Be Kind to Yourself this New Year

As notorious January comes around, overnight it seems that TVs are playing Jenny Craig commercials nonstop, spin classes fill up, and your best friend’s mom suddenly starts her annual “juice cleanse” (which, if you haven’t had the benefit of taking EPHE 155 – Intro to Nutrition, I will tell you is generally a poor idea).

In other words, it’s New Year’s Resolution season, baby. For those of us who work at CARSA, we can’t wait for February, when the gym is suddenly half as busy.

It’s easy to be cynical about New Year’s resolutions, but there is something appealing about looking at a new year — that fresh 2017 — and seeing the possibility of becoming the person you want to be. Wanting to become a better you is a good thing, and in fact I think it’s something we should all strive for.

For me, the thing that’s hard to swallow about many New Year’s Resolutions is that they are built with a sense of negativity around who you currently are. There are things about your 2016 self that you don’t like, so you’re going to change them for 2017.

Perhaps you ate a little too much stuffing at Christmas dinner, and had too many candy cane hot chocolates over the break (but I mean who could blame you, they’re a delight), and you’re hoping to lose a few pounds in this new year. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a healthier and better you this year, so long as you do it with self-love in mind, rather than self-hate.

This may seem like semantics, but in my mind there is a big difference between (a) buying a climbing pass this semester because you hate your body and want to change it, and (b) because you love how climbing challenges you, and you enjoy the way exercise makes you feel. Does that make sense?

We all have things about our lives that we want to change. The fact is, though, you’re always going to find something to nit-pick about. Even if you do lose those extra Christmas pounds, you might start wishing your hair was less unruly, that you didn’t spend so much time stressing and overthinking, that your GPA was higher, or that you were better at ballet.

Something I’ve realized is that even if one thing I don’t like about myself gets ‘fixed,’ I quickly find something new to fuss over. I am never able to reach that threshold of having the “perfect life” that many of us strive for.

If I am never going to reach this standard, why would I want to waste so much of my time striving for that elusive “state of perfection”?

So this year, when you are thinking about your hopes and dreams for 2017, before you start thinking about all the ways you want to be ‘new and improved,’ first accept and love yourself the way you are. Maybe it would be nice for your hair to be perfectly straight when you wake up in the morning but damn, it’s also a lovely color of chestnut brown.

Maybe you didn’t get that 8.0 GPA you were hoping for, but you started volunteering for an organization you care a lot about, and also made some really good friends. In 2017, you are still the same, awesome you, killing it at university and whatever other things you do here that make your time worthwhile.

Take a moment to celebrate your victories, accept your flaws, and be kinder to yourself this new year. There’s a lot of exciting things yet to come.

Much love,


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