5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year!
Amidst the half-hearted warbling refrains of Auld Lang Syne, distant fireworks sparking from across the border, so came to pass the end of the year we all thought would never end. 2020 pathetically limped out of view with nary a “see ya!” from the world and we all turned our sights to the uncertainty that was 2021.
The bar was set low, so low that all 2021 had to do was: “not be 2020”, and it would have far exceeded our expectations.
Now here we are amongst the chilly cool weather ushering in a cleanse of the old year, rain washing away the dirt and grime of battling our way through the muck of 2020 and into a clearer new year.
But the usual New Year Traditions did not seem a fitting way to celebrate the end of this strange year, one unlike any other in our recent history. Much like everyone else, we used to see New Year’s as a time of renewal and a chance to craft the good old “New Year Resolution” list – a somewhat Sisyphean attempt at finally changing my ways – but this year it felt odd and empty and we struggled to find the motivation to even organize our thoughts.
Turns out we are not the only one who feels this way: according to Dr. Katy Milkman, a behavioral scientist and professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, “research shows that people are more likely to pursue their goals during times that feel like new beginnings in their lives.” And for most people, right now 2021 kind of just feels a little more like 2020 Part 2.
But instead of crumpling up the frustratingly blank piece of paper you’ve been staring at blankly, we’re going to do what we’ve done best all last year: pivot, and adapt, and figure out a way to still make a change to our lives in the new year the best way we can!
So, pencils up, let’s dive into why this year, we at Beauty Undercover is doing away with old school New Year’s Resolutions, and what we’re going to be doing instead.
2020 was rough, but as the saying goes, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” So take some time to look back, and find the positives scattered amongst a year of turmoil and upheaval. Perhaps it was some new hobby you picked up during Circuit Breaker? Or being able to have spent more time with your family that you would normally not get to? The 2 months of no social activities showed you where you were spending unnecessary finances on? Make a list of positives to be grateful for and start to redefine what truly matters to you.
If you’re struggling to come up with anything good off the top of your head, here’s a trick to try for the coming year: instead of Resolutions, make a plan to create a keepsake of Rememberlutions instead!
What’s that you say?
It’s simple: every time something happens that makes you feel proud or accomplished, write it down on a little note and stick it into a jar for keepsakes.
No achievement too big or too small, too personal or too insignificant! At the end of the year, you’ll have a jarful of notes that remind you of everything you’ve accomplished, and trust me, most times you’d be surprised by the amount of positives that you may have forgotten happened that year.
If nothing else, hey, you made it!
If I have told you in March when the pandemic was announced that life would change and continue changing for the next 9 months, would you have thought it possible to soldier through?
The very fact that you are here in the new year, hale and hearty, proves exactly how adaptable and resilient you are!
Bad pun aside, what most people are starting to realize is how silly the idea of a short-term resolution is in this time, and how many of us were really following this tradition out of a sense of peer pressure or hopping on the bandwagon.
Resolutions are tough enough in any normal year, this year we’re taking that extra pressure off ourselves so as not to set ourselves up for disappointment. Experts say that for 2021, it may be healthier to commit to just one or two specific, smaller and more attainable goals to help develop confidence and improving your well-being.
This year, we’re focusing on making Plans, not Resolutions.
It’s time to ask yourself the tough questions: How can you make your reality the best that it can be under the current circumstances in the world? Be brutally honest. What you want to avoid is making some grand, sweeping statement that really might not be realistic in the current climate (You can take a raincheck on those “travel and see more of the world” plans for now)
Think about breaking down your big goals into more bite-sized, achievable ones, for example instead of the typical “lose 5kgs this year” resolution, perhaps aim for “replace at least 4 meals a week with a healthier alternative”.
Also since you aren’t rushing to construct your resolution list take some time to figure out whether you are making this decision because it’ll help you feel better or happier in the long run, or whether it’s just a “trendy” decision. Shift your focus to being more present in the moment and mindful, rather than trying to take on lifelong bad habits in one go.
If you’ve done steps 1 & 2 you might now come to the juncture of:
But what is even the point of me trying to improve myself, the world is already messed up and at a halt as it is!
To this we say, think of using this time now as prep time. Yes it might feel like any effort we make might be useless or pointless since everything seems stagnant at the moment, but instead come at it from the perspective of getting to take the pressure off of your goals because there is no hard and fast time-sensitive endpoint to rush to now. Just try and take things day by day, month by month, being mindful in the moment more. Slight improvements are better than nothing!
If you feel up to it, use this chance to better ourselves in creative ways that you may not have had a chance to otherwise due to the pandemic; instead of money spent on travelling what can I do with this money I wouldn’t otherwise? Maybe finally sign up for that foreign language course you’ve been meaning to?
Here’s a quick fun list to inspire you if you’re out of ideas!
The list goes on!
You’d never know when you’d have this kind of time again, and who knows, indulging in this new endeavour could end up opening doors that you never imagined it would!
Lastly, and most importantly on this list: cut yourself some slack.
You’ve already survived 2020, don’t ruin it by tearing yourself apart over some unnecessary pressure in 2021.
Give yourself a pat on the back for already making it this far and in one piece!
So what if you don’t fulfil any big goals or plans within these first few months of the new year?
Be gentle with yourself. It’s a weird time for everyone everywhere and the best thing you can do for yourself is not to set yourself up for more stress and disappointment by expecting too much too fast, which would be counter-productive.
You can always try again.
Start small, learn to celebrate the journey of working towards a positive change rather than rushing to the end.
If you take away one thing from this entire article, Dear Reader, is to grant yourself some grace and self-compassion, and to approach all things with a kinder smile and a more forgiving heart.
Here’s to 2021 folks, with all the mysteries it might hold. How exciting!
One reason why New Year Resolutions are so difficult to achieve even in a normal year is that most of the time, we're probably trying to do it alone.
Know that this is a universal issue; half the reason why doctors and mentors encourage us to document progress of goals and celebrating small wins on social media - to hold ourselves accountable and to feel the support from your peers.
In a time of being socially distant, it is especially important now more than ever that most of us would reach out for that helping hand to make a change in our lives, and sometimes that friendly face can come from the most unexpected of places!
Be it an acquaintance facing the same issues, your regular hairstylist-slash-relationship-therapist, or even your friendly facial therapist that you pour your worries out to every few weeks during a treatment sesh.
It's important to remember that there are those who are willing to listen and help us along our journey.
Sometimes change can start not just from within, but from the outside as well.
This got us thinking... could we at Beauty Undercover do more to be of service to you, our dearest readers?
As 2020 got us reflecting about who we are and who we want to be, we want to hear from you.
We're setting up a Telegram Group #beautybff where you can share your suggestions or queries directly with us. Whether you're hoping to find out about the latest hair treatment or where to go for hair colours under $100, send a message our way and we will reply ASAP.
Who knows, you may just find like-minded #beautybffs in the group to embark on the same journey with you!
Join us on Telegram here!