By Emma Raho – Staff Writer
“What’s ya new year’s resolution?” is possibly the most asked question at quarter past midnight on the 1st of Jan after “shall we get shots” and “is he my future husband or is he just tall?”
The answers usually go along the lines of getting thinner somehow, denying ourselves the few pleasures we have in life, or magically fixing all our flaws all of a sudden. No wonder our resolve wears off about the same time as our hangovers. Making drastic lifestyle changes just because it’s a new year without laying down some solid ground work rarely has any longevity. In layman’s terms, it all gets a bit hard so we fuck it off.
I’ve spent a bit of time pondering the concept of “New year, new me” and have come to the conclusion that we need to massively downscale the expectations of ourselves. There is a whopping zero percent chance I’m cutting out carbs this year, and why would I? I’m afraid the world will just have to deal with the fact I no longer have a stomach like a snare drum because pasta and bread ARE LIFE! On this train of thought, here are 5 suggested resolutions that lay the groundwork for the more radical changes in your life.
Work on accepting and respecting your body – We spend a lot of time hyping up our bffs only to turn around and tear ourselves to shreds. It makes absolutely no sense given the things we criticise ourselves for – whilst standing 2 cm from the mirror – are the exact things absolutely no one else notices or cares about. The arbitrary beauty standards your comparing yourself to exist to make you unhappy and therefore buy things to fix imaginary faults. There is nothing wrong with your round tummy, your hairy legs, your big feet, or short eyelashes and everything wrong with how you perceive yourself. When you accept your body, you can make changes to it in a healthy and meaningful way.
Don’t promise to make drastic changes to your diet all at once, you’re setting yourself up to fail – start with a small change, like drinking more water. Trying to do multiple huge changes will highly likely end in disappointment and getting straight back into your old habits. Don’t fall for fad diets or expensive shakes, teas and wraps. They promise the world but generally leave you with the shits and a sense of failure. If you need guidance and advice, a fully qualified dietitian is the right person to speak to despite what those emoji laden messages in your inbox would have you believe.
Get your mental health in check – If you’re constantly feeling low, anxious or just not yourself, don’t just dismiss it or tell yourself to “harden up”, get yourself down to the GP for a chat. Did you know in New Zealand you’re entitled to 6 free counselling sessions? No neither did I until I needed them. Therapy, medication, and self care is not a sign of weakness, it’s about not suffering needlessly and getting the best out of life. You don’t get a “I tough’d it out” martyr award at the end of this life so why make the road harder for yourself?
Look into what’s driving behaviour rather than just trying to change it – Most of us want to do better and be better but if you don’t get to the root of the issue, change will only ever be temporary. For example if you overeat, are chronically late, or are generally untidy there will be reasons lurking behind this. Do you have issues with procrastinating due to anxiety? Overeat to fill a void, if so what void? Treating the cause rather than the symptoms creates meaningful and long lasting change.
Speak kindly to yourself – Most people are overly harsh when self reflecting and evaluating. Every time we cheat on our diet, botch a social interaction, or generally screw up we’re always right here to give ourselves a bollocking and obsess over it. The truth is no one else cares as much as you do so give yourself a break. It doesn’t feel good to get something wrong but neither does it serve you in any way to torture yourself about it for ages after the fact. Learning self forgiveness is the greatest favour you can do yourself.