Happy New Year? I’ll Pass..

I used to be the person who relished bringing in the new year with a list of dos and don’ts. Typically, these revolved along the lines of the following: 

Lose weight.
Eat healthy.
Visit relatives.
Sleep before midnight.
Wake up before 6.
Watch less TV.
Spend less time online.
Learn another language.

Work out.
Shop less.
Bla. Bla. BLA.

The precise things on list changed over the course of the years, but in the end, it was always the same crap. I figured that by following my resolutions—or at least, by consciously promising to try—I was doing my part in being healthier, happier, and more successful.

Now let me take a step back. I pride myself on being someone who has strong will power. I am the kind of person who will do whatever it takes to (fill the blank however you please. Odds are, it applies). When I know I’m not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough for something, I change everything about my life to prove that I am, in fact, good enough, smart enough, and strong enough. I used to believe this stemmed from a strong work ethic. Slowly, I’m finding, it comes from a much darker state of mind (more on that another day).

Anyway, back to the resolutions.

The first day in the new year always starts strong. I would make a healthy meal, spend time with family or friends, go out for a jog or even a walk, and (try to) sleep at a reasonable time. Next day, the same.

I typically keep this going for about a few weeks before I start to see cracks. A bad grade on a test or a horrible day at work makes me want to do nothing else but sit on the couch in front of the TV. I medicate social life drama (or sometimes lack thereof) with chips, cake, or any fast food I can get my hands on. When are things are really bad, simply looking into the mirror sends me into a downward spiral that makes me want to stay in bed and never get out.

Don’t even get me started on what happens when I go online…

Falling behind on resolutions made me feel worse about myself than before I even had them. In October through December, for instance, I wouldn’t think twice about staying up late to read blogs, watch YouTube, or browse Reddit. I knew I shouldn’t have a scoop of ice cream so late, but I wouldn’t beat myself up for it. I’d hang out with friends because I wanted their company, not because I wanted a social life. I wasn’t perfect, but I was at least kind to myself.

Post new year? I became my own worst enemy.

In late January of 2018, I remember hiding in bed under the covers, crying because I just indulged in some Shake Shack after a long day of (grad) school then work. I bailed on going to the gym. I couldn’t bring myself to do anything. I didn’t want to work out. I didn’t want to go out. I just wanted to be alone.

When I had no more tears left to cry, I made my way into the bathroom. Staring at myself in the mirror, I tried figuring out why I was so down. I felt bad for myself. At that moment, I just wanted to give myself a hug—not out of love, but out of pity.

I had guilted myself into believing that the things I wanted to do were bad.
I wanted to watch TV. I wanted to eat junk on bad days. I wanted to stay up late. Those aren’t crimes. They’re just preferences. They’re what my free time my free time.

It was then, I realized the toxicity of my resolutions. By trying to be “healthier, happier, and more successful” I became unwell and depressed. That wasn’t success. That was disaster.

I don’t know where the idea that we need to be doing these things started from. Sure, it’s a good idea to eat healthy, and it’s best to live a balanced lifestyle. But the key is moderation, not elimination.

That day, I put my headphones in and went for a walk. I promised myself that my resolution from now on would be to never set another resolution. I vowed to be conscious and in the moment, and to think about every decision I made.

Would watching a movie on the weekend set me back on my to-do list? Yeah, a little. Would it help me feel better after an intense week? Hell, yeah!

Physical health is incomplete without mental rest. I would tattoo that on the insides of my eyelids if I could.

The new year is just that. It’s not a new you, it’s not a new life, and it’s not a reset button that magically turns bad habits into a thing of the past. It’s just a new day, just like the day before was.

Now, I set goals. Exercise in some way or another at least twice a week. Try to keep meals balanced. Make sure to get the rest I need. Keep in touch with those who matter—even if it’s just by sending them a funny meme.

You wanna know what? I have yet to fall behind…



Agust Montana

Agust Montana

Hi, I'm Agust. ttest

One comment

  • bravo! you’re working with real self-care in mind….finally.

    and just a bit of perspective – remember Jan 1 is “new” on the Gregorian calendar. On the Aztec version, “new” is March 12th.

    So you still have some time…:)

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