New Year, New You (But Only If You Put In The Work)

A new year won’t be a new you unless you do something about it. This time of year is always about change. We’re gearing up for a fresh start, but for many of us, this time of year forces us to look at how little progress we made. That book you wanted to write? Well, another year has come and gone and the words are still in your head instead of on the page. That weight loss journey you wanted to take? It ended in March. That journey toward meditation and developing a better attitude toward mental health? You’re still riddled with anxiety because meditation isn’t really the solution.

Maybe you’re one of the few who did accomplish what you set out this year. And if you did, you no longer possess what many of us are still clinging onto: fear. We look toward a new year as a way to wipe the slate clean, but how can we do that if we’re still clinging onto our past? How can we move forward if we don’t at the very least let go? Emotional baggage is just as heavy as the suitcases we load into our back seats. And it’s time you started traveling lighter.

It’s time for you to face what you’ve been running away from, whether it’s the fear of the unknown or the fear of failure, because you don’t deserve to spend another year like this. You don’t deserve to spend another year waiting. Stop living your life as the supportive player and instead take the time to realize that you are the star of your own movie.

In any film, the main character hits their low moment. They fucked up or said something they shouldn’t have said. They lost everything, whether by nature or by poor luck or design. And at some point, in every film, in every story, the main character wakes up. They either take accountability for what their life looks like and the plot continues or they choose not to and accept their fate that nothing changes.

And for the past year, I’ve been the one sitting on the sidelines accepting her fate that nothing changes. This year has been my low point. My rock bottom. And to be perfectly honest with you, I think it has for many of us. I think many of us have succumbed to the isolation this pandemic has brought. I think many of us feel trapped and scared and excited for things to change, but they never will unless you do something about it. Life will happen to you if you don’t stand up and carve out the path yourself.

This year, make the choice to follow through with every thought that will bring you peace. Be honest with yourself about everything. Does social media bring you joy or does it only increase your anxiety? If it increases your anxiety, what is the point of keeping it? Do you even talk to the people you’re “friends” with on there? Or are your actual friends reserved for text messages? Do you really need to keep tabs on what that girl you went to high school with is doing now that she has a baby or opened up her own business? No. The answer is no.

But maybe it’s not social media that brings you anxiety. Maybe it’s your overthinking and worrying about when the other shoe will drop. Maybe you’re scared of when the “bad thing” will finally happen in terms of losing someone you love. If so, I’m right there with you. Trauma after tragedy is real, and it haunts me every day. But, I’m tired of living my life with a ghost. When that anxiety creeps in my belly, I have to stop and ask if worrying about it will prevent anything from happening. If I have a good day, does that signal the universe to trigger the opposite? No. The answer is no. Will worrying about what has yet to pass change its course? No. It never has. And sadly, it never will.

Fight. Fight harder than you ever have, because waking up on New Year’s Day with the promise to drink more water won’t cut it. If you want your life to change, you have to take a leap of faith into the unknown, and you’ll have to make sacrifices. You might have to work longer hours to be able to afford therapy to treat your anxiety, but it’s worth the price. That will help you better than anything else, because sometimes anxiety and depression and trauma cloud our judgment. You can’t make your bed if all you’re doing is lying beneath the covers.

Fight. You have to fight hard to push through the voices in your head that tell you that tomorrow is another day. Because that’s what the whole New Year’s thing is about—it says that you’ll start your health journey, whether physically or mentally, next month. And then it turns into two months. Then three. Then four. Until you’re here again, a whole year later, a whole year older, wishing you took the steps you needed to take back then. Fight. Fight harder than you have before to take charge of the things that hold you back. Get rid of the things you waste too much time on. Find faith in counseling, because at the end of the day, it’s something we all need. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Fight hard for the person you want to be. Fight hard to live where you want to be. Fight hard to spend time on the things you want to spend time on. I know it isn’t easy. We have bills and a lifestyle we’re accustomed to. We have responsibilities, but if life has taught me anything, it’s that it’s going by too fast. And there is more to life than getting the newest iPhone or working yourself to death and vacationing once a year. It may not sound simple, but it is. We’re just usually too scared to realize it until it’s too late.