Not All Meaningful Things Start in the First Week of January

Don’t Get Caught Up in the White Noise of What You *Think* You Should Do

This week has been interesting.

In my last podcast about goal setting, I talked about conversations I’ve been eavesdropping on online regarding diet culture.

First, there was the side of the conversation that says that diet culture is toxic. (This happens to be where I land in the argument, by the way. I am willing to firmly plant my foot in cement on my stance that diet culture is toxic.)

Then, I was privy to stumble upon another conversation regarding diet culture. This one was starkly different from anything I’d read and it emphasized that the harping on diet culture being toxic had become, in its own way, toxic.

Whoaaaaaa. Mind blown.

It got me thinking about events of the past year and how certain times or places caused people to behave in ways that they wouldn’t normally.

People like to believe they have free will, but for the most part, the bulk of our actions are controlled by a number of factors in the environment that we have no awareness of.

I’ll use an example from my time working at a restaurant in Times Square- and I promise- I’ll eventually loop back to diet culture.

Every Wednesday, people would all rush into the restaurant an hour before the matinees began, and they all would scurry to the bar area because “they were told they could get served fast there.”

Then, for whatever reason, they tried to “make up in their heads” the things they thought would be the quickest, usually opting for chicken, which takes longer to prepare than any other sort of protein.

The people would become anxious, constantly tracing employees’ body movements with their eyes, not allowing anyone a minute of respite from their gaze until the food arrived, which usually they had to then scarf down in 5–7 minutes.

What they didn’t take into account, as most people do not, is that EVERYONE had the same idea. They all came in at the same time because the idea to do so was a “norm” they were following.

Sometimes, they would get vehemently angry that their request for employees to defy the laws of physics (or common sense) was unachievable, and they would leave in an angry huff.

The problem was not so much that one person behaved this way, but that a collective of people behaved this way on Wednesdays, every single week, for years.

“Oh, we should eat before this show.”

The question I would pose regarding this is “why was everyone hungry at the same time on a Wednesday?”

They weren’t.

They were eating out of habit because that was the “thing to do before the show.”

Society, and the concept of “an afternoon in Times Square” dictated the action of eating before the show- not the idea that the people were actually hungry. The experience for many of them was almost always rushed and miserable because they created this idea in their head that “this will be quick,” not taking into account that a hundred other people also had that idea.

A lot of what we do is controlled by our environment and society.

This brings me back to the conversation from before about the toxicity with diet culture and, apparently, the equivalent toxicity with anti-diet culture.

Do you know what I think is toxic? BELIEVING YOU NEED TO START SOMETHING ON THE FUCKING 1ST OF JANUARY!

The new year has always been closely associated with weight loss. Why? Who knows? It was made up, by someone, somewhere! It’s the thing to do.

I guess people caught on, so diet culture decided this was a “good way to make money!”

Who can blame them? Everyone wants the opportunity to make money!

The problem is, diet culture is really toxic, sucks money from people, and doesn’t work. So, a bunch of well-meaning people in the health and wellness industry decided to start speaking up against diet culture!

What resulted? A lot of white noise, because now, everyone is yelling to be heard.

People don’t know what to listen to, because everyone is screaming. Even me! I’m screaming! This article is part of the white noise! Part of the fray! It’s lost. It won’t be read.

Just like anything political around the time of the election wasn’t read, when too much talking is going on, the internet becomes a sea of white noise.

I just want to clear this up:

Your idea to begin something new on January 1st is coming from pressure from others in society. It is like the idea that you “better eat before the show.” You’re thinking you have to do this because it’s the “thing people do in this situation,” and you’re feeling guilty that so many others are starting something new “right now, in the first week of the year, when it’s important.”

All of that is a load of bull.

If you think back in your life to anything you ever achieved consistent success with, I would be willing to bet that you did not begin on January 1st.

The idea that people start new things on January 1st was made up by industries that want your money. It’s all a lie.

If you sifted through the white noise and got to here, I applaud you.

Don’t let the herd tell you that you need to be doing something drastic right now.

All you need to do is focus on what you want and then set attainable goals to work toward that. You don’t have to do it this week, either. Wait until March! April is great! The first week of January won’t make or break your life.

Originally published at https://www.getthefuckoff.com on January 5, 2021.

I’m an unconventional thinker with quick wit. Coach. Sociologist. Mindset shift guru. Creator of getthefuckoff.com and the Get The F*ck Off Podcast

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