by Dr Ranjana Mitra

And just like that, it’s 2024!

So we start another year with new hopes and dreams. For many this transition from the old to the new will be a much welcome one. If 2023 hasn’t been very kind to us, we are happy to put it to bed and start afresh; for others, it is a time to consolidate the gains from the previous year or look forward to exciting times – perhaps the birth of a baby, a promotion at work, or the start of a new relationship.

Wherever we are on the spectrum of endings and renewals, many of us seem to get caught up in the need to make resolutions for the year ahead. These are often things to which we have given a lot of thought/things we believe we have failed at/ things we believe will make our lives better and brighter. There is no shortage of ideas, with January being marked as the month for veganism (Veganuary), dry month, walk your dog month, festival of sleep, national hug day, national pie day….(I’m sure more ideas are being dreamt up as you read this!).  Do we need annual ‘markers’ to drink less, eat more vegetables, walk more? I would say not. Most of us set ourselves goals throughout the year – whether that be to lose weight, pay off our credit card bills sooner, or make more time to see family/friends. If we manage to achieve our goals it will not be because they were new year (or mid-July!) resolutions, but because we really believed in how much they matter to us. When we really want something, it is possible to carve out the time and energy to pursue it; and overcome the inevitable hurdles everyday life throws at us. 

So, if you don’t have a resolution for the new year, don’t worry. You will get around to making one when you are ready. More interestingly, you may find yourself energetically pursuing a goal at some point during the year, without recalling the day when you ‘resolved’ to do so. We are constantly achieving a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. Getting through everyday life without throwing in the towel is a huge achievement for many of us. For starters – working parents with young children – I take my hat off to you!

All of that said, there’s one thing we are pretty rubbish at. And that’s care and compassion for ourselves. Most of us are better at caring for others than we are at caring for ourselves. Indeed, the latter can feel a bit self-indulgent. But remember we can only be of service to others when we are firing on all cylinders. It’s perfectly okay to let a few balls drop, without being consumed by guilt. Let’s all take the time to look after our mental health. Our relationships with ourselves underpins every other relationship we have/will have in life; and will determine what we are able to pursue and achieve and enjoy in life.

With warm wishes for a year of caring and compassion – for your self!


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