Today is a new year, but more importantly, it’s a new day. The sun is shining. I have a nice new fuzzy red blanket that looks a lot like Santa’s cape covering my lap, and I’m sipping coffee from a mug that says “Meow” that my daughter made me. Never mind that she wrote “Crazy Cat Lady Club” on the bottom.
So much emphasis is put on a new year. My email was bombarded with “New Year, New You” messages about everything from teeth whitening services to something called lipotropic weight loss shots, to microdermabrasion - which I actually considered for a second before I realized there is nothing wrong with my skin, and I really don’t even know what that is – along with constant messages from a boot camp telling me my backside will get three sizes bigger if I don’t show up for its trial session this Saturday. It’s so overwhelming that it makes me want to break my get-out-of-bed-before-nine resolution and crawl back under the covers.
I can’t say in the past that I would have signed up for all of the above, but I would have differently felt guilty for NOT signing up. I have tried every approach to resolutions from making them, to not making them, to changing the time of year I made them. Yes, I made 4th of July resolutions for several years. You can read about them here. And here.
Nothing worked. I tried narrowing my focus, for example, to work out every day, instead of the vague “get into shape.” I tried making my resolutions more realistic; for example, work out three days a week versus every day. That helped, but it never stuck. Go to the gym in February, if you don’t believe me. You’re more than likely to see the same people who were there in Dec., with the January influx having already tapered off.
This New Year, however, things are different. I am different. I no longer expect that when the ball drops, I’m magically going to become this new person who loves working out at 6 a.m., never leaves trash in her car, and can’t wait to get home from working all day to cook a healthy yet delicious meal and then help her kids with their science fair projects. But, I am the kind of person now who if I can do one of those things in a day, heck, in a week, I will be satisfied.
And, I think that is key. Accepting oneself and one’s shortcomings, but being open and willing to improving, not by some magic that comes from turning of the calendar and toasting of the new year, but by hard work that requires constant effort day by day. I think self-improvement comes from waking up each day and saying, “What can I do to help other people? How can I be kind to others?” and, most of the time, that includes being kind to myself.
Wishing you and yours the very best every day of the new year.