How To Do ‘New Year, New Me’ Without Feeling Like A Failure

Olivia Burton

Every year the new year rolls around, and that small ball of shame in my stomach twists that little bit tighter.

We live in a world full of self-improvers, I know because I think about it all the f*cking time.

I sign up to a few courses a year that I end up ultimately hating, I read self-help books constantly, and I love a good ‘to-do’ list. As much as reflection and self-improvement attempts are important, they can also cause a feeling of failure.  

Image via Unsplash

self improvement

This year I’m throwing it out there, “new year, new me” is b*llshit, we are all doing fine.

Here are some ways to do a kinder version of reflection and self-improvement (if you want to).

1. Forget about New Year resolutions

Let’s face it, most people fail New Year resolutions and then feel bad. It’s good to set intentions now and then, especially for removing bad habits. However, these can be set anytime with or without deadlines. Resolutions are also exploited by some businesses to shame people into getting a gym membership, going on expensive diets or buying new crap.

“Consumerism wants you to feel guilty. That’s how it makes money. A new year won’t mean a new you. You are not an iPhone. You don’t need replacing every year. The calendar is just another human invention. Don’t feel guilty about not dieting or exercising yourself into a temporary new form. Just be kind to yourself. Get to know the old you. Don’t throw yourself away like another piece of plastic trash. You are everything as you already are.” – Matt Haig, Author & Mental Health Advocate

2. Celebrate small wins

Success takes multiple forms and has no timeframe, which is why it’s important to celebrate every win. A win might be finally tidying a cupboard in your house, or to starting to make your lunches for work. It can be literally anything. The important thing is to celebrate every tiny, beautiful hill in life.

3. Repeat after me “social media isn’t real life.”

I’m over people posting fake crap on Instagram about #livingmybestlife, it might be true but don’t believe that anyone’s life is perfect. Everyone feels bad sometimes; not one person has the perfect body, job or social life. Next time you see someone post their flat stomach that’s perfectly tanned to promote some sort of slimming tea or whitening strips, unfollow immediately and flip the middle finger to it.

4. Make a Happy List

To know and understand ourselves is a lifelong expedition. To set intentions for the future or restart for the year, it’s helpful to think about what makes you happy. This can also help shape your thoughts on where you are with your job or relationships with friends or a partner. It can also work both ways if you feel like you’ve had a difficult year make a ‘Not Happy List’ and see what you can change. Keep these lists as reminders of what makes you, you.

5. You are your own worst enemy

Be kind to yourself

Practice talking to yourself nicer, be less self-critical and don’t pick faults. If you feel like you haven’t achieved anything this year, you’re being too harsh.

6. Book in self-love

Spend time with yourself, not self-obsessing, but enjoying your own company. This can also be important at the start of a year after the festive period. Book in some time to read a book, get a massage, go for a walk or even sit and watch a movie alone. It’s ok to not start the year on the ground running (literally and metaphorically). If you need inspiration, watch this panda’s relaxing video.

Olivia Burton

Olivia is an eco-writer, producer, science graduate & ocean enthusiast. After moving from London to Sydney, she found her love for the outdoors and recycled textiles, which led her to start writing about science and sustainable fashion. Olivia is really passionate about brands using fashion for good and innovation in the industry. She now splits her time between several not-for-profit organisations in communication roles. Olivia is also a Centre for Sustainability Leadership alumni and sits on the Fashion Revolution committee for Australia & New Zealand.