By: Tamie Mohammed, LMHC

New Year new me. It’s that time of year again, Christmas has passed, it’s a time for new year resolutions. The official season of New Year new me This is often a time of reflection, looking back at the year or years gone by and longing for change, for growth for something new, something different.

Social media timelines are filled with New Year new me status updates. Some wishing for the current year to be over to start fresh on January 1, others releasing a rather difficult 12 months hopeful for a brighter future on the horizon. And there are those who are celebrating a quite satisfying year looking forward to another 12 months of prosperity and success.

Every year around this time I scroll my timeline curious to see what the resolutions will be for my friends and loved ones. And each year I’m always hesitant to publicly say that this year I’m going to work out more. I’m going to start eating better. I’m going to read more. I’m going to <insert positive lifestyle change here.>

Why do we have to wait until the clock strikes 12 AM on January 1st?

My reason is simple. What if I don’t? What if two months into the new year I’m still justifying the reasons why I didn’t go to the gym today or yesterday or the day before? What if I’m still eating junk? Still procrastinating, still pushing my books further away, still gossiping, still <insert non-constructive behavior here?> The truth is, a lot of times resolutions lose their weight. They come and go and the intention is good, but a lot of times life gets in the way or we lack the self-discipline to stick to it and follow through. Then we’re stuck feeling guilty and overly critical of ourselves thinking, “why can’t I just get my shit together?” But why do we have to wait for a new year to begin working on becoming a better version of ourselves,? Not a different person, not a new person, but the same person growing and doing things that will have long term positive effects on our lives and overall well being.

Every single day is an opportunity to re-evaluate ourselves and make changes that align with what we’re doing and where we want to be. Here’s the concept. Instead of criticizing ourselves for not sticking to our new year resolutions, how about we reflect on and try to identify the factors that prevented us from sticking with it and following through. Sometimes we try to incorporate such drastic changes in our lives, going from one extreme to the other, not simply stepping out of our comfort zones, but more of a shock to the system. We’d all love the admiration and pride of making drastic changes to our lives and sticking to them.

A resolution is simply a strong-willed determination and intention, while evolution is the gradual process of accumulating change. And that’s the end goal, right? Change. What if we shifted our focus a bit more towards lifelong evolution as opposed to short-lived attempts to change things right away? What if, instead of resolution, we commit to evolution? What if we resolve to evolve at the start of each year? We can still set intentions for the year; we can aim to eat better, work out more, get a better job, improve our relationships, etc. But maybe the way to make sure we stick to it is to change our approach. We can all aim to commit to 365 days a year, checking in with ourselves to make sure we’re the best versions of ourselves. We can essentially use each day as a challenge, albeit a small one, to meet an achievable goal. We can take calculated measurable steps to incorporate positive changes in our daily lives. For example, at the end of each day, we could take a few moments to reflect on the day; what worked, what didn’t and what we could do better tomorrow. We can then write our goals down for tomorrow, reflecting at the end of that day, what worked, what didn’t and so on and so forth. This way we avoid the subconscious exercise and self-loathing when we find ourselves further away from our goals and instead find our actions closer aligned with those of the year prior. You know, that year that you said you didn’t want to repeat.

If we work towards constantly evolving, monitoring our progress, exploring potential barriers and persevering, we focus more on our efforts than proceed failure from the assumed mark. We’ve got to resolve to evolve. Set an intention. Make a firm decision to develop realistic goals with achievable objectives. Incorporate self-care into your goal setting. Be gentle with yourself. Focus on small changes that will improve the whole self. Use these small goals as a measure of success.

Remember, we’re all human. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to change everything at once. Take care of YOU. There’s no one else like you.

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