. Before you hop on any sort of new bandwagon, spend some time reflecting on if there’s even anything you genuinely want to change.
Use your list of great things as a starting point. While you’re making it, you might start thinking of other things that make you happy that you maybe haven’t prioritized – start there! Rather than trying to make massive changes that you might not even want, making small adjustments you know are going to bring you joy will probably be more helpful in the long run, not to mention easier.
Focus on What You Can Control
I’m 100% guilty of thinking about a million things I want to happen and then getting overwhelmed I can’t do it all at once. As much as we might want them, nobody has superpowers, and some things don’t happen overnight. If you know an adjustment in something big like your career or relationship status will make you happy but you’re not necessarily in a spot to make it happen yet, it can feel like you’re stuck in place. Focusing on what you can control instead can be super helpful!
I like to do small tasks around the house when everything else feels too big, or even just going for a walk to clear my head can make me feel better. We only have control over so much, so when the big picture feels out of reach, do the small stuff instead.
One Step at a Time
There are a million different cliché ways to say it – you have to walk before you can run, Rome wasn’t built in a day, slow and steady wins the race. Basically, they all mean you have to take small steps to get to something bigger. It’s definitely not new advice, but it is true! We’re only human, we simply can’t do it all.
Everyone has a different timeline and taking small steps every week, or even every month can be the best route to making small adjustments if you want them.
Moral of the story… Change can be good and healthy, but it’s also not always necessary. If you’re still the same you in 2022, embrace it. It’s more than okay. People can get obsessed with self-improvement when at the end of the day, we all just want to be happy. Start there and you’ll almost always be on the right track, whatever that looks like for you.