Not so fast. This year, I challenge you to try something different. Instead of reinventing yourself, try re-envisioning yourself.
Why? “Reinventing” implies that you are flawed, that those wobbly bits of yourself that the outside world says you should be hiding in some deep, dark corner (a basement, or perhaps a dungeon) are faults of which you should be ashamed. You should be turning yourself inside out (as Maddie so helpfully demonstrates above), “fixing” those bits, then stuffing them away as quickly as possible.
I say fie to that!
Close your eyes for a moment, dear reader. Yes, you. Think back to the last time you made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, get a new job, find a significant other, etc. How did you feel? Maybe excited to try something new? Maybe jaded, if you’ve had the same resolution for five years’ running? And if you feel like you’ve “failed” in the past, maybe you have a sense of dread?
This year, keep it simple, mahfriend. Instead of reinventing yourself, try five ways to re-envision yourself in the new year. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish when you look at yourself from a new perspective.
(1) Think about your strengths, not your weaknesses.
It’s amazing how often we think about what we’re not good at.
“I can’t even figure out the tip on this check without a calculator. I’m terrible at number stuff.”
“Every time I try to talk to someone, I end up saying something stupid. I’ll never meet anyone.”
“Gol ding it, I burned the tomatoes again. I’ll never be able to cook a decent meal.”
Ouch. We’re can be pretty hard on ourselves. Berating ourselves because of things we’re not good at leads to stress and lowered self-esteem. You know what’s worthy of praise? You. Let’s turn those phases around.
“I organized this wedding shower last-minute, and we all had a great time! Good thing Annie has one of those snazzy calculator watches so she can calculate the tip.”
“She scowled at me after I complimented her hair. How rude. I’m going to talk to that girl who’s smiling at my sweet, sweet dance moves.”
I’m not good at juggling pickles while riding a unicycle uphill, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Knitting and running, however — got that down pat.
(2) Enjoy the foods you like without guilt.
I cry a little inside when I hear about using 30-day juice cleanses and gluten-free diets to lose weight. Subjecting yourself to a temporary restrictive diet to lose a few pounds and gaining it all back when you resume “normal” eating is like driving 120 mph on the interstate so that you’ll get to your destination a few minutes sooner. Stressful, possibly dangerous, and you’ll end up taking more time in the long run as you fill out the paperwork on your speeding ticket. Instead, enjoy your favorite cookie. Don’t worry – it won’t be the last one ever.
Want to work on your health, whether that’s lose weight or eat more vegetables or just feel better? Chat with a registered dietitian. They’re pretty awesome.
(3) Allow yourself to be unhappy.
Aren’t we supposed to be happy all the time? That’s the dream, right? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
Boy, that’s a lot of pressure. Being unhappy is okay. No one needs to be happy all the time. Allowing yourself to be unhappy frees you from fearing unhappiness, loneliness, anger, etc. It’s all temporary, anyway.
(4) Your hobbies are enriching, not worthless.
“Oh, I just dabble now and then. I know I should be working instead.”
I fall into this trap now and then. Whenever I work on something, I usually give it 100%, which means hobbies fall by the wayside.
Our hobbies are just as much a part of us as the project we need to complete for work or school. The key here is that very little in life needs to be perfect. That project doesn’t need to be, and my knitting sure isn’t. Doing what we enjoy can help us get through stressful times.
For example, this little guy holds all the stress of exam week in his crooked smile. Thanks, Mr. Snowman.
(5) You determine your own awesome.
You know that Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent?” So true. The world is an uncertain place with many aspects you can’t control. You know what you can control? What YOU think and do.
So be awesome. Because you are.
My best wishes for a THIH New Year.