With the new year just around the corner, it's about this time when the sneaking sense of guilt and disappointment starts to creep in after the realisation that another 12 months has passed and not one of your resolutions survived past January.
As a result, already this week I've vowed that '2017 me' will exercise more, drink less, eat cleaner, save money, maintain better contact with old friends and, at some point, organise my overflowing wardrobe.
But, in reality, I know that such high hopes will most likely dwindle (one glimpse of a Terry's Chocolate orange and I'm a goner) and it won't be long before I'm sitting on the sofa – glass of vino in one hand – watching Friday night television as a result of making up an excuse not to go out with friends.
The truth is, we all see the new year as a clean slate and the opportunity to become perfected versions of ourselves. In reality, a new year should symbolise the chance to accept our flaws and accept that while we might not be perfect, we're pretty darn great and that's all we can hope for.
Thanks to stylised images on Instagram, daily updates of friends enjoying expensive sejourns with their other halves, airbrushed images thanks to Snapchat filters and Facebook becoming a platform for self-congratulation rather than communication, perfection has become a benchmark by which all women judge and are judged, resulting in guilt and self-loathing when we fail to meet such unrealistic expectations.
So, it may come as a surprise that behind the red carpet parties, multi million-pound campaigns and trophies that celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Lena Dunham, Zoe Kravitz, Ruby Rose, Olympic athlete Aly Raisman struggle with the expectations of faultlessness and are now on a mission to redefine what perfection truly means.
Speaking at Reebok's Perfect Never revolution in Soho, New York last week, Hadid urged her fans to recognise that, despite her supermodel status, she's still a 21-year-old woman with insecurities, doubts and faults . She said: 'Everyone always calls me perfect and I'm just not. I'm like everyone else.'
Explaining that unlike most career women who work in offices or have daily interactions with the same people, her day-to-day life – like many celebrities – is constructed by first impressions, which can be hard when people expect you to be the best version of yourself, 24/7.
'My Mum always says if you're not the nicest, most hard working girl in the room because there's always going to a be prettier, nicer and more hard working girl in fashion.'
'There are moments when you are human and none of us go and sit at a desk with the same people every day. We have first impressions every day, every 10 minutes of our lives. So, we have to deal with the fact we're not perfect every minute of the day.'
Orange Is The New Black actress Ruby Rose took the opportunity to take about her own view of perfection and opened up about severe bullying at school, which at one point resulted in her hospitalisation.
Talking of her childhood and her journey to finding acceptance with herself, Rose said: 'I had a tough time in high school and was bullied a lot so I had to search within myself to find happiness, validation and confidence.
'I wouldn't take back my childhood because I learned so much about myself and all the time I was working on myself, the girls and boys who were bullying me weren't working on themselves. I left school with a good understanding of who I wanted to be, what I wanted to stand for and a love and appreciation of the things that people had always knocked.
'The irony is that all the things that people teased me about are the things that have gotten me so far in my career to date.'
She also asked young women who idolise or follow celebrities on social media to recognise that what may appear to be perfection on the exterior often hides countless layers of emotional upheavals and struggles.
'It's important to be honest and talk about how we're not perfect and have insecurities, because when you go onto someone's Instagram, see them in movies or watch them in the Olympics, you think, 'This is just how she was born, raised and it's always been like this'.
'We need to remind everyone that there's a lot of hard work, closed doors and failures that have gotten us to where we are now.'
A study into how women perceive failure in 2010 found that 96% of women feel guilty at least once a day, a feeling Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman experiences on and off the pummel horse.
Speaking about the imbalance of expectations between men and women in sport, Raisman – who has won six Olympic medals – admitted:
'There's a certain standard on women that we always have to be smiling and always have to be happy.'
'If you watch a team lose at the Super Bowl and the quarter back is standing on the side, they're allowed to be unhappy. But, if any of us are having a rough day, it's not okay. It's unfair as women that we're not allowed to share emotion or be upset when we don't do well. Men are allowed to be in a bad mood or have an off day.'
Actress/writer Lena Dunham explained such sexist views and ideals of womanhood to say: 'We've created the ideal 24-hour women, a woman who can get up, do her job, be the present girl friend, be a parent and look good doing it. It's too much pressure for anyone or the challenges of life.'
Dunham – who recently called out a fan's criticism of her failing to make a book signing appearance due to illness – said that due to society's belief that celebrities must constantly be perfect, she is wracked with a guilt for failing others.
'Every time I'm sick with a cold and reschedule I'm wracked with guilt but there's no way Jake Gyllenhaal is sitting at home feeling bad about his cold. He's f*cking fine. That pressure has to be lifted.'
Gigi echoed this sentiment admitting she's never dared taken a sick day – despite her busy schedule working around the world – because of 'the guilt of not wanting to take care of yourself for fear of it reflecting badly on your professionalism'.
Look, we're not saying that striving to be the best version of yourself is in any way negative – after all, determination, self-love and the drive to do better are powerful attributes – but it's essential we recognise that perfection is an unattainable goal that is blurring our idea of what life is truly about.
So, instead of putting pressure on yourself to lose weight, gain weight, give up alcohol or smoking next year, first learn to love who you are now and focus on being happy, because isn't that true perfection?
In the words of Baz Luhrmann's song Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen),
Trust me, in twenty years
You will look back at photos of yourself
And recall in a way you can't grasp now
How much possibility lay before you
And how fabulous you really looked
You are not as fat as you imagine.