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New year new me

New year, new me? …

By Niamh Roberts

 

The phrase ‘New Year New Me’ echoes through workplaces, gyms and colleges, adopted by those who envision the upcoming year to be one of progression, potential and possibility. But why does this transformative attitude rejuvenate and come to fruition once January 1st arrives every year?

 

This mindset generally follows a list of resolutions one wishes to maintain to ‘better’ themselves and transgress a version of themselves that's to be left behind in the previous year. These resolutions all share similar motives: better health, better social life and a form of success within a revenue of work. Resolutions may seem harmless, they could even be seen as aspirational, however they are often unattainable and carry a harmful culture of comparison and overconsumption…

 

After the festive season (a period of indulgence, surplus and overstimulation) it's not surprising people crave a more habitual, idealistic routine; the concept of eating clean, waking up early and going to the gym feels energising and a remedy for seasonal blues, the new year becomes a time of reflection… however resolutions eventually diminish and instead start to feed our insecurities, demotivating us as the month progresses. 

 

People’s insecurities and vulnerabilities don't go unnoticed by larger institutions either, the new year is a feeding ground for the capitalist regime that relies on people to continue the cycle of self-doubt to make money. shops release brand-new workout ranges, promote the newest food craze for the new year and release the latest skincare and beauty products knowingly anticipating high revenues, companies target you when you are vulnerable and create the perfect facade that they are offering the solution. This ideology of self-improvement through consumption is completely contradictory and provokes people’s failure further as they look for success through materialism rather than internal change.

 

The motion of New Year New Me further fuels people’s winter blues, unsurprisingly January holds the ‘saddest day of the year’, recorded as the third Monday of January this of course is not coincidental by the middle of January many people inevitably start to lose motivation, and lose track of the new habits they've hoped to develop, ironically making January not a month of progress and change but rather a time of self-doubt and incompetence.

 

Perhaps the only resolution we should carry with us into this year is to stop setting unattainable goals and instead build up a better relationship with ourselves through strengthening our relationships and well-being one day at a time. Only then will change become a visual entity and not just an empty promise/goal.