'New Year New Me' Culture
New Years Eve. A night filled with hope, excitement, and possibilities for the year to come. Everyone makes new year's resolutions and are extremely optimistic that they can achieve them. We celebrate a year been and toast to the one to come. It's a night of new beginnings.
Around this time on social media, there's a large focus on the idea of 'New Year New Me,' with people aiming to restart their lives in 2023. It's the start of' 30-day challenges' and companies are pushing harder with weight loss and dieting ads. Everyone shares their goals and hopes of what they can achieve in the coming year.
While this can be great and motivational for some people, it can also be really toxic. It becomes a breeding ground for unrealistic goals (usually around extreme weight loss and fitness). This is places a massive pressure and expectation on everyone to have a big new year's resolution and get lots done with their lives in an unrealistic time span, making us feel bad when we get to February and have done nothing! You see the memes about 'January is my free trial, 2023 actually starts in February' or 'Me at the end of January already giving up on this year'. It is especially overwhelming for people with mental health issues and problems surrounding food and body image. #newyearnewme has over 2.3M posts, majority focused on diet culture, exercise, and memes about 2023 already being a bad year.
Studies done by University of Alaska Anchorage show that only 46% of people claim that their new year's resolution was successful. People will quickly give up and then wait until the new year to start again. You can set goals all through the year, you don't have to wait until 2024 to make changes in your life!
In the last year especially, there's been more a shift towards a 'New Year Same Me' in body positive and body neutral communities. This focuses on abandoning the idea of new year's resolutions, along with our bodies' bouncing back' after the festive season. It's all outdated and as a society we're already moving past it! It's ok to have small goals at the start of a new year or not even have goals or expectations at all. It's also ok if your only goal is to get through the year alive.
But before you find yourself swept up in the world of resolutions and the 'new you,' take a step back and ask yourself these questions:
Why am I doing this?
Are my goals achievable?
Do they benefit me long term?
When you've established what you actually want from your goals, the best way to make it achievable is to plan.
Make sure your goal isn't too big and can be easily divided into steps or other parts that make it easier to tackle. Remember that you can always adjust your goal over time to make it more achievable. Ensure that you also have people around you who can support you. If your goal is to eat cleaner, consider going to see a nutritionist. If your goal is to go out at least once a month, have a friend or accountability buddy who can encourage you.
And this is the same when you're talking to your kids:
Be ok with small goals, because these usually lead to bigger achievements in the future.
You don't need to push us so hard to be better, society is already pressuring us to do that. It's ok to take a step back and just cheer us on. Your support and a gentle push is sometimes all we need.
No progress is still progress! It's ok to have a month where not much happens. As long as we are still moving forward, we're well on the way to achieving our goal.
Setbacks happen. Give us (and yourself!) room to make mistakes and mess up. We're all human! Mistakes are part of the journey and help make us stronger and more resilient. If something happens, don't let us give up. Sometimes all that is needed is to just take a step back, re-evaluate, and make adjustments if needed. The road to success is never a straight one.
Positive role modelling. Not all goals have to necessarily be about body or weight. Make sure you are demonstrating healthy goal setting behaviours. Kids are just a mirror of their parents, and if you make all your goals about your appearances, they're going to do the same thing. If you're also not committing fully to your goals, how do you expect your kids to?