Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution and stuck to it? Is the 1st January really the best time to make big lifestyle changes, or just an ideal marketing theme for companies to use to put pressure on customers?
For years we've been told that, after the indulgences of Christmas, we must now be perfect human beings and make amends for our gluttony. We must look better, we must eat better, we must buy whatever product it is that is being sold to achieve this.
Since Christmas Day we’ve been surrounded by adverts nagging us to do all these different things to improve our lives - but what how does it feel to see all this when you’re struggling to even get out of bed every day - the possibility of setting long-standing goals for the next 12 months feeling way beyond your reach?
This was exactly how I felt as 2018 began: I’d been diagnosed with Post-Natal depression and anxiety and I’d begun counselling sessions. This was helping me to feel better, but I was a long way from being 'okay' and, as such, hearing everyone around me setting targets, when I wasn’t even managing the basics, put an awful lot of pressure on me.
It was a constant reminder of the fact that I felt like I was failing, both at work and at home. It seemed to me that if I couldn’t lose weight or run 5k or build something crafty for my son, then I may as well go back to bed and not bother to get up the next day. The way I saw things, I was falling short of what everyone else was achieving, despite me trying my absolute best.
For example, my partner and I had joined a weight loss plan but I found myself not being able to cope with the additional burden of monitoring and judging everything I ate. On top of pushing myself to be ‘better’ at work and parenting, I was adding one more thing to-do list and – the worst part of it all – I was failing at all of them.
That’s why I loathe these articles and adverts about making resolutions – it’s just another way of encouraging us to see ourselves as ‘not good enough’, isn’t there already enough of that?
I can’t believe the amount of articles I read over the festive period about how to handle negative comments about your weight, like this one: https://bit.ly/2FweDs9 If a man or woman should make the decision to change an element of their lifestyle, it should be because they want to and not because they are being made to feel bad by others.
There’s so much pressure to look better and do more at this time of year, but sometimes the best thing we can to do make a fresh start is the complete opposite – we should consider doing less.
I wanted to write this blog because I know there will be others feeling like I was last year. I want you to know that, despite appearances, not everyone out there is doing better than you. These big plans they’re posting about will have been forgotten about by next month and you can bet your bottom dollar they won’t be ‘checking in’ at the sofa on the days they’re just too tired to go to the gym.
The best New Year’s Resolution you can make for yourself is to say ‘no’ to all these extra things, focus on the things that make you feel good. Take each day, each job, one step at a time and remember to give yourself a pat on the back for achieving each one.
There’s no point in overloading yourself when things are such a struggle, there’s no point pushing yourself too far because you risk drowning.
If you think you might like to be more healthy this year, focus on one little thing you can do each day – drink more water, eat more fruit, get out for a jog some point this week. And then, somewhere further down the line, maybe you can add the next step.
Remember, you’ll get there in the end – you’re amazing.