I am skeptical of New Years Resolutions in general because I think they promote all-or-nothing thinking (I also don’t like to categorize entire years as being bad or good for this reason). I don’t feel that one needs to wait for the year to reset to make changes in one’s life. I am anti-diet and dread the increased obsession with dieting and weight loss that arrives with each January 1st.
So I thought that this year I would offer some alternatives to weight loss goals as potential resolutions for those who will be making some for 2021.
Don’t Diet in 2021: Alternative New Year’s Resolutions
- Resolve to learn a new skill. Whether you’ve always wanted to learn to rock climb, play the piano, make dumplings, or cross-stitch, now is the time to do it.
- Commit to improving one relationship. Whether it’s getting to know that coworker, spending more time with your spouse, or getting back in touch with that childhood friend, do it in 2020.
- Pledge to reject self-denigrating body-shaming comments. Those negative body comments, often made between friends, make everyone feel worse. Try to avoid saying things like, “My thighs look too big,” “I hate my double chin,” “Does this make me look fat?” “I need to lose weight.”
- Commit to not dieting. Focus instead on eating intuitively according to your own taste and hunger and satiety cues. Your amazing body will regulate itself if you let it.
- Listen to one body-positive podcast. Improving your body image will make you feel better than dieting will. Here are a number of great suggestions.
- Spend more time in nature. Research shows that spending time in nature is associated with improved mental health. Go on a monthly hike, plan to visit a national park, or just spend some time outside appreciating your surroundings.
- Volunteer! So many organizations are in need of volunteers and there are so many important causes. You can devote your time to helping animals, saving the environment, or improving literacy. Volunteering provides health benefits and can boost self-esteem.
- Create something. Paint, draw, needlepoint, collage, write a story or a song. Art is a great way to express your feelings and the act of creating something can boost mood and self-esteem.
- Expand your cooking repertoire. Whatever your cooking ability, there is room to grow. Learn a new technique, master a new cuisine, and try some new recipes. Cooking is a great way to improve your appreciation for food and can help with mindful eating.
- Make no New Year’s resolution at all. After all, the passage from 2020 to 2021 is just a social construct — it affects neither your self-worth nor any progress in your life.