If you're going to set a new year's resolution, try one of these body positive new years resolutions to actually make 2017 your best year yet!
New Years resolutions? Really not my thing. Although I suppose considering the fact that only 8% of people succeed with their New Years resolutions, they're really not anyone's thing.
Still, I think there is something to the idea of starting the new year with refreshed purpose. There's this general feeling of renewal around January 1st that can lead to a boost in motivation. So why not harness that extra drive towards something positive?
Of course, the something positive I'm talking about isn't losing "X" pounds or perfecting a clean eating lifestyle, but developing a deeper sense of appreciation for the fact that you already are a pretty awesome person, and maybe starting a few habits that make you even awesomer. That's a word, I promise.
When it comes to fostering permanent behavior change, I almost always recommend the slow and steady approach. After all, studies show that's what works. But this time of year, there's that pull to go big or go home. It's a big reason, if not the biggest reason, why so many resolutions fail.
If you really must go to cold turkey route, there are a few bad habits you'd be smart to ax in this new year. Here's three body positive New Years resolutions for habits to break in 2017:
1. Stop body checking other people.
Let's be honest here - we've all done it. We've stared in envy at a random stranger's "flawless" appearance, jumping to conclusions about their life or personality ("They must be a total bimbo/slut/shallow" or "Their life must be perfect"). And sticking with the theme of honesty, I am sure we've all looked at someone in a bigger body with a twinge of disgust, judging not only their appearance but assuming personal attributes that supposedly led to their size ("They must be so lazy to let themselves go like that").
This is a very bad habit. That does not mean you are bad for body checking, but rather that it's a nasty habit all of us have developed from this insane diet culture we all live in. It's a habit we need to stop, not only because it's wrong to judge someone on their appearance, but because it's impossible for it to not lead to self judgement and feeling crappy about ourselves.
It's really hard to stop body checking ourselves. In general, we're a lot kinder and more compassionate to other people. Focusing on not body checking others will help you build compassion and critical thinking skills that will help dismantle your own negative beliefs about your body. Practice being more non-judgemental on other people, and you'll be more non-judgemental of yourself.
Next time you catch yourself body checking someone else, yell "STOP!" In your head, of course - don't be that weird person yelling to yourself. Immediately start to challenge whatever thoughts popped up. How do you really know that woman has a perfect happy life because she is tall and thin. Couldn't she just as easily be struggling with disordered eating to maintain her appearance...or maybe she's just a normal person in a naturally thin body, dealing with all of life's inevitable ups and downs? How do you really know that man scarfing down a fast food hamburger is lazy and doesn't care about his health? Is it not possible that he's actually active and quite health conscious, but just happens to be in a bigger body? Maybe he's had a busy day, hasn't had a chance to eat, is really hungry and needs something fast. Explore all the possibilities.
2. Stop weighing yourself.
Just stop. The scale tells you nothing about yourself other than your relationship with gravity at a specific moment in time. In my experience, I really haven't seen the scale do any good. For those who say the scale helps maintain weight loss, that may be true, but only 3-5% of people are able to maintain weight loss, so we're talking about a very small minority. More often, the scale triggers overeating or over-restriction. How many times have you eaten more of something after losing weight because you felt like you deserved it, or conversely, underate when the number was higher than you wanted, which then triggered a binge or overeating? Big picture - the scale isn't very accurate, can't determine your health, and rarely does anything other than make you feel bad, so why not leave it in 2016?
3. Stop saying no to things because of your weight.
How many times have you stopped yourself from doing something because you weren't at your "perfect" weight yet. I often see clients holding back - not wearing a type of clothing they love, not asserting themselves in the workplace, not putting themselves out there for dating, not going on a beach vacation - all because they're unhappy with their size. It's like waiting for a number on the scale to signify that real life can begin.
Stop saying no, and start saying yes. You deserve all the things you want in life right now, as you are. Going after your dreams and doing the things that make you happy, rather than hoping things fall into place after losing weight, is a surefire way to make 2017 your best year yet.
Did you set any New Years resolutions? What habits are you trying to develop or change in 2017? What do you want to gain in this new year?