I hate New Year’s resolutions. I can’t actually remember the last time I made one because frankly, I think they are a waste of time and do nothing more than make us feel guilty when we eventually succumb to temptation. Case in point: last week I received a press release from the Dietitians Association of Australia stating that 42 per cent of women aged 18-24 wanted to lose weight in 2013. And guess what? Practically the same percentage pledged to do the exactly the same thing last year.
I’ve been contemplating why I hate New Year’s resolutions so much this past weekend. After much deliberation I’ve put it down to the fact that women feel vulnerable when there is external pressure for self-improvement and thus feel the need to fix it. Especially when this pressure is shoved in our faces by advertising companies. Somehow by eliminating x, y, and z from your lives, you're going to find a happier, healthier and more fulfilled you ... now hand over that credit card
. What a crock.
On the contrary in the last week of work in 2012, I was pleasantly surprised by something that arrived in our office. What’s more it made me think of New Year’s resolutions in a whole new way. The package was for our health and features writer Sophie Miura and it was from Special K. Now before you tune out thinking this is nothing but a plug, hear me out. On the contrary it was something I was genuinely impressed with.
Sophie received a big glass jar. She was urged to ask everyone in the office to write down on a small piece of paper one thing they’d like to gain
in 2013 and pop it in there. Once the jar was full, Sophie was to return it and on behalf of madison
Special K would donate $1 for every “gain” (and an additional $100 if the jar was full) to the global non-for-profit charity Dress For Success, who help provide clothing, advice and support for disadvantaged women seeking employment.
Turns out the jar is in larger part related to Special K’s National Gain Day
which happened on the 3rd but is celebrated throughout the whole month of January. (If you’re quick, you can still declare your own “gain” on their website and have $1 on your behalf donated to Dress For Success). But I digress, the point is at the end of last year, the jar was filled to the brim with madison’s
own declarations for positive things we’d like to gain in 2013.
I can’t exactly remember what I wrote down (courtesy of the post-holiday daze), but it was along the lines of having more time with friends, family and loved ones. Positive, non?
In fact, if I were to open each and every one of those pieces of paper (which of course, I never would ...that’s rude and creepy), I guarantee they would be equally as affirmative and constructive. None of this eliminating stuff from your life in order to feel better about yourself.
So, I guess the point of my blog today is that when you flip New Year’s resolutions into something you want to gain, even the harshest sceptic like myself can feel empowered. Frankly, I believe we’re all fine exactly the way we are. While there are areas for improvement within each of us, these shouldn’t be manipulated into making us feel like we need to make false promises to ourselves all for the sake of being "better" than we already are.
So I urge you to think about what you want to gain
in 2013 instead of what you need to lose
. I’d love to hear your thoughts ... Jessica Montague is madison’s acting features associate. You can follow her on Twitter here