24 Jan 2024 ///

‘New Year, New Me’ – A realistic guide on resolutions and what’s in and out for 2024

Somehow, we are already approaching the end of January; the start of 2024 is racing by at unprecedented speed. Schools are up and running and corporate cubicles have already drained their occupants of all the festive joy that they had clutched to, while gyms around the country are both overcrowded and simultaneously sneering at the sheer amount of people who will have to pay penalties for cancelling their memberships early. 

New Year’s resolutions rarely stick. A Time Magazine article claims that a staggering 80% of people fail to keep to their resolutions by February and only around 8% stick with them throughout the year. I am guilty of this myself, going from a dedicated two hours of studying Korean daily to a quick toilet lesson to keep my stupid little streak alive (oh, the shame). So, instead of hanging your head in shame, think of the new year as an opportunity to pick up some new things and rethink your routine. Let’s not try and completely reinvent ourselves when we can rather take more overarching steps that benefit us and those around us.

After Hours by Shauna Summers, via DTS

IN:

Therapy as a form of self-care: This is precisely what I mean when I refer to a more overarching approach because self-care will look different for every person. It’s not all about facemasks and candles and meditating or getting to the gym. You might be the most active person with their diet absolutely dialled in, but that has led to an unhealthy and unbalanced approach to daily life. Self-care can be as simple as getting out of the house, keeping active even if that activity level is minimal and prioritising activities and actions that bring a sense of fulfilment but the one bit of self-care I’d recommend to everyone is therapy. Fuck, get everyone you can on that. Friends, family and lovers alike . Learning to understand and manage our triggers is one of the most sane and valuable things we can do for ourselves. Let’s be honest; we have no chance to look at our own lives and experiences objectively. It’s important for every human, at some point, to speak to a professional about what they’re going through, have been through and to evaluate areas of self that need healing and addressing. It doesn’t always have to be a long dramatic endeavour, for some it might be simpler than for others but check in, evaluate and evolve. It will do wonders for your personal, professional and romantic lives.  I’d also like to include in this self-care segment, physical health; getting enough sleep (guys, we’re ageing) – or, even the most banal forms of self-care like getting that mole checked out or actually going for blood tests to see if you are in fact, gluten intolerant- hell, even start on some supplements. Why shouldn’t we feel our best?

Sort of digital detoxes: Now, hold up, don’t go on that digital detox just yet. I need you to read this article for me to get paid. However, this is an important issue that I think we often hear about without truly internalising its reality. Most of us are utterly addicted to the very device you’re reading this on. We are wasting away our lives on pure screen time alone. South Africans actually average the most screen time per day globally (around 9h 27m); not that I’m surprised – I see way too many people literally scrolling through TikTok while driving on the highway. Being online is an essential aspect of modern society. It is a treasure trove of information, but once again, if you’re consuming TikTok on the highway or spending more of your day on Instagram than you are in real life, you’re getting robbed of reality. Get outdoors, give yourself a buffer in the morning before doom scrolling and set up times that devices aren’t allowed so that you can be present and, I mean, fully present for those important people around you.

All things adulting: This is most certainly the hardest of all of the in’s because, well, even at the best of times, adulting is a fucking nightmare. Taxes, rent, saving for holidays, being able to save at all in a crippling cost of living crisis while my disdain for my medical aid provider grows by the second as they increase my monthly payment every three months? All of it is too much, but unfortunately, we have to do it.. I’m trying to save up for my wedding in Korea, all while feeling like I’m in an inescapable chokehold of monthly expenses when my debit orders do catastrophic damage to my bank balance. Frankly, I’m failing, but fortunately, that is all also part of the ebb and flow of adulting. I’d like to recommend a book by Sam Beckbessinger, ‘How to Manage Your Money like a Fucking Grownup: The Best Money Advice You Never Got’. Also, do your taxes. 

Being Politically Active as a South African: This is not the time and place for an at-length discussion about politics and certainly not with regards to the complexities thereof on a global and domestic scale, but given that it is an election year and given that this election plays a significant role in determining the trajectory of our country for at least a 5-year cycle I can no longer sit by as people complain about shortcomings in SA all while silently observing from the outside. The global geopolitical chaos of 2023 illuminated the need for political participation on both a global and particularly local level. Let’s not forget that decades of oppression and discrimination were fought against for a chance at democracy, for the right for all South Africans over 18 of all races and gender identities to choose who they want to represent them. I get that we feel let down, that it feels somewhat hopeless, that it feels like nothing much will change. That is certainly true when the youth’s fate is predominantly left to those who don’t represent our interests. Around 63.3% of South Africa’s population are people in the 15 to 34 age category, according to Statistics South Africa in 2020, but we have always been vastly outnumbered at the polls. There are, however, promising signs as 78.31% (445 089) of newly registered voters from November last year formed part of this demographic. So, this is more of a call to action. I know it can be depressing and overwhelming to be constantly bombarded with just how fragile our world is. Still, whether you participate privately or publicly, we simply have to participate. See you at the polls.

Photographed by Sora Shimazaki, via Pexels

Photographed by Sarah Chai, via Pexels

OUT:

Self-doubt: We can all be our best selves all the time. Creeping doubts are a normal part of day-to-day life. Channelled correctly, these doubts can be impactful precursors to immense growth as they tend to be reflective periods in which we can really hunker down and see what we want to keep and what we’d like to scrap. I am, however, referring more to the absolutely debilitating levels of self-doubt that feel paralysing—imposter syndrome on a professional and personal level. Let’s get this straight absolutely no one has it all figured out. No one knows what the fuck their doing, and that’s sort of the beauty of it all. There’s no need to feel left behind or embarrassed and certainly no reason to be inauthentic because, frankly, we’re all just moths flying endlessly from light to light, trying to figure shit out.

Self-destruction: I more than most often advocate for some level of hedonism, often adopting a “why the hell not” attitude and seeing where the chips fall. Unfortunately for me, that usually means a spiral into a deep depressive episode that takes weeks, if not months, to get out of, so in 2024, we are leaving all that shit behind. Look, I’m not saying don’t enjoy yourself. I, for one, am still going to indulge in my hedonistic tendencies, but the keyword here has to be balance. No more binges, body banging off the wall benders or breaking yourself down in self-pity. 

Over time/thinking/consumption: We are leaving many “overs”  this year. First and foremost is overtime. Granted, sometimes it has to be done, whether you’re an employee or self employed but once again guys, balance is key. You’re not good professionally if you’re burnt out.. Secondly, this year, we really need to leave overthinking behind. Imagine we are playing out whole scenarios before they even happen based on what assumptions, at best fucking miss me with that. I feel like I already have a million things to think of on a day-to-day basis, and simply put, I will try not to allow myself to spend a lot of that time fixated on fantasy. Last but not least, overconsumption. There simply is too much of a good thing, and wastage across the board is insane. We throw away an absolutely ridiculous amount of food, trends die, and items end up in landfills. The sheer demand for things means we are burning through crucial resources faster than they would ever be able to be replenished. So, this is a call to be more mindful. Buy smaller shopping carts and make sure you use everything, eat your leftovers, curate small but functional wardrobes, buy quality over quantity, and, most of all, be conscious of every consumer action you take. 

Not being present for yourself and others: I may have touched on this in the digital detox segment, but I mean it differently within this context. At the core of it, life is fundamentally one big game of time management. It’s finite and inevitably ends for all of us, so your job, above all else, is to choose how you will spend it. This brings me to my point: spend it wisely. Drop the “I’ll do it tomorrow” attitude because you’re only stealing your time and consuming that invaluable resource. Similarly, this also extends to respecting other people’s time. Fuck fashionably late, be there when you agreed on and be present. Time is the most valuable asset, so don’t neglect it.

Photographed by Ron Lach, via Pexels

Let me level with you. I’m not surprised that the failure rate of New Year’s resolutions is that high. Frankly, I don’t think people are all that desperate to change. We are a collection of flaws and frailties of self-loathing and doubt. We are acutely aware of all our shortcomings, but at the end of the day, they make us who we are. I don’t expect anyone ever to completely turn their life around and become a gym freak, a raw vegan health nut who never does anything wrong. Hopefully this is a guide on how you and I can be even more likeable to ourselves and those around us.

Written by: Casey Delport

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