New Year, Same You: Embracing Self-Compassion Instead of Pressure

As we stand on the brink of a new calendar year, it’s natural to feel the weight of expectations — the societal push towards a ‘New Year New You’. In last year’s Pause Purpose Play podcast New Year episode, New Year, Still You, I discussed the immense pressure we often face to shed parts of ourselves that we’re unhappy with. But as we all know, nothing magical happens when the calendar flips over.

Understanding the Pressure to Transform

If you’ve indulged over the festive season, you might face the unhelpful pressure to hit the gym and ‘burn it off’ and feel bad about your body. Lost your temper with the kids during the holidays? Suddenly, parenting books seem to only highlight your shortcomings. And if work piled up before the break, the urge to dive back in and catch up can lead to regretting the much-needed rest.

We often try to enforce change through self-blame and shame, but this approach isn’t the most effective way to change our behaviour. If you set unrealistic and perfectionistic goals around changes like getting fitter, reducing how much we shout at our kids, or being more productive at work, you can end up feeling disappointed when these unrealistic targets are inevitably missed.

Goals vs Values: Finding Sustainable Change

It’s important to differentiate between goals and values. Goals are specific targets, like being able to run a 5k race, whereas values are broader life directions, such as health or fitness. By aligning our goals with our values, we create a sustainable path that is more likely to stick in the long term. When it comes to parenting, for instance, aiming to shout less at the kids can align with values of calmness and compassion. Remember, a compassionate parent isn’t perfect; they’re just more self-aware and forgiving of their own human moments.You can still be a compassionate parent even if you shout at your kids from time to time. 

Work Productivity and Self-Compassion

At work, being productive isn’t about pushing harder. It’s about aligning with the purpose and mission of your work. If you’re neurodivergent, perhaps with an ADHD brain like myself, finding motivation for tasks perceived as dull can be challenging, so no wonder you find yourself procrastinating. Rather than just striving to do more, it’s about working smarter, not harder, and giving yourself permission to rest and recover.

New Year, Same You: Embracing Self-Compassion

As we conclude this year, remember to treat yourself with compassion. You’ve done the best you could with what you have. The past year might have brought challenges and joys, and it’s okay to acknowledge and accept this mix of emotions.

In my upcoming ADHD membership, I’ll be focusing on compassion and understanding for the whole person. You’ll get monthly expert workshops, bite-sized learning videos to learn without the overwhelm, and compassionate community support from other women with ADHD, to feel less alone in our experiences. It is my hope that more high-striving women can prevent ADHD burnout from spotting their patterns earlier, develop self-awareness and self-compassion. This new membership is about growth, learning from imperfections, and making progress together. You may sign up for the waitlist here:

A Compassionate Approach to the New Year

As we move into the new year, let’s focus on being more kind with ourselves. Changing habits is challenging, and compassion is a more effective tool than self-criticism.

For more insights and practical advice, tune in to the latest episode of the Pause Purpose Play podcast titled “Letting go of the ‘New Year, New You’ pressure” where we dive deeper into embracing self-compassion and releasing the unrealistic expectations often associated with the new year. Listen to the episode here.

Here’s to a new year filled with growth, understanding, and, most importantly, compassion towards ourselves. 🥂✨