"I'm gonna be a new level of awesome this year!"
Declarations like this are pretty common when the new year rolls around. I never really thought much about them outside of the fact that it's usually not more than a passing sentiment that lasts for a few weeks. Thinking a little more about it though, it feels like we're culturally wired to assess ourselves in a mostly negative way and declare that we must do better. This doesn't sit well with me.
Continuous self-improvement is admirable, and I imagine generally happens as a function of aging. I'm sure some people can find creative ways to measure the improvement, sure, but that's not what I'm getting at. I'm talking about the feeling that we weren't good enough in the prior year. That seems like the underlying sentiment behind these annual declarations. The cultural phenomenon subtly allows us to lessen ourselves in the name of a passing year.
I think that's crappy. We should be giving ourselves the space and understanding that we did what we could with that time. Whatever we could not do doesn't matter, because we're not going to get that time back anyway. It's better to declare that you were as awesome as you could be, and that's enough to make you a valuable human. Never feel that you were less than that. Celebrate who you are, not what you could have been.