New year, same me

We read about it on Facebook, in magazines, and in the group chats we have with our friends. Of course, I am talking about New Year’s resolutions. “New year, new me” is a phrase that has been used for as long as most of us can probably remember and revolves around the promises we make to ourselves at the beginning of each new year. This will be the year we will be promoted, graduate, fulfill our dream, or maybe get that apartment we have been longing for. Or it will be the year when we start exercising several days a week, eat healthy and party less.

But as always, I wake up the day after New Year’s eve with a headache and can barely get out of bed. A few swipes later on the phone, I order food from Foodora and manage to eat a lot more than I need. I start tomorrow instead. I feel excited to begin to check off my promises and resolutions one by one, but at the same time, there is something inside me that feels wrong. I feel stress and pressure.

The phrase “New year, new me” actually only indicates one thing – that we should get better. But the problem with this phrase is that we indirectly tell ourselves that we are not good enough as we are. New Year’s resolutions will only be another stress factor. Instead of appreciating life, we start pulling strings that might gradually make us feel worse. It all begins with a promise that ends with something we need to do to feel good about ourselves. 

But when should we learn that we don’t have to change ourselves to be happy with who we are? For as long as I remember, I have always aimed to be the perfect person who always does every single thing right. I will exercise regularly, do yoga in the morning and drink green smoothies every day. My hair should always be perfectly styled and my skin should have that glow everyone talks about.

I will get a good job after graduation, and my dream apartment should preferably be mine before I turn 26. I won’t cry that much or get angry that often. I will be the perfect friend, girlfriend and daughter. No wonder there’s something that feels wrong inside of me when I wake up on January 1st with a headache. I have already put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect girl this coming year.

It’s a good thing that we want to improve our lives and dare to change the things we’re not happy with. But to promise ourselves at midnight on New Year’s Eve that we will become a new person is not the best thing we can do. We can all enhance but still maintain who we are. We need to remember that we are good enough and our qualities and habits are appreciated.

Soon enough I stand there again and look up at the sky while being met by fireworks that create different shades of color in harmony among the stars. But the difference this year compared to last year is that I don’t strive to become a new version of myself. I don’t have to be thinner, prettier, or kinder for someone to like me. If there is one thing I take with me from 2021, it is that I should stop being afraid of what others will think about me. The focus in my life should be to feel good. Because if I feel good about myself, everything else falls into place automatically. It takes time to learn to like myself and at times I struggle with it. But none of us will be happier trying to become someone who we aren’t. No one is perfect and what we see on Instagram is not the reality we should seek for.

Can we together have a New Year’s resolution for 2022 that we don’t have to become a two-point zero version of ourselves? This will be the year we embrace who we are and don’t pursue validation from anyone else. We shouldn’t push ourselves to the point where we can no longer handle it. And finally, we have to learn that we are just as good as we are. No one should ever make us believe otherwise – least of all ourselves.

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one…

New year, same me!

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