By Gretchen Powell
Every year around the end of December and beginning of January, we start to see slogans boasting something like, “New Year, New You!” The actual products being advertised are always different. The words might be attached to a billboard boasting discount membership rates at the gym, or they might be declaring a big sale at your local department store, but the underlying concept is the same: This is the time to reinvent yourself. In with the new, out with the old.
I’ve always had a bit of a problem with New Year’s resolutions – not with the idea of resolving to change a bad habit, pick up a healthy one, or do something good for yourself, but with the fact that said resolution must be attached to a specific time of year. The idea that you need to pick out a means of improving yourself, due to some arbitrary date, has never sat quite right with me because I feel that we should be making constant attempts to better our lives, all year long. But resolutions can be a great thing, too. For every 100 people that give up on their pledges to lose weight or stop smoking or get back to the gym, there’s probably at least one person who sees the resolution through. Now, if only there was a push, a drive, an incentive to make resolutions for personal improvement all year long instead! Suddenly, those 100 people who made a single resolution on Jan. 1 only to break it days or weeks later? Maybe they will have the motivation to try again. Try something different, and keep trying, over and over again.
The whole idea of “New Year, New You” implies that there’s something wrong with the old you. That you need to capitalize on the start of the new year to begin anew, to start fresh, to completely redo yourself. But there are a lot of things about the old you that are probably pretty great already, and don’t really need reinventing. So why do we continue to see New Year’s Day as the starting gun for our race to self-improvement? We don’t need to change ourselves completely every year, and we don’t need to wait until midnight on Dec. 31 to implement things we do want to change.
So, maybe you’ve already made a New Year’s resolution. And maybe you’ve already broken it. So what? It doesn’t matter. You don’t need to wait until Jan. 1, 2014, to try again. Every day is a new opportunity, a new chance to make a difference. No matter what the actual date is. For the old you, the new you, and every you in between.
Gretchen Powell is a fitness and healthy living blogger in Falls Church. She is not a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or medical doctor, and a medical professional should be consulted before undertaking dramatic diet changes. For more, visit honeyishrunkthegretchen.com.