New year, new me?
December 13, 2023
As we come into the New Year we may see many inspirational articles trying to encourage you to embrace the new start, Dry January, Go to the Gym, Be more active! The message we would like to promote is that it’s ok to not. It’s ok to do nothing. After a busy year and the expense of Christmas, we think it is fine to say “I made it!”, “I’m still here”.
Don’t be in a rush to change anything. There are 12 months of the year and when you are ready to make a change, when you want to do something challenging, then do it when it’s right for you. You will find you have a much higher chance of success that way.
The power of positivity is well linked to articles on mental health, however the power of realistic thinking should be far more encouraged. How many New Year’s resolutions get forgotten within the first few weeks, going to the gym and eating healthily become fads and benefits fade.
So, this year we would like to encourage a new approach for looking after your wellbeing, based purely on being realistic, planning over the year rather than the first month and learning that it’s ok if you fail at tasks, not everything is achievable after all.
Our top 10 tips on realistic thinking for wellbeing:
- Create a list of what you want to achieve this year. Using visualisation to imagine the result and the process can help you to focus on what matters most.
- Plan on when is best to take on each task/goal and break each one down into more achievable smaller steps.
- Accept that you won’t reach all your goals and that is ok. Learn from setbacks and be realistic with what you are trying to achieve.
- Go at your pace not what is expected by others.
- Encourage others to join in, motivation is easier when others are involved.
- Ask others for help when needed, either in terms of practical support or advice.
- Look at the whole picture – over your lifetime, a day, a week or even a month of not doing anything doesn’t mean you have failed, it’s important not to overstretch.
- Be true to yourself and be aware of your strengths – if you aren’t an artist don’t paint, if you aren’t sporty don’t expect quick success in a sports challenge. Reflect on what makes you unique, what your interest or passion is and embrace that.
- Over 12 months you might forget success and failures so make a diary, set yourself up for the following year.
- In a climate of financial insecurity, look for cheap or free alternatives like walking, jogging, craftwork, baking, sea swimming, crosswords and brain games or search YouTube for gems like mindfulness exercises, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, yoga and meditation.
Planning for wellbeing over a whole year will present obstacles and hurdles along the way, but that’s ok. Realistic thinking will prepare us to walk around the obstacles rather than face the unrealistic thought that we have to climb jump or clamber over everything in our way. New Another year, new the real me.
New Year always prompts reflection – the things we want to achieve by the time next New Year rolls around, the “new person” we are going to be. But is this new person an authentic version of ourself? The idea of a personal brand might sound cheesy to some – a concept more suited to those who want to “synergise” and “push the envelope” with some “blue sky thinking”. But we can all gain something by considering what our personal brand is, and if it is an authentic and true reflection of how we want the world to see us.
Consider your personal brand
Your personal brand is shaped by your values, beliefs, and personal qualities. What do you have to offer, what are you best at, or get the most fulfilment from? Are you honest, creative, diligent, flexible, innovative, ambitious, friendly, empathetic, loyal, grounded? How are you portraying this to the outside world? And are you consistent in this portrayal?
It’s also about understanding what you aren’t. Sometimes people can make assumptions about us, or people who have known us for a long time don’t really see how we might have developed and keep us in a box we’ve grown out of. So what are you not – “I’m not the life and soul of the party”, “I’m not always the brightest in the room”, “I’m not a wallflower”. Reflecting on what we aren’t helps us to understand what we want to be, what our potential is and how we can get there, alongside changing any incorrect perceptions others have of us.
Evaluating your personal brand helps you to clarify how you have already grown, if you are comfortable in your current self, or if there are areas where you would like to develop. It can take bravery to honestly turn that mirror on ourselves, to be self-aware without judgement but with kindness and acceptance. But understanding is the first step to growth. As Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”. This acceptance and understanding means you can look to the future with positivity, but also with realism without being self-deceptive, or putting pressure on yourself to be someone that isn’t consistent with your values.
So this new year, be your own cheerleader, celebrate where you are and, as you take time to reflect, consider if it might be time for a rebrand so that you can go into 2023 as a more authentic version of yourself.