Megan Taylor and Kristina Evans

The final strike of the clock on the 31st of December is something to celebrate every year. Moving from one year to the next for many is a happy time spent with friends and family who reminisce about the past months and make plans for the next. Flashes of fireworks, balloons, dance floors and drinks fill our minds when we remember the joyous crowds of New Years Eve. But for some, New Year's Day is much less bright, shining a light on last year’s failed resolutions rather than how far we have come this year.

A new year's resolution is a funny thing. Each year we might decide that specifically January 1st is the perfect day to start that journey to shed a few pounds. It also might be the perfect day to join a dating app, to reach out to old friends, to find a new hobby or to take up that language you always wanted to learn. But then, that memory starts to kick in, the memory that you promised you would do this last year too, and the year before that, but you never did. New year, a time meant for hope and promise, can sometimes be overshadowed by what we see as the anniversary of our failed promises from the year before, and the day which we decide that we must drastically do things differently to be happy, must drastically become a ‘new me’.

However, this feeling of dread we might feel on this day just proves that having unattainable goals helps no one. No matter how much you spend on yoga matts, dating site subscriptions, protein powder and new books you’ll never read, punishing yourself will never make you the person you want to be. Who cares if you haven’t learnt Spanish by February or dropped a dress size in one month? This year is the perfect year to ditch the time limits on change, move at your own pace, and remember that the 1st of January is no different to the 19th of May or the 28th of September. Change starts with you, not with a day.

Most people are hungover or tired on New Year's Day, and so they should be! So don’t be so hard on yourself- let yourself indulge. Order that takeaway, stay in your pjs on the couch watching crappy Netflix movies all day, ignore the mountain of clothes that needs washing, have the whole tub of celebrations to yourself (leaving the bounty’s of course)- take the day to be a couch potato in every sense of the word, if that’s what you need.

Whilst eating healthily, exercising regularly, reading more and pursuing your passions are all examples of positive changes which can improve our wellbeing, resolutions should never restrict the quality of our happiness.

It’s so easy to feel deflated and give up on our goals when we don’t strictly stick to them in the first few weeks of the year. We have all heard “well that’s my resolution out the window,” but just because you had a goal you didn’t achieve in January, that doesn't need to be the end of your journey towards making yourself happier. Don't punish yourself for slipping back into last year’s habits, these things take time and cheat days or weeks are just as important as achieving your goal.

There is no need to completely disregard your 2021 self. The old you doesn’t need to be ditched and replaced by a brand shiny new version every year. Strive towards being a better you, but don’t forget that you never need to be a “new you,” don’t downplay how far you’ve already come.