Editor’s Note: New year, same me

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With each passing year, I’ve always set impossible standards and “resolutions” for myself to meet in order to improve myself.

Inevitably, these resolutions have been too broad and grand so that I can never accomplish them for more than a month or a few weeks at a time.

I’ve typically seen this as a failure, and I give up entirely until the next year comes around and I try to commit to the idea of completely reinventing myself once again.

New year’s resolutions have the tendency to be hyperfocused on diet and weight and have less and less to do with realistic goals or points of improvement that are healthy and realistic and more to do with how Instagram-worthy they are for the first week of January.

Instead of romanticizing these generalized resolutions that end up making many (if not most) people feel bad about themselves, why not fixate on less trendy, but arguably more important objectives that you can personally strive towards without hurting yourself or feeling bad about in the process?

I used to feel the need to punish myself for enjoying food and indulging over the holidays.

Food isn’t the enemy and you should never have to work it off in order to deserve it.

That gym membership you bought under the pressure of gaining “holiday weight” likely won’t last unless you purchased it for the right reasons and not solely because of guilt.

I would always tell myself that starting in the new year I would get to the gym six days a week and wouldn’t touch another processed carb.

Shedding that toxic and unrealistic mentality, I’ve made my strategies more attainable and ultimately enjoyable.

I want to start doing more small things for my physical and mental health, and I don’t want to feel like I’m being punished to be an improved version of myself.

I’m ultimately the same person no matter what changes I implement, and that shouldn’t be a point of shame or failure.

Resolutions don’t need to be as fixated on appearance as they have the tendency to be.

They can be small, but important changes, like looking after your skin by wearing more sunscreen, getting a yearly pap smear, utilizing your right to vote, and treating yourself with more kindness than you did the year before.

These aren’t things that are typically shared on social media, but that shouldn’t be the marker of how valuable they are to put into practice.

And while it’s typical to lament over the pointlessness of new year’s resolutions, it’s something that’s taken me years to fully understand in order to alter the way I approach them.

2020 shouldn’t be about measuring up to the ideals set by others, it should be about treating yourself with more kindness, whatever that may look like for you.

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