Every new year starts the same way: hundreds of TV commercials and advertisements about diets and workout programs are thrown in our faces. We're told that we need to completely reinvent who we are and what we look like. A lot of people throw around the mantra, "new year, new me," with the idea of changing themselves to become a happier, healthier person. But there's a reason why most New Year's resolutions don't stick.

Setting a goal to start running, even though you hate running, isn't a practical goal. Telling yourself that on January 1st, you're going to quit sugar, gluten, and dairy, and go to your local gym, when you've never gone a day without bread your whole life and have never been to the gym doesn't make much sense.

Ashleigh Monaco

The problem with the idea of creating a "new" you is that you're implying that you need to change who you are, and that who you are right now isn't good enough. Instead of going into the new year with the idea that you need to completely change yourself, follow the mantra of "new year, better me." 

The idea of a "better" you is better than a "new" you because it lets you accept that you aren't immediately trying to change yourself, but that you are only working to better yourself and improve your habits, behaviors, and your life.
Ashleigh Monaco

When it comes down to it, you can't really change who you are. If you don't like broccoli and you hate Zumba, you're not going to magically like them once the ball drops in New York City. And that's totally okay, because you don't need to be that kind of person. 

Embrace who you are. Set a goal this year that you're not going to create a "new" version of yourself, but a "better" version of yourself. Becoming a healthier person is a gradual process. You can't establish a habit overnight, but you can take steps to work towards it.

If your New Year's resolution is to cut out processed foods from your diet, start off easy. Immediately throwing out all of your potato chip bags and Oreo packages will only make you feel deprived, and will most likely lead to a binge later on. Start off by cutting out processed foods one day a week, then two, then three, replacing these snacks with fruit or vegetables and hummus.

Alternatively, if your resolution is to add more cardio to your workout routine, start small with thirty minutes of walking outside or on the treadmill. From there, gradually build it up to longer walks, and eventually, jogging. Simple actions like biking or walking to work, school, or the grocery store are easy ways to sneak cardio into your routine too.

espresso, coffee
Ashleigh Monaco

Every day, tell yourself that you're working towards being a better version of yourself. You don't need to wake up every New Year's day and vow to completely change who you are.

If you have unhealthy habits you want to change, don't punish yourself for having them. Instead, take gradual steps every day towards becoming a healthier you. Don't force yourself to run, lift weights, do a juice cleanse, swear off chocolate forever, or do anything you really don't want to do.

It takes a minimum of 21 days to establish a habit. Be kind to yourself as you work towards a healthier lifestyle and your New Year's resolutions. Improve your behavior from each day before. Give yourself room to breathe, accept who you are, and focus on becoming a better version of yourself every day.