Haunani Chong Drake
Ayurveda Perspective: Why Starting Your New Year's Resolution in January is Bound to Fail
Updated: Mar 15, 2022
As a cup-is-always-half-full, silver-lining, eternal-optimist type of gal, the phrase NEW YEAR, NEW YOU makes me cringe.
As much as I love the idea of a New Year, New You, from an Asian Medicine perspective (Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine lens), it’s misleading and impossible. It implies you haven’t been YOU all this time in 2015, 2016, 2017...and poof, all of a sudden 2018, here I am, new and improved. You don’t just wake up one morning a new person. While that might have worked for Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, that is not reality and we all know that. Yes, you may wake one morning with a new attitude; but a new attitude is not a new you. A new attitude is the same YOU with a new attitude.
But let’s stay optimistic here and focus on the motivating intention of making 2018 you the person you know you want to be, dream of being, the “real you” inside, without all the BS. How you doing with that? I hope you’re doing awesome, staying motivated, and committed more than ever to make 2018 your year. However, if your New Year’s resolution is slowly falling to the “well maybe next year” priority list, keep reading. You’re not alone for many reasons. Below, I’ll share my 5 reasons why I don’t like this impossible phrase, but I’ll also share 5 ways to mentally prepare yourself if you truly are ready to make 2018 the biggest, the brightest, the most badass year yet.
So here are the reasons the NEW YEAR NEW YOU is misleading and makes me want to shake my computer every time I read it:
A NEW YOU DOESN'T EXIST. It’s an illusion. You have always been you. In yoga lingo, we call this your “True Nature.” Most of us are just out of touch or disconnected with our “True Nature.” And to reconnect with that True Nature--what I believe the saying “New You” is trying to get at--doesn’t just happen when the clock hits midnight, or when you lose weight, or when you can do a handstand, or make your clothes look like you jumped straight out of Pinterest.
STARTING A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION IN JANUARY IS OUT OF ALIGNMENT WITH THE RHYTHMS OF NATURE. And yes, no matter which way you look at it, you are part of nature. January in the Northern Hemisphere is the dead of winter. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the middle of summer. Neither of those times are conducive to truly making and sticking to a plan. Winter is all about self-care, slowing down, and reflection. Summer is about playing, partying, firing up your life, and shining brightly. Hard to follow-through with new plans when everything about you is wanting to hibernate (north) or play and have fun (south). Truly, the best time to set a resolution or new year plan would be in SPRINGTIME! If you want to stay in touch for my Integrated Yoga and Eastern Medicine Springtime workshop (online and in-person), make sure to sign-up for my Instagram feed and newsletter.
NEW YEAR, NEW YOU MARKETING ASKS YOU TO THINK OF YOURSELF AS LESS THAN WHOLE. In some way, you are broken and you need to be fixed. This type of messaging is fear-based. Sadly, it works. For the majority of people, it’s easier to believe “there’s something wrong with me” or “I’m not good enough” so therefore, I need to buy this product or that program to make myself new. Again, your inner-YOU is not broken, it’s totally enough, and doesn’t need fixing. Your inner-YOU may be covered by years of bad habits, trauma, unfavorable experiences, and lack of self-care but all that, all those layers are not YOU. The real you, under all that, is still there and is waiting for you to uncover, rediscover, and love it like you do your phone and gadgets.
MOST PEOPLE WANT A QUICK FIX. Most people don’t want to take responsibility for their own life. [sigh] Most people want a quick fix, someone to tell them what to do, how to do it, and what it should feel like. Truth is, only YOU know if it’s working for YOU! Life is not like a yoga class. You don’t just show up, listen to a teacher, totally trust them 100%, feel good, and say “I’m fixed.” If it were that easy, every yoga teacher would be out of work. Life is not a quick fix. It's a journey.
PEOPLE DON'T MAKE SELF-CARE A PRIORITY. Most people don’t want to do the work it takes to uncover their True Nature. Uncovering the layers of bullshit, drama, habits, guilts, fear, beliefs is exhausting...but also exhilarating. You do the work because the work is the most important thing you can do for yourself, your family, your community, and the global family. Living in your True Nature is the most important work you can do in this life.
So maybe you’re like, but yeah, yeah, that isssss me. Everything above. Yes, that’s where I am. I’m ready for all that. I want to do the work. I’m tired of hiding. I know there is a me inside just waiting to be uncovered from all the dust that has slowly built up. If this is you, AWESOME! Amazing! Get it. 2018 is your year! Don’t let any amount of my realism get in your way. Here is a reality check for truly taking on this New Year, New You mindset, so when February 1 rolls around, you’re still motivated and when January 1 rolls around next year you can look back and think, “wowwwww, that was quite a year. I DO feel like a new me, a version of me that’s more ME than ever before.”
STAY COMMITTED. MAKE YOURSELF A PRIORITY. Ask yourself daily, “Do I really want to uncover the real ME that has always been inside?” Meaning, do you really want to do the work: physical, mental, emotional, digging up the past, learning new habits while ditching old ones, making new relationships, letting go of patterns and people who no longer align with who you are? You know, really doing the work to uncover the layers of what you believe, why you believe it, and ready to think, act, create, and grow based on who YOU are, not what someone told you to be?
DON'T GET ATTACHED TO THE UPS AND DOWNS. It’s not all golden rays of sunshine and happy Care Bear clouds. The process, the journey (not the destination), the work (possibly the most important work you’ll ever be a part of), is a rollercoaster. This rollercoaster is what most people jump off of at some point thinking, wtf, this is not what I thought it would be like. But really, what did you think it was going to be like? Be ready for life to feel like it got turned upside down, shaken, kicked, and rattled...but believe me--IT IS WORTH IT. YOU ARE WORTH IT! Also be ready for some really high times too. Like some of the most elated, unforgettable feelings of freedom, bliss, love, relaxation to name a few. Don’t get attached to these either. Life is always up and down, like rollercoasters or waves. What goes up, must come down, and luckily it will go up again--as long as we don’t get attached to these ups and downs.
FIND SUPPORT. Ask for help and seek support from friends and professionals in areas you find challenging. For years I tried to do this “life journey business” on my own. I barely talked to anyone about it. I used my mat, my journal, and my escapism (literally to the middle of the Pacific) to try and figure it all out myself. It was about 5-6 years into this path that I really truly realized, I didn’t have to do this on my own, there were a LOT of other people who shared similar experiences and it was actually not as scary, frightening, and tough when I reached out and allowed my life to be surrounded by people, friends, and health care providers who I TRUSTED with my stories, experiences, and body. With this said...
BE WILLING TO CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIORS. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Be open to trying new modalities. Ask friends and other mentors if they have personal recommendations for supportive health care providers. Thinking outside the box might mean changing your Primary Care provider, or consider seeing a Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Physical Therapist, Private yoga classes, Reiki healer, Sound therapy, Homeopathy. With this said...
YOU'RE WORTH IT! Your health, your physical, mental, emotional, health and wellness, are priceless. Just because your insurance doesn’t cover it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the types of treatment or support you need. You may have to pay out of pocket to get what works for you. Sometimes this requires creative money planning and a re-evaluation of financial priorities. You might find excuses not to pay out of pocket because you don’t believe you are “worth it.” Believe me, YOU ARE! Without you, no amount of money or success in your life matters. Your physical and mental presence is the most priceless asset you have.
New You really means a new attitude and commitment to finding time every day to peel back the layers of all the bullshit, drama, and habits that limit your ability see, think, feel clear, and to heal the parts that feel broken or out of alignment. It requires taking “me” time every day (some days more than others) to do the work. So, I don’t mean to burst your New Year Resolution bubble if you’ve been flying high on the global energy created by the changing of a year, but I do hope you find more truth and lasting motivation for your New Year mindset.
From my heart to yours,