I HATE this time of year. 

No sunlight, icy commutes, everyone is sick, and most of all, New Year’s resolutions. If I hear “new year, new you” one more time I am going into hiding until Spring. I get it, people are trying to make positive changes to their lives and why not start with the new calendar year? Totally legit idea. I would never want to bring down people who are on a roll. 

I mean, I’m trying to better know myself and like myself more. I did not mean to do this at the beginning of the year but here I am, doing it in January. For me, the “New Year, New You” vibe going around feels like something else that is telling me I’m not good enough, just as I am. My goal is to really get to know me and figure out who I am as a person. If I have to make myself all new and shiny, what does that mean for this mission I am on? Am I thinking about this all wrong? Can you even really make yourself new? Am I overthinking it? That’s a common occurrence for me, overthinking. 

For me, it just does not feel good. I hate being rushed or pushed. There’s an element of anxiety in there that tells me, “If you can’t achieve or stick to your resolution at the beginning of the year, you fail and there is no do over.” All the motivational quotes and pictures everywhere lately make me feel a sense of urgency. Like, if I don’t get on this “make yourself better” train, I am going to be left behind with all the other degenerates. 

Motivational quotes and all that stuff often feels fake to me. Fake it until you make it right? Well, if I can feel the lack of authenticity, the power of it is lost. I think this is because of a couple things.

First, when I’m trying to get better I am often feeling depressed. And when I am depressed I get cynical and jealous. I get jealous of people who believe those quotes and feel those quotes. Really, all that cynicism is me pushing all the positivity away because I am jealous. At those times, I am sure that the world is really gone to shit and those other people are just naive. See what I did there? I made myself better than the positive people by making them into idiots. Not my proudest coping strategy and not the type of person I want to be either.

What types of things trigger this unsavory side of me? What do I feel like I have to do to fit in?

Group exercise. Find a running group or take a class. Unless other people see you doing it and cheer you on, it isn’t real right? Terrifying things to a self-conscious introvert. 

Fitness social media. And yes, this is a thing. Who knew? It is not as intimidating as a group class, but often makes me feel like I am not doing enough if my activity doesn’t match other people’s. Gotta hit those steps and get those achievements!

Basic follow, fit in, and conform. I get this strong urge to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing. Are people doing spin classes? I gotta sign up. All of the women you know started a running group? I had better join or the they will just slowly drift away from me. These other people must know what we are supposed to be doing. It is kind of like following that checklist of life and you know how that ended. 

In the end, I just feel pushed. Go big! If you don’t go at this full force you’ll FAIL! All or nothing! Admittedly, it is black and white thinking. Then I see all this stuff on social media and it makes it clear that no matter how hard I try, I probably can’t change myself enough to fit into this mold (that I basically have made up in my head. No one fits into the fitness guru mold like I think they do). Am I just meant to be on the outside? Will I always compare myself to the positive achievers and put either me or them down to feel better?

It is HARD. These are the types of things I see on social media that jump start me comparing.

  • Gorgeous post workout pics. (when I work out, I am sweaty, blotchy, miserable, and exhausted)
  • Posting every good decision and win someone had that day. “I ate a salad for lunch and worked out for an hour after work!” (I can barely get to and from work and have something to eat for dinner that isn’t frozen pizza)
  • A picture of a model with the phrase “You can do this!” is not motivating to me, I just feel less than. The motivational posts I see are not of people who are average or even look like they need to be healthier. If I don’t see myself in something, I can’t really take it in.

When I take a post-workout picture and see so much in my eyes: exhaustion, sadness, and someone who feels like a fraud. I see a woman wearing a costume. She’s lost. Lonely. She is trying so hard to fit in because she feels like there’s no where she belongs.

These feelings show in my actions. Constant phone checking for validation. Changing my outfit multiple times in the morning. Every. Day. The way I can’t take a compliment, so I deflect it. 

Coworker: Your hair looks cute today. 

Me: Really? I didn’t do anything to it.

Sometimes it still feels like I’m still floating in the middle of that ocean with no clue where to go. So, I follow. I can look at it now and see that I am trying to figure out how to fit in by checking social media. This is not going to help me be healthier, physically, mentally, or emotionally. 

“Instead of being positive, be grounded in reality” (Source)

This phrase spoke to me. If I keep my focus on the reality of it all, I can keep myself from becoming overly negative and also not feel like I have to be positive if things are hard. So with this in mind, I came up with what I actually need to do. 

  • Be active in a way that feels authentic. Something calm, quiet, and solitary. Maybe some late nights and early mornings.
  • Give myself space and time to feel out what I need. No rush, just let everything fall into place. No pushing. No deadline.
  • Just commit to creating that opportunity. If I don’t use the time to exercise, at least block it off for some type of self care.
  • Let myself skip to meditate/journal/take a long bath if that’s more helpful.

These goals are good enough for now. In the Spring I can look at it again and make some changes. Maybe by then I will want to schedule walks with some friends or join a yoga class. Yeah, I need to be more active, but not in a way that will spell failure because it doesn’t work for me.

Bonus: It is February now, so the resolutions are quickly going away for another year.

New year, new outgoing, social, fit, upbeat me? Nope. New year, time to find what was there all along. <3

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New Year, New NOPE.

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