Year after year we hear right the same slogan right around this time: “New Year, New You.” It’s catchy. It has the marketing marvel of simplicity and succinctness, as well as the introduction of hope to help you stick to your resolutions.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, states that weight loss almost always tops the list for those vowing to change their ways in January. Getting organized, debt reduction, and saving money are close behind.
I think this slogan is dead wrong, and the tradition is a setup. This might be big news, but you are the same you on January 1that you were on December 31, and every other day of the year. And that, my friends, is a good thing!
I think this mantra is a huge contributing factor to research reported in Forbes magazine — conducted by the University of Scranton — suggesting that just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals.
Have you ever said “I’ll start on Monday,” after a weekend of over indulging with sweets and treats pushing sand against the tide of your continuing weight loss desire?
Or how about, “I am never drinking again,” after a few too many and a hangover that could take out an alligator?
Ever wonder why those resolutions haven’t stuck?
Buying into the New Year, New You slogan can be disastrous. It suggests that there is something wrong with the old you. The psychologists who conducted the aforementioned study believe one of the reasons so many people fail is that “their resolution is significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with their internal view of themselves.”
The researchers also add that there is an unrealistic expectation that once people achieve a goal, the rest of their lives will change for the better. When that doesn’t happen, many people revert to the same old habits — and then some.
I see this over and over in my practice, and I think such resolutions might even do harm.
The truth is, in order to change, grow, learn, create love, evolve, and produce, we desperately need our old selves. We need the bumps, the bruises, and the broken hearts of our history to learn and cultivate the wisdom needed to make any changes moving forward.
Our old selves (or our current selves) house the rich, extraordinary experiences we draw upon to become better people — including, such things as losing weight, spending more time with our families, joining a gym, getting organized, reducing stress, drinking less, quitting smoking, decreasing debt, volunteering, or any other “resolution” declared each and every year by millions of people.
Change is not a quick process, and it requires that you don’t just toss out your old self. On the contrary, lasting transformation starts with gathering up all your experiences taking a look at them from a different angle. The way to really change and get closer to reaching the desires of your heart is by shifting your viewpoint.
So, instead of “New Year, New You,” try “New Year, New View!”
All the information and direction you need is inside of you, I promise. The key is being able to access it. Take a moment — vow to take many moments — to excavate the old you and your experiences and make real contact with yourself daily.
And by all means, get curious before being critical. The past is your lesson, the present is your gift, and the future is your motivation.
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