As 2014 turned to 2015 I noticed a significant change in the marketing messages I was seeing. I also noticed a big shift in the status updates and posts I was seeing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on blogs. It seemed that the message was no longer one of acceptance, but of change.
Every year the first weeks bombard us with “New Year, New You” ads. Get in shape. Lose weight. Eat better. Join a gym for just pennies a day. Buy this weight-loss program. It’s everywhere!
This year all of this “New You” stuff is bothering me. What happened to all the “you’re perfect just the way you are”, “find YOUR style”, “keep making healthy choices” messages from just a few weeks and months ago? Why all of a sudden am I not acceptable just the way I am?
Sure, I get that there is always an opportunity to make better choices in the foods we eat and buy. I’m always trying to find new ways to add movement and exercise into my day. And, to be honest, who among us wouldn’t like to shed a few pounds. But just as the ball drops to signal the beginning of a new year, all of a sudden this need to change is just too much. New Year New You
I don’t know where the love, kindness, and appreciation went. In an instant it was gone. No longer was I good enough or acceptable as I was. I need to change. I need to be fixed. Something’s wrong with me. And I don’t like that message. New Year New You
Maybe it’s because for the first time I saw these through the eyes of a mom with a soon-to-be teen daughter. One who will see these messages and wonder if maybe there’s something wrong with her. A vulnerable child who might think that losing weight, being skinny, or depriving herself is what life is supposed to be like for women. New Year New You
Or, maybe it’s because at 45 I’m starting to understand the idea of self-acceptance. Especially in a world that is filled with only-the-best-life-has-to-offer status updates and photos. Which are interspersed with motivational quotes, pictures of cats, and lots of photos of food.
Whatever it is, I find this whole “New Year, New You” concept wrong. I get resolutions, but I see more people just choosing a word to focus how they’ll pilot the coming year. I see people ditching resolutions for more informed lifestyle changes. I’m not a resolutions kind of person. Instead, I work on my well-being every day and am constantly seeking ways to accept myself while also using resources to improve. I think the new year is always a great time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. But that’s also how I feel about almost any random day. It can be the first of each month, or quarterly, or even daily.
I think a lot of people like me just the way I am. And, well, I like me. So why should I create a new me just because it’s a new year?
Image Courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net