New year, same me

By Saanvi Thakur

January is frequently seen as the time to set goals, and I used to believe that it gave me an opportunity to start fresh and become a better version of myself. But after years of far fetched goals and attempting to implement habits I could never keep, I’ve now learned that Jan. 1 simply marks the beginning of a new year. 

It’s easy to get influenced by the Youtube videos titled “New Year, New You,” or “Reinventing and Resetting for 2021,” but the very idea of reinventing yourself for the new year is absurd. 

The unexpected events of 2020 serve as a reminder that phrases like “new year, new me” cannot determine the outcome of a year and it is important to adapt (Photos courtesy of Pexels, Getty Images and Halfpoint )

A great example of this absurdity is the start of 2020, where words like “unprecedented” and “unpredictable” could only begin to describe a year filled with events that redefined the meaning of insane. 

Going into 2020, I set goals for myself such as working out consistently, eating clean and being more productive. At first, these goals and habits I wanted to implement seemed like a list of normal resolutions, but with the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, eating healthier was the last thing on my mind. 

Being involved as an ally of the BLM movement opened my eyes to how hyper focused I was on my own life rather than taking time to help my community members in a time of need. I knew I had to take care of myself, especially during a pandemic, but when members of my community were hurting, it was equally important — if not more — to  support them, as well. 

Earlier into the year, I failed to understand that my goals had changed from superficial ones to simply surviving through a pandemic and supporting others. I fell into this cycle of self-judgment and criticism because I was unable to meet my simple goals. In fact, I naturally assumed that given the unlimited amount of time I had in shelter-in-place, I should have easily been able to reach my goals. 

  After a lot of self-judgment and criticism, I realized that this cycle of self-hate for not reaching goals was not justified by my lack of productivity. While I did not focus on this new version of myself that I wanted for 2021, I did educate myself more about systemic racism, signed petitions and raised money for bail funds. 

It was only after scrolling through Instagram and seeing multiple posts that emphasised how big of a deal it was to survive a pandemic paired with conversations with friends that I questioned my self-judgment. 

I had a wake-up call and was able to recognize that not meeting my goals did not define who I am or how the rest of the year was going to go.

The continued use of the term “new year, new me” itself is dangerous because it glorifies having a fixed mindset instead of accepting that not being consistent with goals or new habits is okay. 

Failing to follow through with resolutions or meet goals does not define a person’s capabilities or set a pretense for the rest of the year, and that needs to be emphasized more. It’s important to recognize that it’s okay for goals to change, or for that matter, not meeting certain goals at all if it means there are more important things at stake.