The pressure to form a new year's resolution is upon us again. Maybe at this point, it’s just becoming a bit ridiculous. What, with 25% of people quitting during the first week of setting them up, it’s likely any motive of self improvement crumbles into unenthusiastic dread for the year ahead. I’m going to talk through some ways in which we can shift our attitudes to resolutions and personal improvement.
Meditation, for example, doesn’t have to be sitting in a blank room staring at the wall for hours on end. Just trying to ‘be present’ and be conscious of either your surroundings, your breath, or a pretty sunset can be meditative. In fact, part of the reason why sunsets and sunrises are so appealing is because it brings you to appreciate the very sky, colours and shapes of that moment. Doing simple things like this, little and often, can even be more beneficial than jumping straight into the big task itself. Elevating your day, moment by moment, will hopefully make you feel lighter and more calm!
It can also be easily frustrating if your goal doesn’t have a physical or tangible outcome. Indeed, the very teleological way of thinking- that of focusing on means to an end, can be detrimental. Whilst it can certainly be motivating to achieve an end goal, or have some concrete evidence to monitor a so- called ‘progress,’ it can make us lose sight of other things. As seems to be a common theme in my blogs, thinking holistically and more openly helps us maintain a healthier (physically and mentally) balance of not just our whole selves but also taking into account those around us in our environment.
95% of New Year’s resolutions are fitness related, and it’s interesting to think about what this means about our society. Sure, it’s good to be mindful of your health, but placing that much emphasis on your physical body can also have its downsides. Gym culture, for those looking onto it from the outside, or even just teetering in the borders, can easily seem overwhelming. Seeing the plethora of Pure Gym’s pop up (like a virus, if you will), and the ever increasing snapchat stories of industrial- looks- like- a- killer- machine, you might wonder if you’re missing out on something.
Perhaps seeing videos of people posting themselves flexing their muscles in a crowded gym is inspirational. Maybe gym bros triggers FOMO. Maybe it monopolises new year’s resolutions. Thinking more about what you want, how you want to look or how strong you want to be doesn’t have to conform to the heightened hype of gym culture, in fact, if anything, it may be more beneficial as a personal means of improvement. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about how we can achieve a balanced, respectful, and (dare I say) healthier relationship with not only our body, but our mind too. Before scranning supplements or masses and masses of chicken for the ‘bulking’ process, maybe think about why you want to work out, and explore things you can pick up as well as (or instead) of a kettlebell.
So, let the year 2023 embrace some new knowledge, understanding and adventures. Happy New Year!
Anisha Minocha is studying English and Spanish at the University of St Andrews. She is a passionate writer and poet whose work has been published in anthologies, magazines, blogs and won competitions. Contributing to Sink Magazine, she is keen to utilize the voice of young people and share work through her creative writing blog. As a climate activist, she has combined her love for words and the planet in a performance of spoken word at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 'Letters to the Earth'. She also co-runs Young Friends of the Earth: Manchester and has organised workshops, participated in panels and spoken at Manchester Cathedral.
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