Hannah MacMillan

I am a new me… I think?

Well, here we are. Yet another year has passed in the blink of an eye. Where does the time go? How has this happened? All I’ve done is work. Are the days getting faster?

Fun fact: yes, they are!

I’m not going to get too far into it because I’m not a scientist of any sort (surprise!) and I’m going to assume that you all have some sort of internet access. But, due to climate change, we actually lost a number of hours in our day, because the world is spinning a little faster. Go on, Google it. Dare ya!

But that’s a different article. What else is there really to discuss apart from the wonderful time of the year that is the festive season? Or perhaps what fabulous plans and goals we are setting for ourselves in the big year? Yes, your year – 2023!

It’s funny, though, how people can take what they consider a goal and turn it into a limitation. Now don’t jump at my throat just yet. I’m not here to make you doubt whatever your plans are, or ruin your whole year before it’s even started. And I’m not talking about the usual list:

  1. Get healthier/diet/lose weight
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Drink more water
  4. Get back into running, or hop back on that bike that’s been sitting in the garage for the last two years
  5. Get that promotion

Etc, etc etc. These are all great things that we should all be doing, no matter what time of year it is. Go out and get those goals ticked off that pretty planner you have. You got this. I’m talking about the harder mindset we get ourselves into, the pressure we put on ourselves on a daily basis that simply heightens because the world did another 365 days. Woohoo.

The anxiety of being better is a common thing, a more recognised thing in the modern world, and taken more seriously too. But no one really discusses how bad it can get at this time of year. Personally, it hit me like a ton of bricks, and I didn’t even have any resolutions to start with. It’s a rare occasion that I do have one. Why set myself up for failure?

Aha, there it is. I literally just typed out my own negative thought process.

Let’s talk about resolutions that didn’t go to plan. When I was 7, I was desperately determined that my goal was to become a Dinosaur Bone Digger, or archeologist for short. When I was 14, I wanted to become a nurse, exactly like my mum, until I realised that broken bones and extreme gore is the last thing my stomach can deal with. When I was 18, 19, 20, 21, I was going to quit smoking. At 27, I’m still at it (sorry, Granny). When I was 25, dry January was very tempting, until I remembered my birthday is January 2nd. So that went down like a lead balloon too.

Ok, so maybe younger me was more focused on a career path than a diet. But what I’m trying to say is, it really doesn’t matter. I had all of these goals in mind at some point. Yes, some I should probably pick up and try again and yes, some of them might have been slightly out of my grasp for my age. Technically, though, all of them were achievable at my own pace. Of course I was never going to head out on a historical archaeological dig at the age of 7, but I might have when I was 37. Maybe I’ll never again touch a cigarette or a drink when I wake up tomorrow morning. Exaggerated I know, but why do we put so much pressure on ourselves just because someone decided “New Year, New Me” was a great slogan? It’s a darn good caption, it’s catchy, but I also don’t believe that bulls are red or have wings because of an energy drink.

I know I sound ridiculously negative. Hannah, it’s a New Year, look on the bright side, think of all the great things to come! Maybe I’ll get back into acting and screen writing. Maybe I’ll give theatre or stand-up comedy a go. Maybe I’ll start a business. Maybe I will actually quit smoking. Who knows?

I was thinking about this while I was watching my friends writing in their new diaries, setting out their own plans and goals for the year. They were so confident in what they were writing, discussing their paths to the successful point, helping each other out and spreading ideas. And, for a split second, I thought: “You know what, I might get one of those wee diary things. They actually look helpful, set yourself toward a goal you can look at every day…” Then my thought process was sharply interrupted as the dreaded sentence was used: “I’m just going to manifest all this energy into my goals.” And I’m out.

Noting down these little things does really help, it does. I write lists constantly, especially when my mind feels foggy. A little reminder that’s closed away, only for your eyes when you need it. A little list that you can tick off as the days and months go on. A calendar with a motivational quote for each day. An incentive podcast with helpful, mindful science.

Whatever makes you feel better, you should do, whether there’s a catchy caption involved or not. I guess what I’m trying to say is, whatever you do this year, don’t beat yourself up in your own mind for the big, small, or even medium failures. Success isn’t made with a time limit but with baby steps that make you comfortable and that you can celebrate in your own way too. Take your time.

I think that can be the new me.