New Year, New You? Scrap that! Updated for 2022!
The end of the year brings many thoughts of new year resolutions. Typically these resolutions involve losing weight or changing your body shape, size or weight. Studies show that exercising more and losing weight are the most common New Year's resolutions for 2021 according to YouGov survey.
The most popular resolutions for 2021 were exercising more and improving fitness (50% of participants), losing weight (48%), saving money (44%), and improving diet (39%).
How about welcoming the new year embracing the you that is already awesome! Did you know only 8% of people achieve their resolutions? (Forbes.com) I'd like to share with you how setting goals and cultivating health-focused habits might be the better choice over new year resolutions.
I love the turn of the new year. It feels like a fresh new chapter or like a blank page in a journal just waiting to be written on. This time of year we all feel a little bit more motivated to start or restart projects, goals and/or dust off those dreams we have been too scared to dive into. Am I right?
What I don't love about the new year and even a month leading up to it, are all the messages we are bombarded with that tell us how we should be living, breathing and be in the new year according to their rules and terms. Messages that imply that there is so much about you that simply NEEDS to change and January 1st is the day to do it. It's the power of the 70+ billion dollar diet culture industry, it's powerful and I say SCRAP that!
According to a study from Advanced Symbolics Inc. the top ten resolutions for 2020, #4 on the list was to lose weight. This should not be a surprise. Other statistics I found while researching for this post showed it was #2 on other lists or #3. While it's not wrong or bad nor a problem to have this as your resolution, you do you, there is a lot of external pressure from companies telling us we need to lose weight and their products or programs will help us achieve that lofty promise. Usually, the marketing is paired with tricky messages that include shade about our worth, acceptance and belonging. I'm here to tell you as a non-diet coach that you, right now are worthy, accepted and belong. You don't need to change or "fix" your body.
Holiday and new year's messages can be tough. So can the comments from friends and family about our bodies. And the fitness industry, they are culprits too. Trust me, I know. I have worked in this industry and have for 18+ years. Messages like, "burn off that turkey dinner", "get tight for 2022" and now we have COVID-19 messages that are just as harmful such as the "Lose the quarantine 15".
Guess what folks? All of this is garbage. You never have to work off a meal or be shamed for eating a delicious turkey dinner nor use exercise as punishment for it! Or get tight for anything. Or feel shame or guilt for gaining weight. We are so steeped in diet culture that these messages seem "normal" and are accepted yet they are incredibly harmful.
So, as we approach 2022, we have the grand opportunity to set goals and create new habits based on continued health instead of allowing diet culture to dictate WHAT and HOW we should look and feel. Wouldn't you rather be the leader of your life rather than some company or some other person that has no idea who you are or what you and your body needs and wants? You know your body best and what it needs and wants so you are the person that can make the empowered choices that help you feel and look your best. YOU! Yes, you, your awesome self!
It's easy to set weight-based goals for the new year. We've done that. Aren't you over that?
We've done the new programs, plans and boot camps.
We've done the cleanses, detoxes and read the books.
We've done it all.
Did it work for you?
Maybe short-term right? For a bit.
But then what happened?
I invite you to set some goals for 2022 or for any time, that are health-focused.
Also, what about creating habits that will contribute to your health long-term.
Stuck for ideas?
No wonder. If someone asked me to set health-focused goals instead of weight-based goals like 6 years ago, I would have had to think pretty hard. I was very scale and weight focused, it was really all I knew how to do and I knew it all too well.
Until I changed my mindset. I switched to fitness goals and health goals after an injury and focused on getting my body healed so I can do the things I enjoyed doing with my body that made me happy. The focus on the scale and the numbers on it slowly started to drift into the background.
Today, all my goals are health-based. The work I did to build body confidence and food freedom was worth every bit. It will be for you too.
Let me help inspire you with some ideas for health-focused goals & habits:
Drink more water
Focus on getting more sleep
Add more joyful activities into your weekly routine
Add in a strength-training routine you enjoy
Challenge your negative self-talk
Floss daily or every other day if that feels more attainable
You get the idea? If not, please email me before Dec. 20th and I will help you out more: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember that wanting to lose weight is totally okay.
Obsessive thoughts, disordered eating or excessive exercise as a result of this desire is not okay. A constant focus on food choices and the scale leaves little room for enjoying life and other experiences in your life. Set a few of these health-focused goals and see what happens for you. Perhaps capture your experience in a journal or talk with a friend about your goals and how they are working for you. Studies show that people that write down their goals and/or tell others about them are FAR more likely to achieve them. Now, that's a statistic we can celebrate!
Still want to set resolutions, start the latest diet, join that challenge you saw on Facebook? GO FOR IT! There is nothing wrong with wanting to set resolutions, just be sure we aren’t confusing health with losing weight, they aren’t the same thing. Keeping the focus on healthy habits and being/getting healthy and fit instead of the thin ideal is a step towards body acceptance. You do you. Do what is right for you and makes you feel good. Everyone is unique and there is no one size fits all approach. Everyone greets the New Year differently. Setting goals and resolutions are a valuable way to design your future and create motivation. There will be obstacles along the way, ask for help, be kind to yourself, keep an open mind, regularly check in with yourself to determine if your New Year plan is working for you and adjust accordingly.
If these strategies don’t speak to you, try this self-reflection exercise to help you decide how you will lead yourself into 2022. Using this exercise like a compass, ask yourself or journal about the following questions to guide you in the direction that feels right for you. See what comes up and follow your instinct. What gives you purpose? What lights you up? What fulfills you? What makes you smile from the inside out? What excites you? What makes you lose track of time? When do you feel your best? My 2022 hope for you: To feel your best. Inside and out. Like this post? Click the heart icon and tell me about it: email@example.com Think others would like it? Share it on your social media accounts or forward it to them by email! Thanks!