New Year, More Authentic Me: Avoiding the ‘New Year, New Me’ Pitfalls
Even if we rail against it, we can find ourselves getting a little sucked in to the “New Year, New Me” outdated trope. After all, our social media are packed with posts about it; shiny new products to try, shiny new programs to start, a shiny new you.
I know after 2020 it can seem even more tempting to buy into this idea. To try and wipe the slate clean and start over, shed your skin and step into the new. But wait. There’s something even better to try instead.
No more ‘New Year, New Me’.
More ‘New Year, More Authentic Me’.
You don’t need a new you. You are great as is (even if you don’t feel like it all the time). Let’s bring that out more, let’s let your authentic self shine.
You already have everything you need to be a more authentic you, rather than a ‘new’ you. After all, what could be better than bringing your true self to the forefront? Here are some little tips to help you out.
3 simple steps to bringing your authenticity to the forefront in 2021 (and avoiding any pitfalls):
- Deep Breathing:
Life can seem overwhelming at times, especially when we’re rushing from Zoom to Zoom, email to email, all whilst trying to look after our health, keep in touch with friends and have a moment to ourselves. Here’s a simple trick to allow yourself a moment of calm, time to step back, to let you look at things logically before jumping back in.
Take a moment now.
Inhale for 4 seconds. Exhale for 8 seconds.
Repeat for 10 breaths whilst you roll your shoulders up on your inhale and roll them down and stretch out your neck on your exhale.
Release the tension you’re holding in your jaw.
Clear your mind and focus on counting your breaths.
Inhale for 4 seconds.
Exhale for 8 seconds.
What is this doing? By making your exhale twice as long as your inhale, you start to activate your parasympathetic nervous system (calming that fight/flight/freeze response) meaning that your body calms down, helping give yourself that moment of mental clarity and time to step back (1,2,3). A great and subtle technique to use anywhere, from videocalls to news overwhelm when you need a little pause and reset.
- Daily Gratitude:
We naturally have a slight cognitive negative bias i.e. we easily notice what hasn’t gone well or what’s wrong. Think about a presentation you did or a piece of clothing you bought where the vast majority of people loved it, thought it was great but maybe one person didn’t or gave you a piece of constructive feedback. Was that all you remember? Did you disregard all other positive feedback because of one comment?
Let’s rebalance that mindset.
I want to challenge you for the next two weeks to write down, yes write down, 3 things every day that you’re grateful for or proud of that are specific to that day. They can be big or small. But challenge yourself. For example, today I am grateful for:
- Working out with my sister over Skype this morning
- Making myself a delicious coffee to start the day whilst watching the sun rise
- Writing this blog
What about you?
What is this doing? Daily, or regular, gratitude practice has been associated with increased happiness, positive self-regard, health and life satisfaction (4,5,6) what’s not to love about that? The truth is, it starts to rebalance that negative cognitive bias into a more balanced, constructive and positive cognitive bias. Think about it, if you are told you’re forgetful or that you always lose your keys for example, then you notice the times you do forget something or lose your keys and never all the other times when you don’t thereby reinforcing the bias that you’re forgetful making it happen more. Time to end that cycle and start one of gratitude and cognitive balance.
- Lead with your core values
Life is the accumulation of what we do day to day, week to week. However, it can be easy to get swept up in life and then realise you’re at a point where you’re doing a job that doesn’t fulfil you or goes against your true self and putting energy into relationships that don’t support, challenge (lovingly) and nourish you. Let’s reset.
Write down your 3 core values. The things that matter most to you in day to day life. These could be values such as integrity, honesty, family, compassion, nourishment etc. What resonates with you?
Second of all, looking at your values, the things that matter most to you, what one priority do you want to focus on for 2021? Write it down. To help you, think about what your main focus will be, where are you wanting to spend most of your energy?
Thirdly, now you have that, what three small actions can you do on a regular basis to focus on that priority? Creating a simple, enjoyable process that you can stick to consistently (and want to stick to) is of paramount importance.
Finally, think about what potential barriers could come up that would stop you sticking to your three small actions? What could you do to work around these barriers and use them as a platform to grow, learn and develop even further?
What is this doing? Reestablishing to yourself who you are, what matters to you and what you stand for. It can be difficult to know where we want to go in life, what we want from life and when to walk away from situations, places or people. Reestablishing what our core values are can be a great way to take that step back and remind ourselves about what is truly important.
You’ve got this. One step at a time and keep letting your authentic self shine bright.
A bit about Beth Hope
Beth is an Executive Confidence Coach, and founder of &hope life coaching, who helps you boost your authentic confidence and strengthen your constructive mindset. She has a deep understanding of human behaviour, motivation and limiting beliefs that she uses to help you unlock barriers and move forward with clear action.
As a huge mental health advocate, she knows the positive impact a constructive mindset has. She is trained with the Academy of Executive Coaching, has a master’s degree in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health, is Mindfulness trained and an MBTI practitioner. Using all of this she brings evidence-based tools to her coaching to help you flourish.
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005). Coming to our senses: Healing ourselves and the world through mindfulness. Hachette UK.
- King, D., Sandhu, M., Henderson, S., & Ritchie, S. M. (2018). Managing emotions: Outcomes of a breathing intervention in year 10 science. In Eventful Learning (pp. 193-216). Brill Sense.
- Noble, D. J., & Hochman, S. (2019). Hypothesis: pulmonary afferent activity patterns during slow, deep breathing contribute to the neural induction of physiological relaxation. Frontiers in physiology, 10, 1176.
- Emmons, R. A., Froh, J., & Rose, R. (2019). Gratitude. In M. W. Gallagher & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Positive psychological assessment: A handbook of models and measures (p. 317–332). American Psychological Association.
- Froh, J. J., Fan, J., Emmons, R. A., Bono, G., Huebner, E. S., & Watkins, P. (2011). Measuring gratitude in youth: Assessing the psychometric properties of adult gratitude scales in children and adolescents. Psychological assessment, 23(2), 311.
- Bono, G., Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2004). Gratitude in practice and the practice of gratitude. Positive psychology in practice, 464-481.