“New Year, New You” is a marketing hook used to sell all sorts of things this month.
It’s also one of my least favorite phrases ever.
I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with it. They are just innocent little words.
And I’m not saying there is anything intentionally salesy or manipulative about it. I’m sure it is quite well-meaning in most cases.
“New Year, New You” probably attracts a whole lot of people looking forward with hope and anticipation in this first week of the new year. Ready to step into a new way of seeing life, a new way of being in the world.
Offering those interested people resources to support their growth—especially when those resources point them back to their own wisdom—is a wonderful thing.
And as much as I’m not a fan, I’ve no doubt benefitted from this hook. The Little Book of Big Change was a “New Year, New You” book for my publisher in 2016 (it sat finished for half a year just so that the official release could be January 2; perfect timing to nab people associating big change with a new calendar year).
It’s just that for me, “New Year, New You” meant (in my mind) the-current-me-is-not-enough-so-I-better-learn/do/buy-more-so-that-I-can-be-a-better-me.
Which never works. Well, let me correct that. It sometimes “works” for a very short time which, in my experience, was worse than it not working at all. Those newfound behavioral plans, inspirational memes, and other band-aids worked just long enough to dupe me into believing that the old, not-good-enough me was long gone.
Until some piece of the old, not-good-enough me inevitably resurfaced. Then it was back to fictional square one, worse for wear.
Now, this was just me. If you don’t hear “New Year, New You” that way, more power to you. If that phrase doesn’t get you thinking there is something about you that needs fixing so that you can finally be better, that’s really great.
I could just never manage to hear it innocently, so I wanted to share what I like better in case you could use a revised version.
New Year, Original You.
Because the truth is, nothing needs fixing. ‘Nothing lacking, nothing broken’ as a couple of my colleagues like to put it.
You are whole and perfect right now. The only “problem” is that you don’t believe that.
You (along with the bulk of the rest of us—don’t worry, it’s not personal) are so focused on and identified with the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you don’t like that you’re missing the fact that they don’t have anything to do with you anyway.
We’re looking past the consciousness and stable perfection of who we are. Instead, we’re trying to focus on the moving targets we don’t like—the human experiences we’re mistakenly calling “me” and “mine”.
And even that is not something you need to fix. But it is something worth looking toward and possibly investing in, in my humble opinion. It certainly has been for me.
Every moment is unfolding perfectly, leading you back to the real you. Every insight is a pointer. Every bit of suffering is also a pointer.
The suffering shows you that you’re staring at the moving target (your experience) rather than toward the still truth. No wonder you’re frustrated and disoriented. You’re associating your identity with something that is in constant flux.
Let your feelings show you the way. You are light, joyful awareness. Heaviness is what happens when you get tangled in your experience, mistaking that for who you are.
Can you see how life is unfolding perfectly to lead you back to you? When you feel heaviness, that’s an invitation to go back to being conscious awareness. (Literally, lose interest in the content your mind is creating. Step back and be the watcher of this experience).
The Original You—the only you you actually can be—knows this.