And so it begins. All the "New Year, New You" talk. The push to create exercise and diet resolutions. The pressure to make some brand new, high stakes commitment to lose weight and get in shape. Deadlines abound: "Be bikini ready in 12 weeks!" "Get 6 pack abs with our 30 day New Year plan!"
I often wonder why, if all these plans worked so well, we would need new ones each year. That goes to the heart of the issue, really. They don't work. Diets fail to produce long term results, trendy new workouts lose their appeal with time, and the people that get sucked in year after year are left admonishing themselves for failing once again.
I can't remember the last time I made a New Year's resolution. It's been at least a decade. The last time I made one was when I resolved to stop setting myself up for failure by choosing things that were near impossible to accomplish and maintain. How many of you are already vowing to "lose 20 pounds in 3 months and keep it off forever?" How many of you truly believe that's sustainable? This year, resolve to stop putting yourself in that position. Stop telling yourself that you must be in shape by a certain season, a smaller size by a certain date. That line of thinking is what's holding you back from choosing exercise that is rejuvenating and food that is nourishing.
The truth is, there is no magic date to set new goals and no deadline in which to meet them. Making a commitment to yourself is lifelong and there should not be guilt and regret associated with it. Choosing to move and eat in a way that makes you feel good, is sustainable for the long haul, and eradicates guilt and remorse is the only resolution you should consider making this January 1st. Resolve to put your health and happiness first, and then make a plan to make it happen. What inspires you to do that? What type of movements do you enjoy? Do those. What foods do enjoy? Eat those. Choose to listen to your body for a lifetime. Do what makes you happy and brings you joy. Have fun with the process. If it stops being fun, try something else. Let go of the guilt and shame once and for all.
This isn't to say you can't set goals for yourself. But you should set goals that preserve your overall health, feel attainable and sustainable, and help to make you a better version of your current self. If your goals leave you feeling guilty, incompetent and incapable, it's time to set some new ones.