It’s once again that time of year when we’re constantly reminded that we must emerge on January 1st as way better versions of ourselves.

All the hype about total transformation can lead to “reinvention fatigue,” a combined state of angst and exhaustion that we’re missing the mark if we’re not ideating epic and grandiose strategies to rebirth ourselves for the fiftieth time.

It’s not enough that we made it out alive in 2018.

That we did our best. That while we weren’t perfect, we helped clean up the messes we created and or inherited.

Instead we’re told that we need to transform. Become something totally new and to find the formula that helps us become the human-bots we’re all destined to evolve into. Super-hero parents. Perfect employees. Machine-like students. Always on, never off. Constant room for improvement. Never enough.

God forbid we’re not living our absolute best lives every second of the day at every stage of life, just like everybody else on Instagram.

Shame on us if we don’t craft the perfect plan to jump through all the hoops set before us like we’re straight out of Cirque de Soleil.

It’s not that I don’t love the drop of the ball, the fresh journals to write in and the 30-day challenges. My quest for personal growth is arguably neurotic. The intention setting. List making. Goal tracking. I’m obsessed with visualization, manifestation and the quest for constant evolution and actualization. I love learning and unlearning and relearning. This all has its place.

But sometimes it’s too much. It becomes exhausting. In our fatigued states, we lose clarity that we just might need to simply return back to ourselves and each other with a sense of peace and compassion. To ward off the messages that we are human doings, and remember we are human beings. That while personal overhaul is often needed, it can go too far. That our quest for perfection can leave us unable to actually enjoy how far we’ve already come.

What if it was just a win that we showed up and we’re honest and we lent a hand when it was needed? What if we untangled ourselves from the inhumane illusions of perfection and celebrated who we already are?

Maybe reinvention fatigue can be lessened when you:

1. Resist the urge to audit yourself non-stop.Self-reflection and change can be healthy, but when feelings of never-enough eat at you constantly, it might be time to stop approaching life like you’re a problem to solve. Identify strengths to build on instead of just focusing on “weaknesses” to fix.

2. Set the right pace. Think sustained progress over the long haul, not urgent and dramatic sweeping change. Burnout can quickly creep up when we think we have to sprint to new horizons at the drop of the ball. Set a pace that is reasonable and humane.

3. Celebrate Now You. Visualize your progress over the past few years and stop and acknowledge ways you’ve been brave and resilient. Own your strengths at this moment. Appreciate the ways you’ve endured, overcome and are doing your very best. Practice gratitude for what is true right now.

Reinvention fatigue can leave us in messy cycles long after the champagne bottles and confetti have been cleaned up.  Here’s to a 2019 that leaves space for being, not just doing.


  • Dr. Kris

    Behavioral Science Expert. Psychotherapist Comedian. Global Citizen.

    Northeastern University

    Dr. Kristen Lee, Ed.D., LICSW, known as “Dr. Kris”, is an internationally recognized, award-winning behavioral science clinician, researcher, educator, speaker, and comedian from Boston, Massachusetts. As the Lead Faculty for Behavioral Science and Faculty-in-Residence at Northeastern University, Dr. Kris’s research and teaching interests include individual and organizational well-being and resilience, particularly for marginalized and underserved populations.  Dr. Kris works with organizations and leaders around the world on how to use the science of behavioral change and human potential to build healthy mental health cultures that help prevent burnout and promote organizational and human sustainability.  She is the author of RESET: Make the Most of Your Stress, winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Motivational Book of 2015, best-selling Mentalligence: A New Psychology of Thinking-Learn What it Takes to be More Agile, Mindful and Connected in Today’s World and Worth the Risk: Learn to Microdose Bravery to Grow Resilience, Connect More, and Offer Yourself to the World, a 2022 The Next Big Idea Book Club nominee. She is the host of Crackin’ Up: Where Therapy Meets Comedy and is a regular contributor to Psychology Today and Thrive Global. Dr. Kris’s work has been featured at Harvard and on NPR, Fast Company, Forbes, and CBS radio. Her TedX talk, The Risk You Must Take is featured on Ted. In her spare time, she can be found out on the running trails, attempting tricky yoga poses, eating peanut butter cups and drinking kale juice—but not all at once. Connect with her at or @TheRealDrKris (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat).