Happy New Year, and welcome to the first Wellness Wednesday of the year! We’re now a week into the new year, and we’ve seen promises of “a new year, a new you” more times than we can count.
My question is, what’s wrong with the “old you”?
I’d like for you to take a minute and think about all the things your body does for you each day.
They may not look exactly like we’d like them to look, or feel as good as we’d like for them to feel, but our bodies are absolutely amazing.
When we start wellness changes from the mindset that we need a ‘new’ us, the focus tends to be on all the things we don’t like about ourselves. This may be enough motivation to get us started, but it’s not enough to sustain our wellness efforts over the long run.
We need to get rid of that idea of needing “a new you” as if we’re irreparably broken and the only “fix” is a new us.
We don’t need a “new us.” We may need to make some improvements to be healthier and/or happier, but that doesn’t mean we need to change everything about ourselves.
I’ve seen it year after year at the fitness clubs I worked in. People came in on January 1st in search of that “new you,” tried to change everything about themselves, and by March, were back to doing what they had always done.
That all or nothing mentality just doesn’t work for most people.
Wellness Changes that Last
Rather than just deciding we need a complete overhaul, a more effective way to approach wellness changes is to determine what we’re already doing well and build on those things.
Starting from a positive rather than negative mindset, finding our “why” for wellness changes, and starting small can help us build positive, sustainable habits that can improve our wellness.
In Thinking Ahead for Meaningful Wellness Goals, we talked about some questions to ask ourselves when contemplating wellness changes. Going through the process of asking those questions for each area of wellness can give us a starting point for setting some meaningful goals.
When we determine which areas we want to change, a good place to start is to give ourselves credit for what we’re doing well, and start to build on that.
For example, perhaps you already eat two servings of vegetables every day, but you know you need to eat more. Since you’ve established the habit of eating some veggies, it’s easier to add one more serving each day. Once you’re able to be consistent with that habit 90% of the time, you can choose a different habit to build on.
Of course, for many of us, making only one change at a time doesn’t feel realistic. It may feel that if we only take on one thing at a time, we’ll never get where we want to be with our wellness.
That’s okay – if you want to take on more than one change at a time, just follow the same process for each area you want to improve. Start with what you’re already doing well with and build on that. The important thing is that you make small changes you can build on, and that are sustainable over time.
A “Renewed” You
We don’t need a “new us.” What we need is to appreciate how wonderful we truly are, determine what we need to do to improve our wellness if it’s not ideal, and go from there. Rather than a “new” us, we can be “renewed” through our wellness efforts.
Have you ever fallen into the “New Year, New You” trap? What have you found most helpful for making wellness changes that last? Please share!