I don’t know about you, but my social media seems to be full of these two seemingly opposing invitations right now. Which do you subscribe to?
Personally, I find that I subscribe to both! I don’t believe I am copping out, but I do wonder if they are not as conflicting as they may seem.
Research shows us:
- The psychological impact of certain dates – like the new year, a big birthday, or a significant anniversary – is very powerful. They call it the round number effect and is much greater than other non-symbolic dates.
- Self-acceptance is the foundation of self-confidence. In fact, Rogers asserts that we can change most once we accept ourselves.
"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself, just as I am, then I can change" (Carl Rogers)
- A fresh start is a very powerful tool in creating lasting change and new habits. A fresh start may not be a new year, but it might coincide.
- To transition successfully, we must first let go of the past. Endings are critical and necessary for new beginnings to become possible.
- Shaming is counterproductive when trying to motivate others to change.
So, I suggest this is one of those ‘both-and’ situations. Yes, the new year probably could offer the possibility of a new you. And, yes, love yourself, just as you are.
By accepting who you are, you have the potential to be even more of you. By allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you can better imagine an alternative reality. By letting go of past shame and protectiveness, you let the universe know you are open to new the possibilities.
Sounds good to me – sign me up.
References – great books alert…
Bridges, W. (2004) Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes.
Brown, B. (2021) Atlas of the Heart
Fraser-Mackenzie, P., Sung, J, M., Johnson, E.V. The prospect of a perfect ending: Loss aversion and the round-number bias. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Volume 131, November 2015, Pages 67-80
Milkman, Katy (2021) How to change: The science of getting from where you are to where you want to be.