Articles, Health

Health in the New Year

We are in the midst of the resolution season, and with this season comes an increased focus on self-improvement—namely, fitness. Most people have a goal sitting atop their resolution list to improve their health. Whether that be by losing weight, exercising more, or eating healthier. While these are all great goals to have, a few caveats come with them. We live in a culture extremely focused on losing weight. If you don’t watch out, you’ll find yourself drowning in the fitness fervor. Let me help you navigate this ocean of self-improvement and make your New Year’s resolutions as sustainable as possible.

Don’t feel pressured to have a health-related resolution.

Before we dive too deep into the realm of health goals, let me first make this disclaimer. Growing up, I always heard adults talking about exercising more and eating better in the new year, so I figured that I should also make those types of goals. This is far from the truth. If you don’t feel an earnest desire to make a health-related goal, don’t put pressure on yourself to do so—there are plenty of other resolutions you can make. After all, resolutions should improve your quality of life, so pursue whatever you feel the need to improve. Personally, I’m not making any fitness-related goals for 2022 besides improving my water intake, so don’t feel like you have to either!

Focus on wellness instead of losing weight.

A common mistake that people make is centering their goals around losing a certain number of pounds or exercising a set number of times per week. In some cases, incorporating numbers into resolutions can be quite helpful by making goals more concrete and tangible. However, I find that setting numerical health-related goals puts an unhealthy amount of pressure on me and leads to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. It can be quite discouraging when a certain weight-loss goal isn’t met.

Instead of focusing on losing weight, focus on increasing your overall wellness. Pursue new healthy habits like exercise and cleaner eating with the goal of attaining long-term health and finding a greater sense of well-being. The benefits of healthy habits are endless, and it’s a lot less stressful to try and glean those benefits when you aren’t focused on losing a certain number of pounds. Aim to better your body, not to change it. You are beautiful the way you are, and you deserve to be loved and celebrated by everyone—including yourself!

Make it sustainable.

Some New Year’s resolutions only last a year—some last a lifetime. When it comes to health-focused resolutions, they don’t fit into the one-and-done category. A truly successful health goal establishes a sustainable, healthy lifestyle that will last a lifetime. This might sound like a daunting task, but the key to it is finding balance. If you force yourself into a diet that you despise or a workout routine that you dread, you’ll fall out of it.

Give yourself grace in your new habits. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself or to skip out on a workout. Make your workouts enjoyable so that you look forward to them—if you don’t find release in the exercises you’re doing, try different forms of movement. By finding balance and making your healthy habits enjoyable, you’ll be motivated to keep them up. It might take a bit of trial and error, but it will definitely be worth it in the end.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

This tip is rather cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason. Personally, going on social media almost guarantees comparison. Whenever I scroll through Instagram Stories and see people posting their workouts and meals, I start comparing my lifestyle to theirs. Don’t do that! Because of this unhealthy habit, I deleted my social media apps. I’m not saying that you have to do the same, but I encourage you to take note of your mental state while you’re scrolling and to set boundaries where they are needed. Being “healthy” looks different for everybody—we all have different bodies, priorities, and schedules. Don’t feel like you have to have the same habits that other people have; instead, focus on what makes you feel strong and empowered.

Put your mental health first.

This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you. You can’t have a truly healthy lifestyle if you don’t have strong mental health. When your mind isn’t functioning at its best, your body won’t either. By finding a sustainable lifestyle filled with balance and grace, you can implement habits that ensure a healthy mental state. Whenever you find yourself in a rut, don’t be afraid to give yourself a break. A key part of a sustainable routine is the ability to go with the flow, because you never know what life will throw at you.

Those are my tips for making resolutions that will help you achieve a sustainable sense of wellness in the new year. I hope that you found my advice helpful and will take it with you into 2022. Whatever your goals may be, I know you can accomplish them!

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