The Problem With New Year's Resolutions (and What You Can Do Instead)
It's that time of year again, when the dieting and fitness industries do their thang - convince us all that we need to lose weight, overhaul our diets, and "get in shape."
It makes sense as to why they do this: we've just gone through several months where food, from fall baked goods to Halloween candy to holiday feasts & treats, takes center stage at social events; a time during which we probably skipped workouts because we were too busy or tired; and now, although we've still got the entire winter ahead of us, beach season suddenly doesn't seem that far off. Add to that a hefty dose of guilt brought on by over-indulging and failing to meet our society's ridiculous physique expectations, and you've got the perfect market for the predatory branches of the weight loss and fitness industries.
What's wrong with losing weight or getting in shape?
Well, nothing, if done for the right reasons and in the right way. I'm a nutrition coach and a fitness enthusiast myself, after all. I looove helping people navigate the often-tricky nutritional waters and guiding them toward a food lifestyle that will be right for them. Wanting to eat and move for better health are admirable goals.
Only you can decide what those "right reasons" are for you, of course. Everyone has
their "why." But here's the thing: if your "why" is because you feel ashamed or guilty or broken or unaccepted, it's going to be very, very difficult to keep your resolution.
Why? Starting a new diet or implementing a new workout routine is a HUGE change. A goal like this requires motivation, discipline, and usually some kind of accountability or support in order to succeed. There are often setbacks and challenges, many of which you may not have control over. And how you handle the implementation process and the hurdles that come your way is going to come down to your "why" - your primary reason for undertaking this goal. And if your primary reason is rooted in feelings of inadequacy, or needing to "fix" yourself, setbacks are just going to make those icky feelings all the worse, leaving you feeling frustrated and defeated.
Tune Into Your Mindset
Your mindset is something you should be tuning into often, but especially when you're making decisions about your wellness. A lot of times we make wellness decisions from
a place of wanting to fix something that is wrong, wanting to press through no matter what, wanting to do anything to make problems disappear. But here's the thing: as much as we all want to feel better and live healthier lives, chasing obsessively after health is not only not going to get you there, but it may exacerbate your issues or give rise to new ones. Yes, striving toward total wellness requires work, discipline, and sacrifice for most of us. But doing so without first accepting and processing the reality mindfully will get you nowhere.
So, here's what I'm encouraging you to do.
If you want to lose weight, get in shape, or overhaul your diet, take some time to figure out WHY you want to do these things. Where does it come from? What was the catalyst for wanting to make this resolution? Think, pray, or journal about it. Talk about it with someone you trust. If, after some honest reflection, you perceive a "why" that is rooted in the right reasons, then by all means proceed with your weight loss or fitness goals.
If, however, you actually discover that your "why" is rooted in guilt or "shoulds" or what have you, then you should re-evaluate your new year's resolution.
What should I do instead?
Well, keep in mind that you don't have to do anything. Setting goals doesn't have to coincide with the beginning of the calendar year. You can do that anytime. The last time I resolved to make some major dietary changes, it was June.
But if you still want to make a resolution, I'd recommend doing something that's going
to serve your mental and emotional wellness, because being stronger in those areas will give you the clarity and mindfulness you need to tackle a weight loss or fitness journey. Choose something that will increase your self-care, foster creativity, or strengthen your connection with others. Some examples are:
Start a daily gratitude practice.
Implement regular mindfulness exercises or meditation.
Put down unnecessary emotional or mental burdens.
Learn about a new topic of interest.
Take one day off from social media every week.
Morning and/or evening stretching and deep breathing.
Setting aside more time for self-care.
Weekly "creative time."
More outdoor walks.
Connect or re-connect with a friend every week.
No Matter What, Get Support
No matter what your resolution is, make sure you have someone who can support you
and keep you accountable on your journey. It could be a friend, a partner, a wellness or fitness coach, or some other person you trust. Some resolutions will require more support than others. It's up to you how much you want to take on for yourself.
If overhauling your nutrition IS one of your goals, you're in luck! My Food Lifestyle Program is on sale for only $97 until January 15! You'll get resources, support, and learn how to create healthy food habits that will LAST. It is not a diet or a weight loss program; it will not force you to cut this food or that. It's about being informed and empowered so you can make food decisions that won't leave you feeling guilty or wondering if you made the healthy choice.
Sound like it's for you? You can inquire by booking a free Discovery Call here.