A New Year – The True You

Relax. It’s just a new year. Not a whole new you.

I love a New Year. It is by far my favourite time on the calendar. I was always the one that awaited the January stationary shop like it was some sort of annual pilgrimage. I would line up a row of fresh exercise books and admire the unmarked pages. I would choose my ball point pens with great care and skill, depending on the type of handwriting I wanted to develop that year. I would consider exactly how I wanted the story of that year to read and then set to work writing the chapters, if I made a spelling mistake the whole page would be removed and I would start over, for the fear of blemishing my beautiful page with smudges and strike outs was great. I would choose a new hobby to master because if I was going to do something I wanted to do it well. I would commit to extracurricular activities like I had all the time in the world. I would set myself goals that from the outside would seem un-achievable. I would throw myself into the year with the greatest force and pace I could muster, just in case I got left behind. I would promise myself that this year ‘would be the best yet’ because last year could be beat. And of-course if it wasn’t, if I failed to meet my own expectations for the year, the inevitable self-persecution ensued.

Over time I started to realise a pattern. Nearly always my reality fell short of my expectations. Nearly always, I felt more tired by April than I thought possible. Nearly always I found myself saying ‘next year will be different’. Nearly always, it wasn’t.

Until one year I was able to see all the signs that I had previously chosen to ignore. Fatigue, mood swings, irritability, insomnia, hormonal imbalance and a good case of questioning my purpose in life. I recognised, that in the past, my intentions at the outset of each year were almost always unsustainable. They were grand and they were inspirational but they sure as hell weren’t sustainable. I was constantly adding more to the story without taking anything away. The story started to become one great big over-commitment and I was perpetually disappointed in myself. I had been stuck in the cycle of trying to re-invent myself every January. Trying to see who else I could be, what else I could do, how else I could look? And then every December would roll around and I had absolutely no idea who I was. Upon realising this I felt absolutely relieved. Like I had taken off a heavy cloak of expectation and allowed myself to just be. Instead of adding to my story, I started taking away. I started saying no. I started committing to less. I started to simplify. I started to slow down. I started moving towards balance; with how I moved my body, what I ate, when I slept and who I spent time with. I started worrying less about what other people thought and concerned myself with how I felt. I started doing the opposite to what I always had. And it was so damn liberating!

We are human beings and we are all pre-programmed to survive. Thus our desire for change supersedes our desire for things to stay the same. We are always looking for ways to evolve, it’s only natural to want to grow and progress. But I encourage you to question yourself as you set your resolutions this year; in making change are you moving towards your true self or away from it?

So yes, it’s a ‘New Year’. A few special weeks where you can breathe in the warm summer air, contemplate your vision for what is ahead and begin formulating intentions of how you would like the next 12 months to unfold. But please, please, don’t be fooled into thinking you need to be a ‘whole new you’. When we are constantly seeking out ways to redefine ourselves or make ourselves better in the eyes of others, we undoubtedly lose touch with who we are meant to be. The world needs you, as you are, not as the product of someone else’s vision.

By creating sustainable intentions we are still changing, still growing, still moving towards a state of good health, but with one significant difference. The aim of the intention is to become more ourselves, the self that experiences more joy and the self that feels greater peace. So as you create you story, your goals, your visions boards and your lists let your intentions this year unfold from a place that is fostering balance. Perhaps then the story you are writing is not for this year, or even for next, it’s for a lifetime!

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