I’ve never really been one for new years resolutions; usually meeting the question of “what are your resolutions for this year?” With a shrug and at most a reply of ‘Dunno.. to have a good year..?” It has been pleasing to me that this year I have seen increasing numbers of posts across social media resisting making resolutions as well as the whole ‘new year, new you’ thing. Don’t even get me started on ‘yarn diets’; the phrase “use it or lose it” comes to mind.
I’m sure many of you will know that I’m a Slimming World member, and if you didn’t well you do now. So you’ll be unsurprised to hear that my social media has been full of ‘new year, new you’ messages over the past few days. You might be surprised to hear how much I hate that though. Given half a chance I will rave about Slimming World - and they’re obviously not the only ones putting out this sort of ‘new year’ message - it’s just that they are very relevant to my interests just now - but in my opinion the irony of it is that you really need to NOT want a new you in order to get into the right headspace to lose weight. You see, it doesn’t actually matter what size you are because although it can make you more confident and stuff, at the end of the day if you are unhappy within yourself, losing weight will not change that, however much it might seem like it will. There’s a great Slimming World Instagram account that I follow (@thefoodieslimmer) and he always says ‘losing weight to live, not living to lose weight’, and I think that’s something we could all do to remember. It’s fine to want to lose weight - just make sure you do it because you value yourself and your health, not because you’ve been pressured into it.
These messages are promoted across the board though - it’s not just SW. You see them in terms of fitness, health products, things like skincare products (ugh), and even worse - a lot of MLM products. They target our insecurities, using things that can really get us down as just another cheap tactic to get us to buy their products or services. I get the psychology behind it - a new year is a great way to draw a line under everything that happened last year, and have a fresh start. That is undeniable, isn’t it? But the problem with setting ourselves resolutions is that we’re then under a huge amount of pressure to stick them. It becomes a chore and can make us unhappy, even resentful. And before you know it the ‘new you’ that you have is deeply unhappy with life, struggling to cope with the constant pressure of trying to be a ‘better person’, whether it’s getting up at 5am to fit in the random life-organising stuff you feel you should be doing, or ticking off a daily task list that you put together because you felt you really ought to. None of this stuff is necessary. Some people choose to do it and it works for them but it does not work for everybody and you should not feel any less of a person because of that. Who are the people with the energy to do all that, anyway?? Hell, if I have spare energy I make damn sure I enjoy it, I wouldn’t waste it on 5am smoothie-making or whatever. And you have to bear in mind I do also write this as an avid pilates-doer. I’m probably technically the ideal target customer for the whole resolution and daily-planner-up-at-5am-meditating-drinking-green-stuff type nonsense.
Are you a decent human being? Yes? Ok, don’t waste your time chasing after a ‘new you’ because let me tell you, you are already everything you need to be.