New Year, No Need for a New Me

New Year, New Me is such a great slogan, isn’t it? The notion of a new (aka – better) version of yourself and using the start of a new year as the spark is certainly tempting. Or is it? Why do we get a million articles and ads pushing us to be something completely new in a new year? Couldn’t we just do that anytime we pleased? And, why do we feel the need to be something new? I’m by no means, perfect, but then I don’t want to be. What’s the fun in that?

A long time ago I wrote an essay about parenting my daughters using the phrase “It’s a practice, not a perfect.” It’s something I heard a Peloton yoga instructor, Kristen McGee, say and it really resonates with me. It’s a great thing to bear in mind as we move into 2023. Lives are a constant practice, not a perfect. We’re all doing our best to get it right, but no one gets it right 100% of the time and that’s more than okay.

Resolutions can be a wonderful thing. I have a couple myself, including one to write more consistently this year. I purposely chose that wording instead of “write every day” because writing every day may not be realistic and I don’t want to set myself up to feel like a failure. Writing consistently is goal setting. Writing every single day is trying to be something I’m not. I’m a parent, and a human being, and sometimes life gets in the way. That’s reality.

We can choose our outlooks for the new year. We can choose to be incredibly hard on ourselves, trying to achieve some kind of personal perfection, feeling that “if only I do xyz, then everything will fall into place,” or we can choose to be gentle with ourselves. We can set goals and intentions that honor our desire to be the best version of ourselves, not the perfect version. There is no perfect version. What we can do is work our hardest and try our best.

Setting achievable goals is one way to silence that inner self-critic. You know the one I mean. That little voice telling you that if you don’t work out every day, don’t drink enough water, make the perfect nutritious meal, etc. that you’re somehow failing. Our internal monologue matters. I’m not talking about manifesting or creating an inflated sense of self. It’s reminding ourselves that “it’s a practice, not a perfect.”

I struggle with this. I’d love to be someone who has it all together. I’m not. I’m the one that’s fully dressed in an outfit I feel confident in, but with wet hair or no makeup. Or, as a parent, I may be the one who’s squealing into the drop-off line with one minute to spare. And, that’s good too.

We can work on accepting our okayness together, if you want. If you want a confidence boost, I’ll give you one. Maybe you can return the favor sometimes. We all need our hype men and women sometimes!

Now go forth, work hard, give it your all, and be gentle with yourself!!