A new year doesn’t need a new you

Why new year’s resolutions are toxic, and the only thing new we need for 2020 is a new attitude.

Every new year tends to start the same; we drink ourselves into a stupor on New Year’s Eve, and then we wake up on New Year’s Day with contempt for our choices, prompting us to make new year’s resolutions. They always seem to be the same: lose weight, quit drinking and/or smoking, exercise more, join a gym, remove toxic people from our lives, go vegan etc. It’s not that doing any of these things is terrible, but the problem is that we are buying into a narrative that’s saying, the us we were on New Year’s Eve, simply won’t cut it for the next 365 days.

We become almost obsessed with everything in our lives that doesn’t resemble what we pour over on Instagram or in magazines. We become obsessed with everything needing to be shiny, new and worthy of people’s approval. We’re all guilty of it, even if it’s not solely our fault; we all know the media doesn’t exactly encourage us to be ourselves or to be happy with what we have. Every other advert has a subliminal message that says, none of us is good enough and is not going to succeed in the years to come unless we buy what they’re selling. We buy into the same rhetoric, even though we know that it doesn’t work because if it did, we wouldn’t need to do it again this year. If it’s possible, there is even more pressure in the air because not only is it a new year but a new decade. The number of things we should be ashamed of is more amped than ever because of the fact it’s 2020.

This vicious cycle that society is insistent on us being trapped in is nothing short of dangerous and, in a time where we claim to advocate self-love, it’s surprising that people even still engage in making them. It creates impossible expectations that we only deem worth the hassle because everyone else around us is suffering as well. If 2020, a year that has so many hopes and aspirations resting on its shoulders calls for anything, it’s not a new you, it’s a new attitude. Improve yourself by all means: change your career, remove toxic people from your life, try new things, lose weight if you want to and get rid of some bad habits, but much like the way couples fall over each other on 14 February, it doesn’t have to be confined to one day.

If we need to fix anything about ourselves in 2020, it’s the way we think we need to change to meet society’s expectations. New year’s resolutions set us up to fail. It’s not easy to make changes in life at the best of times, let alone when you feel as if the whole world is watching you and judging your progress – or lack of. The only way we can change this toxic culture is by doing our best not to engage in it.

It’s 2020, the biggest advocate for climate change is a child, Philadelphia has their first black female Police Commissioner, surely we can find it in ourselves to tune out the “new year, new you” noise and find a way to be happy with who we are. Once we realise that any changes we want to make are not going to materialise at the stroke of midnight, the happier we’ll be to pave the way for change to happen organically. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel guilty for not jumping on the bandwagon, skip over the unattainable, ignore the unrealistic and put whatever energy you have left into championing the person you are, there as you stand. Not every new year needs a new you; there is nothing wrong with the person that you are.

Originally published on VoiceMagUK.

Author: Sincerely, Saskia

I have a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism and an MA in Publishing. I'm a freelance contributor for VoiceMagUK, living in London, who writes about all aspects of our society from my own standpoint.

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