Fresh Start. New Year New You. Things are going to change on January 1…
The new year feels like a good time for a change and to kick some unhealthy habits. Lose weight, have a meal replacement shake every day, go for run at 5am every day… do these sound familiar? Unfortunately these type of New Years Resolutions rarely work and they don’t do much to improve your health (mental or physical).
The Trouble with New Year Diets
Traditional diet type resolutions really just hiding behind the idea of health. Even said with optimism and a bright and cheery voice – diets perpetuate poor body image. It takes a lot of energy to focus on the bits you don’t like about yourself and even more to try to change them. The more energy you put into that, the less energy you have for the things that really matter. Like, friends, family and healthy habits that are positive and actually improve your longevity and quality of life.
Even if you think you’re not doing another fad diet (the box says it’s a detox, it’s a clean eating lifestyle, it’s only a 45 minute daily cardio workout…) if your goal is to change your weight, you probably are. These are restrictive diet strategies that actually aren’t going to do much for your health in the long run, even if you can stick to them past January 10th. Signing yourself up for another diet in 2018 is shouting “I am not good enough”. This isn’t actually putting you or your health first. It is a lie that a thinner body is healthier, more able or better. Healthy looks different on every body and you can’t tell how healthy a body is just by looking at it. How that body moves and feels and functions is the true indicator of health.
Ditch the Traditional New Years Resolution
This year I want everyone to ditch the traditional New Years diet resolution! Want a bikini body? Go and buy a bikini, you already have the body to put it on. The size you buy doesn’t define you, or the state of your health.
That said, there is still plenty for us to do to get healthier, in small, flexible and meaningful ways. If you’re keen on getting healthier in 2018 you can still set some goals. Set intentions to focus more time, energy and priority into your health and chose a theme or an intention instead of strict goals or rules. Nutrition, movement, sleep, relaxation, happiness are all broad areas you can focus on to improve your overall health.
If you’re a ‘take action right now’ sort of person you can still prioritize some strategies within those broad areas.
There’s plenty you can do right now to get healthier, without even leaving the sofa:
- Go through your Instagram and Facebook feed and unfollow anyone (or leave groups) that don’t make you smile, feel better or add quality to your life in some way. Even if that’s me! (I hope it’s not, but seriously, de-clutter and get rid of negative feelings).
- Go through your wardrobe and re-home clothes that don’t fit.
- Book an appointment with a Registered Nutritionist or an Accredited Practicing Dietitian for a nutrition checkup (like me!).
- Buy yourself (or borrow) a new healthy cookbook and bookmark some recipes to try.
- Book an appointment with a counselor or psychologist for a mental health check-up.
- Resolve to stop dieting. I highly recommend this book to get you started.
If you find specific New Years resolutions motivating and effective, try one of these healthier alternatives.
Healthier New Years Resolutions for 2018
- Eat more fruit
- Eat more vegetables
- Cook a meal from scratch every day
- Drink more water
- Ditch your phone/tablet an hour before bed
- Drink less alcohol (no alcohol on weekdays?)
- Walk more
- Get outside everyday (no pressure for exercise).
Then think about what you might need to help you achieve those broad goals. Some recipes? An accountability buddy? A fancy new water bottle? Some new comfortable shoes? There is little point having a goal without a plan.
If you’ve never been able to stick to a new years resolution past February, why not make it a monthly goal to test out a healthy habit?
2018 Monthly Goals
- January: Be active most days
- February: Dedicate one meal a day to practice eating mindfully
- March: Eat 2 pieces of fruit every day
- April: Drink 2.5L of water every day
- May: Try a new vegetable each week
- June: Not drink alcohol on weekdays (or at all)
- July: Write down one thing you are grateful for every day
- August: Try a new fruit each week
- September: Get a dental checkup. Floss and brush for 2 minutes, twice a day.
- October: Eat 5 serves of vegetables every day
- November: Find a new sport or exercise class that you enjoy
- December: Meditate every day
Don’t feel obligated to start on January 1 with an all or nothing approach to your new years resolution. Too many good habits get forgotten after one or two slip ups. Be reasonable, slow and steady wins the race with healthy habits and we want them for a lifetime. It is so important that you find ways of moving more, slowing down and eating well that suit you and fit into your everyday life. It takes a long time for actions to become habits. Appreciate that doing things you’re not used to (like exercising or making healthy choices) are going to take time to become normal.
Are you a New Years Resolution maker and do they work for you?
Sarah Moore is a mum, and university qualified Registered Nutritionist. She has 10 years’ experience working with families to improve their health and well-being. Sarah has a simplistic and practical approach to family nutrition and offer private consultations and group information sessions in Perth, Western Australia. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy tips and tricks.