Be kind to yourself this year

It's a new year! Happy New Year to you! 2024. So...what now?


How’s your January going so far? Have you reflected on 2023 and decided you would like to make changes in 2024? January can be a mixed bag. With the festive season done and dusted, which in itself can be financially and emotionally draining, with all the societal pressure of buying gifts, and/or family expectations and events to attend, etc. Once January hits us, it can feel a little anti-climatic and we can be left wondering what the new year has in store for us.

There can be a lot of societal pressure to create a 'brand new you’, to make and stick to resolutions such as 'dry January', or 'veganuary'. You might be tempted to sign up to a new exercise regime, or a park run. These are all great healthy activities and intentions... but you know what? They can all be incredibly hard to keep up with, particularly during January; the coldest, darkest, dampest month of the year (in the UK at least!) when all we might feel like doing is hibernating! We may just want to sit and quietly read a book, watch our favourite TV and films on Netflix or listen to some music. 

New habits

And therein lies the problem sometimes. I know that at the beginning of a new year, I would often feel determined to stick to a new regime, and then I’d be super hard on myself when I didn’t feel like doing it one day and I'd fail to complete an intended activity.  And then I’d revert to my old ways, berate myself and the cycle of self-loathing would continue!

New habits and routines take time and lots of practice. Why would we be any good at it without prior experience or practice and a whole heap of determination?! How do we set goals and reach them? How can we be consistent with a new habit?

Start small - one step at a time

So, if you want to try something new this year, I recommend starting really small and going veryeasy on yourself. Start small. Maybe try one new activity for one minute, and build up from there. Do what’s manageable and don’t give yourself a hard time if you find you can’t keep up with your regime. Let yourself off one day, two days a week... however many days you need, and then come back to it when you feel ready.

We all make mistakes, all the time. We all lack energy some days. Starting small means it’s harder to beat yourself up, and you can feel a sense of achievement for having completed an activity. Go you - win-win!

You are enough

However, you don’t have to keep up with what everyone else is doing. You have a choice. You might have too much on your plate, emotionally and physically, to introduce any new habits into your life right now. You might be busy caring for others and need time to just chill and do nothing. That’s OK too. You are enough!

Take good care of yourself and please remember to be kind to yourself in 2024 - you deserve it! 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Ludlow SY8 & Craven Arms SY7
Written by Fran Mayer, Counsellor; MBACP; FdSc; Therapeutic Counsellor; Therapist;
Ludlow SY8 & Craven Arms SY7

Hello! I'm Fran and I'm a qualified counsellor working privately at The Wetmore Clinic in Shropshire. I also volunteer as a counsellor for Serenity Counselling in Wolverhampton. I love nature, dogs, hiking, coffee, reading and rollerskating - although not all at the same time! I also have a terrible sense of humour...

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