The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
After getting through the first few weeks of 2022, there is no avoiding the plethora of self-help and “glow up” trends all across social media and the internet. Whether that means unrealistic diets that you can try or detoxes for clearer skin, it’s definitely no secret that certain products are marketed towards us to promote the idea that an exterior object will help us achieve our new goals of improving our wellness. While I am a huge proponent of introspection and taking better care of yourself, the new year always feels like there is suddenly a time limit on when you should be improving. The rush to “glow up” fast is seen across Instagram ads for skincare products, clickbait about getting abs in two weeks, and TikTok influencers waking up at 4:30 AM to go on a jog to start the day.
While taking care of your skin, eating more nutritious food and actively caring for your well-being are all incredible habits to implement, I believe we oftentimes underestimate the time it will take to see the results of our new practices. In my personal experience, I have continuously gone through cycles of extreme motivation and intense burnout when I implement habits with unsustainable intentions or unrealistic expectations. With trends that we have all seen about self-improvement, like the “that girl” movement, my ongoing journey to incorporate habits that will bring joy into my life always felt like chasing a goal with very little time. It was only after my first quarter at college that my thoughts towards needing to radically change for the better had shifted to think more long term.
While, as college students, we might tend to assign deadlines to increase our effectiveness and reach our goals by a certain time, self-improvement is genuinely about creating a fundamentally better version of ourselves. After years of fast diet culture and long journaling prompts that I would only continue for a few days, “glowing up” and actually changing my life seemed less and less likely. However, after my first official quarter at UCLA, it suddenly became clear that flexibility with our time and energy is essential and that I should hold a strong conviction as to why I am actually investing in an activity. With such limited time and deadlines, the quick fix and intense “glow up” habits is probably the last thing that we want to think about in the middle of a stressful college quarter. Instead, I believe that the strongest way to resist this urge to “glow up” really quickly and to achieve change is to have an unrelenting reason as to why you want to incorporate a certain habit into your life.
I believe that finding our why behind an activity changes our mentality from the aesthetic, external goal and instead to the deep, internal want for change. When a habit to run five miles a day to look like the newest K-pop idol changes to finding a workout routine you enjoy for a strong feeling body, the reason as to why we exercise is much more long-lasting. There is no pressure to achieve a feeling of strength within the first few months of the year, especially because the goal of becoming a healthier person is a process that will undoubtedly take years. With all of this being said, I hope that the idea of self-improvement feels like a practice that we will continue to change and implement over the course of our lives. With every new habit, I hope that you will find your why and allow yourself time to enjoy the process of it all!