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Seven alternative New Year’s resolutions for 2018

Ashleigh Went

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, we often hear the expression “New Year, New You.”

If ever there was a phrase to inspire unrealistic expectations and defeat, this is it.

The fact is that no matter how hard you try, you will not wake up on the 1st of January 2018 as brand new human – and thank goodness because, quite frankly, that would be terrifying.

I’m all for bettering yourself. However, in order for new habits, beliefs or mindsets to actually stick, they need to be implemented with consistency and patience. It’s not exactly sexy, I know, but it holds true nonetheless.

When it comes to your health in particular, the reality is that there are no quick fixes – and your New Year’s Resolutions should reflect that.

With that in mind, here are six alternative New Year’s resolutions to embrace for 2017.

“I will take responsibility for my choices”

Let’s tackle this one first because I believe it’s actually the toughest of the bunch.

Taking responsibility for your everyday choices means accepting that, for the vast majority of people, we are in charge of what we put in our mouths and how much we move our bodies.

I understand that life gets stressful and that our diet and exercise regimes won’t be perfect every day. This isn’t about being perfect, it’s about dropping the excuses. Being ‘healthy’ comes down to a series of choices that we make every single day. Choose to exercise, choose to eat vegetables, choose to go to bed early, practice yoga, or whatever makes you feel happy and healthy. And if for some reason you don’t, accept that it was your choice, and make better choices moving forward.

Realising that you’re actually in control of your own health is surprisingly empowering.

“I will be kind to myself”

All that being said, it’s also important to show yourself some kindness and compassion.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, perhaps give yourself a break, learn to say “no”, give yourself permission to prioritise time to rest and rejuvenate. Learn to stop the negative inner chatter and show yourself a little love and kindness every day.

If you’re struggling, ask yourself if you’d speak to a friend the way you speak to yourself. If the answer is no, it might be time to upgrade your self-talk.

“I will practice gratitude”

The holidays are a fabulous time to practice gratitude. It’s a chance to be grateful for our families, for our security, for the generosity of others… but what about gratitude for ourselves and our bodies?

Even if your body isn’t the “perfect bikini body” (as if there was such a thing), we should be grateful for our bodies and the amazing things they achieve. When I think about all the things I’ve put my body through – from pumping it with fruity lexia and packets of mi goreng in my university years, to running seemingly infinite kilometres when training for a marathon – I’m so grateful that it does everything it’s supposed to and more. It makes me grateful for every last inch of this body.

Think of it this way: most of us would treat a canvas shopping bag from the supermarket very differently to an expensive leather Chanel bag gifted to us from someone we love. The difference is the value we place on it. You are the Chanel. Act like it.

“I will move my body a little bit every day”

To think we can go from couch potato to marathon runner overnight is unrealistic and sets us up for disappointment. If choosing a fitness goal feels overwhelming, simply make your resolution to move a little bit, every day.

One of the strategies I use on myself when I really don’t feel like exercising is to lace up my shoes and just go for 20 minutes. If after the 20 minutes I’m really not feeling it, then it’s ok to go home. 95% of the time I end up finishing my session and feel much better for it.

Haven’t found an activity you love? Why not browse our ACTIVE Directory to find your new favourite.

“I will make time for the things that make me happy”

All of us have little things that make us glow with happiness: time in nature, a Sunday sleep in with our partner, a bubble bath, an occasional glass of vino … whatever it is, make time to treat yourself. It’s a lot easier to make healthy choices when we’re relaxed and content.

“I will trust the process”

When we set a goal, we’re often encouraged to focus on the end result – nothing wrong with being outcome focused, right?

The problem is that 2 hours/days/weeks into your new regime when you don’t see the results you’re after, it can be all too tempting to throw in the towel.

Trust that things take time, and that if you’re putting in the work to look after yourself through eating nutritious food and moving your body every day, the results will come over time. Often focussing on the process and celebrating the small wins (‘I cooked healthy meals for myself all week’, ‘I walked to work four times this week’, ‘I made it to the gym’) is more rewarding and sustainable.

“I will feed myself properly”

This doesn’t have to be about eating less or losing weight, in fact, one of the first things I would encourage you to ask yourself is whether you’re eating enough food.

One of the main reasons lots of weight loss plans fail is because they are too restrictive for most people. In order to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit – burning more energy than you consume. In order to lose weight quickly, that deficit has to be large. You may find yourself in a restrict/binge cycle where you’re not eating enough, so you eat lots, and the cycle repeats. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

A better solution is educating yourself about food –  perhaps consulting a professional – and learning how to prepare nourishing food for yourself and your family. It’s a strategy that’s much easier and sustainable over a lifetime.

Make 2018 a New Year, Same You – because you’re fabulous just the way you are.


Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author

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