New Year, Know You
“New Year New You”
This is the catch phrase that we all see and hear as the time for the New Year celebrations draws closer.
We want to ask “Is that really true?”
How likely are we to change just because it is the start of the new calendar? In addition, do we really need to change?
The phrase is a good hook, and a very useful external motivation that can help catalyse change. We may have some time on our hands with bank holidays and we have often over-indulged at Christmas. This can encourage us to look back at the past year and contemplate where we want to be in the future. To consider what we need to change in order to achieve our desired goal.
This kind of self-reflection is key in our journey to self-awareness, however, it can also be a trap. We can become mired in the happenings that we found upsetting.
Negative core beliefs about not being good enough can encourage us to focus only on the failures, the upsets, the bad times.
In a similar way, our thoughts about the future can be negatively influenced and rather than deciding where we need to take action, we can instead become overwhelmed with anxiety about the future. Even when things are looking up, our fear of failure can hold us back.
With thoughts like these taking up space in our head, our overriding body experiences or feelings will be a product of stress hormone release, resulting in anxiety, sadness, and even despair.
These negative thoughts and body chemistry will of course impact on our actions; avoidance, indecision and indifference which leads to wavering.
Any New Year’s resolutions decided in this climate are doomed.
When we want to achieve lasting positive change, our new actions must fit our value systems. If not, we experience something called cognitive dissonance. This is that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of our stomach when we know something is not right.
If we do not believe we deserve the outcome of our changed behaviour, or if we do not truly believe that we can make the necessary changes, then we will feel uncomfortable whenever we contemplate making them. We will come up with excuses and reasons why not to try. We may even engage in sabotaging behaviours designed to speed up our failure.
If we are harbouring underlying core beliefs of being a failure then thoughts and actions that cause us to fail feel right because then our actions do fit our beliefs and so the dissonance is not at play.
It seems then that making positive change is not about the change itself but whether or not it matches our underlying core beliefs.
Perhaps then this new year it is not ‘new you’ that is important but rather ‘know you’.
As 2022 draws to a close, take some time to really explore your core beliefs. What do you truly think about yourself? What do you genuinely think you deserve? Be brave, this is difficult work but in doing it you may start to understand why previous resolutions did not stick.
If you identify some negative core beliefs then make your resolution this year to be to revise them.
Negative core beliefs are untrue. We all deserve to be happy, we are all whole, we are all worthy of living our best life.