And just like that, another month has come and gone.
The beginning of a new year, or even a new month is when we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves by setting goals that are unrealistic – those pesky New Year’s Resolutions come back to bite us again. How many of your are rolling your eyes right now?
Yes, I know it’s important to set ourselves goals, but it’s just as equally important to make them realistic for ourselves; and ourselves only – not based on what other people are doing or what we think other people will say about the goals we set.
You want to lose some weight? Great! But is setting a goal of working out every day after a day's work really realistic to you? For some, it might be, but if it’s not for you, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Yes, you should aim high, but remember to be reasonable. By setting unrealistic goals we’re increasing our chance of feeling disappointed; and when we’re too hard on ourselves, we start feeling defeated and may eventually give up all together.
Maybe doing a 30-minute workout just once a week is what is doable for you. Well if that’s one more exercise session than you were doing before, isn’t that good? Of course it is! A step in the right direction, is still a step, regardless of how big. After all, if you want to climb Mount Everest, you don’t start your training by trying to climb the mountain that’s the next down in size.
Here’s my personal example: I’ve been trying really hard to cut out dairy from my diet recently, but it’s proving to be quite difficult because, well, cheese. Cheese and ice cream, man. But you know what, I’m doing what I can, little by little.
You just do you.
It’s important to focus on what you expect of yourself, not what you think others would expect of you.
When I say ‘I am trying to cut out dairy’, I don’t need to be reminded that there’s dairy in the slice of cake I’m about to have.
Save your judgement, Linda. Yes I know there is dairy in the cake, but what you don’t know is that I’ve already stopped drinking milk, I’ve stopped buying cheese and I’ve switched to dairy-free ice cream; which might not seem like much, but for me personally it’s been a huge change to my lifestyle. Yet somehow I still feel like I need to justify – to others and myself – why it’s okay for me to eat the damn cake.
Why? Is the world going to end if I take a bite? (Well who knows after 2020 anymore!) Does it mean I’m a failure? If I have cake today does it mean I’m going to eat cake tomorrow? No. So I’m going to eat my cake and enjoy it, because why should I torture myself?
Why does wanting to better myself, or develop myself have to be some big rigorous task that feels like torture? It really doesn’t need to be. The process of achieving our goals should feel exciting!
New month, new me?
At the beginning of a new month, we can also become obsessed with the ‘new year, new me’ mentality. But really, what was wrong with the old me? Why do we feel we need to change for the new season? We come with all these big 'new me' resolutions but then a lot of the time we don’t stick to them.
Perhaps we’re trying to become who we think we’re supposed to be, rather than who we really want to be, or who we truly are.
What makes you think you’re not already exactly who you need to be in this exact moment of time?
If you really want to make a change, then make a change. But don’t do it just because it’s the new year and you feel you should. Otherwise you’ll just be setting yourself up to fail. If you really want to make a change, you’ll just do it, regardless of the date.
As my Mother always says ‘why put off for tomorrow what can be done today?’
Why does it feel easier if we to wait for a new month, a new week or even a new day to start something though? It's like that fridge magnet that says 'my diet starts tomorrow’.
Hey, I’m guilty of it too! I had waited for the start of the new year to make a drastic change to the length of my hair. But quite frankly, what difference has my hair made to the end of last year or the beginning of the new one? I knew I wanted to get my hair cut, so why didn’t I just cut it when I knew I wanted to?
Why do we feel like we have to wait to deserve something before we can enjoy it?
When I was younger, I’d always tell myself, ‘okay, eat the things in your plate that you don’t quite like first, and save the best for last’. But then by the time I’d get to my favourite bit, I’d be too full to enjoy the thing I was most looking forward to!
The key is to mix it all together. The saying is “work hard, play hard” not “work hard and then play hard”. We already deserve to feel happy. We already deserve to enjoy ourselves. Happiness doesn’t have to be a reward.
If you want to do something, if you want to make a change, just do it.
Seize the Daydream!