New Year, New You: Expectations v Reality & How to Bridge the Gap

beautiful sunrise to start the day
"SKY for New Year's card" by skyseeker is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The bells have come and gone, the party glasses gleam in the fading light, and a brand-new year stretches before us like a blank canvas. It's a time for hope, for fresh starts, for whispered mantras of "New year, New me!" But let's be honest, those shiny expectations often come face-to-face with the messy reality of daily life, leaving us feeling deflated and defeated before February even arrives.

Here could be some of mine:
Expectation: Waking up energized, sprinting to the gym, fuelled by quinoa (why do I always pronounce this kwi-no-a) power bowls and inspirational podcasts.
Reality: Snoozing till the last possible second, fuelled by leftover mince pies and the lingering guilt of last night's pie and mash.
Expectation: Cultivating zen-like serenity, radiating gratitude and radiating calmness in response to life's everyday annoyances.
Reality: Snapping at the barista for messing up your oat milk latte, then muttering obscenities at the guy who cuts you up in traffic.
Expectation: Mastering a new language, writing *that* novel, becoming a social media influencer with impeccable style and wanderlust-inducing travel photos.
Reality: Binge-watching Netflix shows you've already seen while scrolling through Instagram accounts that make you feel inadequate.

But before you drown your dreams in another cup of tea (or pot of coffee), take a deep breath. The gap between aspiration and achievement is nothing new. In fact, it's what makes achieving even small victories so damn satisfying. The key is to ditch the all-or-nothing mentality and embrace the beautiful mess of progress.

Here are some tips to bridge the gap between your shiny New Year's expectations and the lived experience:
Start small: Swap "write a novel" for "write one page a day." Replace "run a marathon" with "go for a 10-minute walk." Small, achievable goals are less intimidating and more likely to stick.
Focus on habits, not goals: Building healthy habits is like building a strong foundation. Once you have an automatic morning exercise routine or a nightly meditation practice, the bigger goals become easier to reach.
Forgive yourself: Life happens. Slip-ups are inevitable. Instead of berating yourself, acknowledge the stumble, dust yourself off, and get back on track. Self-compassion is a powerful tool for lasting change.
Celebrate progress, not perfection: Did you actually go for that walk? Did you write that page? That's a victory! Pat yourself on the back and appreciate how far you've come.
Find your tribe: Surround yourself with supportive people who share your goals and inspire you to be your best self. A cheering squad makes the journey feel lighter and more fun.

Remember, "New year, New you!" doesn't have to mean a complete overhaul. It's about embracing the potential for growth, celebrating the little wins, and learning from the inevitable setbacks. So go ahead, dream big, but embrace the journey, bumps and all. You've got this, not on January 1st, but every single day of the year.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I’m off to meditate now, a gentle one... and then have another mince pie!

If you are interested in learning more about mindful coaching and facilitation and how I can help you, please drop me a message on LinkedIn, or get in touch to find out more.


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