Making New Year Resolutions dates back to Biblical times and if you ask me, the first cavemen were probably doing it as well. I can hear them now “I am definitely cutting out buffalo this year, it just really isn’t doing much for my figure.”
What about you? Do you make New Year Resolutions? I typically make a few. My top two are always to save more money or learn a new skill. Although, the first usually doesn’t pan out so well. It’s interesting that we tend to wait until something feels like a new beginning for deciding to make changes to our lives.
Some New Year Resolutions can be really helpful to your life and I think that some are completely toxic and will only leave you disappointed in the long run.
Toxic New Year Resolution #1: Eat Healthier
This is a broad statement to make but it generally means that maybe you’ll cut out carbohydrates, stop eating fast food, quit indulging in desserts, eat less in general, not eat past a certain hour or restrict your diet to just certain types of foods. Maybe you want to cut out red meat or eat less cheese (Why on earth would anyone say this but hey it could happen). I want to caution against this type of restriction. Food is just food. All foods give you energy.
Sure, eat the rainbow, but don’t feel bad when you eat a McDouble or a cheesy rice bean burrito x2 from Taco Bell. Life is about balance. Life is about enjoying. Life isn’t about obsessing over the next meal and how many calories it will be. Life isn’t about feeling shame or guilt about what you eat. Do I research what foods are better for anxiety and other medical conditions? Sure I do! But I also eat Chick Fil A and a bucket of pasta whenever I want to as well.
Toxic New Year Resolution #2: Exercise More
Well, this goes hand in hand. A lot of people see the new year as a fresh start to start an exercise routine and join a gym. Do I think exercising can be healthy? Well yeah. Do I think certain medical conditions can get better if you exercise more often? Yes. Am I doctor? No. I think that obsessing over exercise can be really damaging as well. Most gyms are pushing an agenda. They are pushing you into losing weight and changing your physical appearance. Just remember that health can come at any size.
Are you exercising to feel good or are you exercising to look a certain way?
Could you incorporate an exercise routine that isn’t “results driven”?
Toxic New Year Resolution #3: Lose Weight
Are you sensing a theme here? Me too. Changing your physical appearance or trying to get “healthier” seems to be the biggest commitment that people want to make for the New Year. Among the absolute top is losing weight. I found this article that talks about obsessing over weight, diet and exercise, you can check it out here.
I know what you’re thinking. “I really am overweight and I should lose 15 (or 100) pounds.” First of all, who told you that? A BMI app on your phone? Check out why that is total BS here.
Do you know how many times someone has approached me on Instagram about joining their fitness club or some sort of multi level marketing scheme to make me feel “great”. Do you know how many times I have been told I shouldn’t be wearing a bikini or that if I would just lose weight, I’d have a lot more success finding a man? Lots.
I could go on and on about why losing weight isn’t going to make you any happier than you are now. I think the main take away is that you’ve gotta start loving the skin you’re in. Am I a supporter of the body positive moment? You better believe it! I am completely against fat shaming, skinny shaming, disability shaming and all types of shaming around the way people look.
Four Instagram’s to Follow For Body Positivity:
There are soo many people, pages and hashtags to follow for body positivity. I would suggest following a few hashtags so that your feed is filled with images of “normalcy” rather than photo-shopped images of models and such. I have found it VERY inspiring to follow people who look like me rather than constantly see images of people who are the “thin ideal” and other types of “ideals” (married, rich, white, career driven, stay at home moms, ETC).
So..on to the good stuff.
Joy Filled New Year Resolution #1: Spend Time With You
Do I talk about this constantly? Yes. I am a huge proponent of getting to know yourself and what makes you happy. I spend a lot of time working and taking care of my daughter. It leaves very little time for me. Over the last year or so I have made a concerted effort to spend more time doing things that I want to do and not just watching Paw Patrol and doing laundry. Over the next year I challenge you to spend more time on self care, starting a new hobby, beginning a passion project, going back to school or starting the career you always wanted to do. Life is short and shouldn’t be filled with shit you don’t want to do!
Joy Filled New Year Resolution #2: Community Involvement
Community involvement is essential. Whether you find your tribe through politics, volunteering, social activism, special interest group or through religious affiliation it is important to get out there and be apart of the community. There are book clubs, trivia game clubs, dog clubs, mom meetups, etc!!
What are you passionate about?
Have you volunteered before and really enjoyed doing so?
Do you have free time that could be spent helping others or sharing your talent with others?
Recently, I have applied to the program Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Unfortunately, they do not have a match for me right now due to my zipcode (I can’t wait until they do!). I also applied to be a Planned Parenthood Volunteer and I am apart of the Democratic Women of in my county. There are plenty of ways to get involved, I suggest the website meetup.com
Joy Filled New Year Resolution #3: Do The Thing That Scares you
A few months ago I spoke in front of about 300/400 people and told a story. I told a very personal story about my experience with boarding school. This was a deeply emotional story. Public speaking is really terrifying to me as it for a lot of people. I have worked on it a lot throughout the last few years since it is part of my job. But this was different. This was a lot of people, on a stage, with a microphone. Did I mess up at one point? Yes. Did I get through the whole story? Also, yes. I have never felt more proud of myself for sharing that story. It is something that I can mark off my unfinished bucket list. I encourage you to take a chance and do something that scares you to death. Do the thing that you tell yourself in your head “you aren’t smart enough to do that” or “nobody would care if I did XYZ.” Life is short and life is about doing things that are worth being proud of. To read the full story of my experience, check it out here.