The idea of a New Year’s resolution has always brought me so much stress. I have immense anxiety when it comes to thinking about my life and my success or failure at it. As the oldest child, I was born with a natural affliction for perfectionism that was intensely compounded by some family chaos and my generation’s parental reassurances that “I was special.” It seemed as if I was destined to be successful. It was never threatening or forced, but I was made to believe that my potential naturally was very high and to waste that potential would be a fatalistic failure. I put a lot of pressure on myself to not mess up and to do everything “right.”
Social Media also adds a good amount of pressure. #NewYearNewMe. Comparing yourself to a million people has never been easier and that is insanely hard. It’s hard to keep a sense of who you are when you are constantly being bombarded with who you aren’t: the food you aren’t eating, the dress that won’t flatter you, the vacation you aren’t on, the green juice you aren’t drinking, and the party you aren’t at. So often, making a New Year’s resolution seems like setting myself up for failure and more self-loathing. There are so many things I feel I need to be or need to change, and it’s all dictated to me so effortlessly. I was scrolling Pinterest the other day when I saw a list: “50 things every healthy woman should do daily.” Oh god-- I immediately clicked it. What was I not doing that I needed to be doing?! Did this mean I wasn’t healthy!? That familiar panic started to set in. And C’mon, 50 things?! 50 things! Daily. Every single day, don’t forget to do this short list of 50 things or you’re basically a failure. And that’s not true. I know it’s not true, but it is hard to remember when advice is constantly being thrown out from everywhere. It’s why I hate self-help books. To each her own but for me, I am never more stressed and defeated than when I’m reading a book that is telling me even more things I need to remember to do and not do.
Right about now you may be thinking, “But Colleen, if what you’re doing is working for you, then no one is forcing you to change. Just keep doing you girl.” And you’re right. But sometimes the comparisons and the well meant advice causes me to doubt myself. I get so caught up in what I should be doing that I no longer even notice what I enjoy doing, what makes me happy, and what I like and don’t like. And I know some of you reading this are the exact same way. So, I’m writing this post to remind you it’s okay. What you’re doing right now with your life is completely okay. And yes, you need to have goals, but realize there are waiting rooms to life and sometimes you just need to wait it out in them. You may be struggling with work, you may not be connecting with any of the men you date, or you may be unable to save up money to travel, but that doesn’t mean it will always be this way and none of it is your fault (unless you’re a truly garbage person, but trust me, you would know if you were a truly garbage person). You are perfect and what you’re doing is totally fine. You are not lazy, un-loveable or dumb. You are in transition; you will constantly be in transition and part of life is learning how to enjoy the ride because you will never have it all together, no matter how your Instagram makes you seem. You will always be struggling for something, but that is what makes life interesting and beautiful and you’re going to have to learn how to not be so damn hard on yourself all the time or the struggle is going to be exhausting as hell.
So yes, this New Year, I will be trying to drink more water, apply my anti-aging night creams, not eat an entire bag of popcorn for dinner, and actually go to the gym a few times a week. But, I will also be forgiving myself for the nights I have a Netflix binge and don’t do anything productive. I will no longer be trying to maintain a quota of friends when certain friendships don’t feed me. I will give myself permission to not go out if what I really need is a night alone and I will stop comparing myself to every influencer on Instagram and my business to every other brand. I will accept the fact that I will never really be into podcasts or Kombucha, and I will stop telling myself that my life “should be” anything other than what it is. I will no longer try to force myself to date a guy simply because he looks good on paper (or naked) and I will stop apologizing for things that aren’t my fault. I will feed my soul with good energy and with good people and the occasional Papa John’s pizza and I will no longer feel guilty about it. I will move into 2018 with a sense of purpose, a lot of love, a little forgiveness and a soft spot in my heart for myself.