How the 'New Year, New You' Craze is Sabotaging US


We just got home from our 5-day holiday family tour. On the drive home, I couldn't help but notice all of the signs and ads proclaiming that *this* program, gym membership, magical diet pill, etc. will transform you in to a better version of yourself. 

Admittedly, I used to love hopping on the bandwagon after the holidays, hustling my butt to the gym for a little overexercising/under eating cocktail, while posting mad inspirational pics with slogans like "Sweat is just fat crying" all over social media. 

I was pretty solid at it for a while, until it felt terrible and I hadn't "transformed" anything except my fleeting motivation and confidence in to a puddle of self-doubt. 

Before I knew it, 'New Year, New Me' looked like burnout and polishing off a pint of Ben & Jerry's in front of an HGTV marathon. It also looked like zero progress in working through the heavy emotional baggage underlying this vicious cycle.

The same old self-loathing, self-deprecating script played over and over in my head day in and day out. Food and my body were the enemies and every magazine, video and expert I turned to for advice always came up short.

It wasn't until I realized that embracing the me beneath the self-hatred was where the real magic lived. The constant pursuit of needing to create a new version of myself, rather than learning to love what was already there, was setting me up for eternal failure.

So, in late 2011, I bit the bullet and started to "do the work." I went to therapy, I started journaling, I slowly began to lift the exercise/food "rules" and my entire life opened up. I lost the weight. I woke up in the morning capable of taking cues from my body. It told me what I needed to know. I began to trust myself and my body and I learned that but simply honoring myself through healthy movement and beautiful foods that were intended to nourish and strengthen me, the rest of me felt the effects too.

The most miraculous result of this new approach, however, was my ability to finally live a more present life for the people in it, myself included. 

And here I am, 3 years later...I launched my dream business, started writing my first book, created an online community and program for female entrepreneurs, became a work from home mama and left my corporate career. I have spent more time with my family in the last 7 months than I have in the last 3 years and I have done it all without obsessing or worrying about food and exercise.

Releasing the grip of this worry from my day-to-day experience has served as a proverbial permission slip to start really living the life I've always wanted. 

I've also given myself permission to not weigh myself or my food, nor obsess about counting carbs or calories, as I did in days of old. For me, numbers equal rules and rules equal the opportunity for failure and I just don't believe this is something we can fail at if we take the time to forgive ourselves and do the work beneath the surface to really heal. 

The human experience gives us infinity reasons to feel like we're not enough.

I believe that the new year can serve as a beautiful launching pad to create lasting change. But the key to creating the sustainable shift you desire is to recognize that there's no need for a 'new you,' just a new mindset of gratitude and self-love.

The same goes for your brand and business. You may feel a compulsion to light the dynamite stick and start over, while steering your company in an entirely new direction. Instead of spending countless hours worrying about the how and the what and where the heck to go next, try checking in with yourself. Why are you feeling this need to shift? What's no longer working and what do you want more of, instead? Once you can get clear on these questions, oftentimes, the urge to blow it up and start over turns in to more of a a tweak and course correct approach instead.

I wish for peace and pause for both of us on these final days of 2014 and a prosperous and a fulfilling new year that sets us up for long-lasting, soulful success.

Happy New Year, my friends. 

Amber Lilyestrom2 Comments