The new year brings with it a host of clichés around transformation, change, reinvention, and new beginnings. Inherently there’s nothing wrong with the principle of reflecting on our circumstances and looking to bring about change, especially change that feels like growth. In fact, we actively encourage it.
But the rhetoric around ‘New Year New Me’ feeds off the insecurity that something being wrong with you and is in need of profound change. I don’t often come across people that I think that’s appropriate for; more often I come into contact both personally and professionally with people who could benefit from a nudge in a slightly different direction. That’s an ongoing process that doesn’t have to begin or end with the New Year.
You don’t need to wait for New Year to consider change and it doesn’t need to be a ‘new you’. Considering why you want to change is paramount in making meaningful and sustainable change to benefit you and those around you. Dramatic and often short-lived transformations aren’t sustainable by nature and often rob us of the confidence that change is possible. I’m sure we can all relate to stories that sound like:
‘Well, I try to diet every year, but it never lasts past February...
In understanding the ‘why’ behind change, you highlight your reasons for change and can start to consider the steps necessary for sustainable change to take place. It doesn’t happen all in one go… and even the consideration of change is an important step forward.
Long lasting change is more often routed in reflection, consideration, planning, and action as a continuous cycle. Motivation will naturally wax and wane, and is something to be accepted and accounted for - rather than being treated as something shameful or a failing.
You don’t need a new year to change and you certainly don’t need a new version of yourself for 2022.
This blog was written by Dr Bear, a clinical psychologist and Wellbeing Director for youHQ and Life on Time. He has worked in the NHS and private sector for 15 years in a variety of roles across the country.