New Year, New Me: The True Harm of This Trend
Studies have shown that around 80% of people fail at their New Year’s resolutions. Often this can be from lack of motivation, change in circumstance, or even setting your goals too high. When we want to be a ‘New Me’ in the New Year, we set ourselves up to fail. We shouldn’t – and can’t – change everything about ourselves to feel like we fit in. And if we try, it can cause irreversible damage to our mental health and self-esteem. Instead, we should be setting goals which are much more achievable and based on bettering the current version of ourselves.
So what can you do to ensure you don’t damage your mental health in the New Year, but still give yourself the ability to change your behaviour and circumstances? Please keep reading for our top tips on what you can do to ditch the New Year, New Me trend and opt for something much more healthy.
The Harm of Trying to Change Completely
When we try to change ourselves, it causes us to think negatively on how we look, think, feel and behave. While there may be nothing wrong with our actions, and it’s just a self-confidence issue, enough negative thoughts can impact the way we think on ourselves for a long time. A shocking 85% of people suffer from low self-esteem, leading to further mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and potentially even suicidal thoughts.
By continually finding something about ourselves we don’t like and want to change, we become trapped in a vicious cycle. Our mindset and opinion of ourselves can change so much that no matter what extremes we take to transform ourselves into the person we think we need to be, we will always see ourselves as not achieving this dream. We need to let go of this harmful belief that we must change, and instead look at ways we can alter and adapt our behaviour, mental health and happiness so that we are more accepting of our true selves.
Embrace Your True Self
People try and change themselves with a ‘New Year, New Me’ resolution because they can’t – or refuse – to embrace their true selves. There could be an aspect of their appearance, personality, sexuality, or behaviour that they think others find off-putting or wrong. And because they continuously tell themselves this part of them needs to change, they don’t see the harm in completely transforming a huge part of their identity.
Instead, we need to recognise that every individual is unique, and not everybody will love or appreciate the things about us. By accepting this reality, it can be much easier for us to understand that we need to embrace the things we are taught to hate. This could be dressing the way you want to dress, not holding back when it comes to expressing yourself and not letting others opinions affect the way you view yourself. You might not be able to take this journey alone, as anxiety and depression can cause us to slip into the negative thinking which fuels self-hatred. Therapy can be a great way to combat this, allowing you to fight the symptoms of the mental health issues which make you want to hide your true self.
Alter Your Environment
Sometimes, it can be the environment we are in affecting our mental health and making us take up harsh and unachievable New Year’s resolutions. Because we feel unappreciated, unloved or even neglected by those around us, we can develop mental health issues like anxiety and depression, which make us think we are the reason for our pain. Bullying and teasing can have the same effect.
Instead of letting yourself fall down this dark rabbit hole and never truly see the toxic situation for what it is, you need to consider that you aren’t to blame for your environment. Once you recognise that you don’t need to change yourself but rather your environment, you can let go of ‘New Year, New Me’ and embrace your true self fully.
One way you can change your environment is to remove yourself from it completely. If a family home is too overwhelming and negative, seek alternative housing or family and friends you can live with. Or, try and judge if the situation can be remedied. Family and group therapy is a great way to bring people back together by addressing everyone’s concerns. If everyone understands how and why the environment is toxic, they can then work together, with the therapist, to bring more positivity into the home.
Check out my website today and learn more about my services as a therapist and how I can support your mental health in 2021. By taking on the New Year with a more positive mindset, we prepare ourselves for acceptance rather than failure at unachievable resolutions.