During the new year period, we’re bombarded with seemingly motivational images and quotes about ‘the new you’. Journalist & Yoga Teacher Melanie Swan writes about appreciating life and being happy with oneself, rather than aspiring for a new you in the new year. And since it’s Valentine’s Day, whether you’re single or not, it’s time to love yourself!
In today’s social media driven culture, we are bombarded with seemingly motivational photos and quotes on a daily basis. At new year especially, it’s all about ‘the new you’. Some of these motivational pages can of course be hugely inspiring. I am a great fan of people like Tara Stiles, the Reebok yoga ambassador, for her philosophy on life, authors like Deepak Chopra and Louise L Hay. However, some of the gym motivation shots can verge on driving people to neurosis.
It’s all about ‘don’t stop till you drop’ and ‘failure not being an option’ which is great, I agree. We all need a bit of a kick up the backside sometimes and pictures of sculpted bodies might make you think twice when you reach for that extra piece of chocolate, but where to draw the line? Is it healthy to incessantly see pictures of these ‘perfect’ bodies on your newsfeed every day? Photos of people you don’t even know so you don’t even know if they actually look like this every day or are even happy or kind people?
This new year my favourite Facebook update was by an inspirational woman, an athlete, a wife and a mother, Eva Clarke. On new year’s eve, she posted a status on her page saying: “New Year – New me? I think I am sticking with the old me! I like the old me… Yes, I do have horrible little flaws that annoy people and yes I am sure they wish I would change my ways. However, I don’t see flaws, I see character and awesomeness, a lifetime of living and stories etched into my attitude and outlook towards life.”
So how about we look at enjoying and appreciating the good bits rather than focusing on the bad: not trying to get that ‘perfect’ body or body part (however much I’d love my glutes to be perter, what will be will be!) or worrying about the ever increasing lines on our faces; but saying hey, did I live life to the best of my ability this year? Did I make others happy and act with kindness? Did I have fun and did I grow?
We can always make improvements. I want to learn more this year. I love taking courses and broadening my knowledge. I want to do more challenging poses in my yoga and keep getting stronger, but at the end of the day, I am happy in my skin. This could not have been tested better than coming to the end of two weeks of doing absolutely no exercise over the festive period. Instead, I’ve eaten exactly what I wanted (within reason) and enjoyed nothing but my family and friends and walks outside in the UK winter. Have I put on weight? Probably! Does it matter and do I feel bad about it? Not a chance.
Life is about consistency: of lifestyle and habits but also of character, our most important asset. So I had two weeks of naughtiness, but I also had two weeks of love and laughter.
So this year, starting today, on Valentine’s Day, don’t look for a ‘new you’… Instead, sit and ask yourself why you can love the current you?