I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like the idea of waiting until the New Year to work to become a better version of yourself; that puts so much pressure on a person to make drastic changes. This innevitablly leads to making unattainable goals that will most likely fail and leave you feeling like crap. After all, they are 80% likely to fail by the end of January, according to U.S. News and World Report.
I especially don’t like New Year’s resolutions about losing weight, which is the second most common resolution after saving money, according to a 2018 poll by consumer-data company Statista. According to this poll, nearly half of resolutions are about becoming thinner. Wanting to change your body implies your body isn’t acceptable as it is. This desire to change your body to fit into societal norms is widespread and extremely harmful. More people want to become thinner than improve their mental health or intelligence; this says less about the people and more about the culture we live in, where thin-privilege is prevalent and corporations profit off of insecurities they’ve created.
But losing weight because you were advised to by a doctor is different from losing weight because you believe you need to in order to be beautiful or accepted. Of course, you should always listen to the medical advice of experts. However, in my experience, the people who have made resolutions to change their body size (including myself) are often perfectly healthy and have no medical reason to lose weight.
Setting a goal of becoming more active is different than setting a goal of losing weight. Exercise is imperative to your physical and mental wellness but the intentions behind the exercise are everything. The issue arises when the intention behind every workout is to become thinner. Intentions such as these often lead to guilt over missing a workout or eating calorie-rich foods every once in a while.
After the year we have all been through, how about we give ourselves a break and focus on the shape of our minds, rather than the shape of our bodies? Wellness should be about how we feel on the inside, not how we look on the outside.
The intention behind setting resolutions is not necessarily a bad thing, but I believe a more productive and feasible way to make healthy changes is to set weekly or monthly intentions. Intentions are not about setting an intimidating goal that leaves you feeling like a failure if you don’t achieve them. Intentions are about letting your body know you will attempt to do something and knowing the world won’t end if you don’t accomplish it; it involves giving yourself grace and compassion.
Let’s make intentions to aid us in feeling more content and at peace with ourselves. For instance, you can set an intention to try a new activity, like pottery. Or go to one of the many parks in Eugene and read a new book.
Whatever you decide to do this year, be kind to yourself and others.