Updated: Jan 28, 2021
By Mary Grlic
Image via Expat in the City
New year, new me. It’s finally time to start your workout goals, eat healthier, get “back on track” after the holiday season, all within the next 365 days. We always set up these goals and resolutions to make ourselves “better” in the new year. It seems like an inherently good idea: why wouldn’t you want to motivate yourself to strive for new bounds in the new year? The problem is the motive behind these changes, as well as the pressure we put on ourselves to accomplish our new year’s resolutions.
It is great to set goals for ourselves to keep us motivated and stay on track. However, according to US News and World Report, 80 per cent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. We put so much pressure on ourselves to accomplish these resolutions, but more often than not, we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of these goals, leading to the downfall.
The most common resolutions have to do with health and lifestyle. This year, I will go to the gym every day. I’m going to eat healthier. I’m starting a juice cleanse, keto, or some other fad diet. I need to “be good” after the holiday season. It’s time to get back on track. We fill our brains with these unhealthy thoughts, claiming they are just “resolutions,” when in reality, it can be extremely stressful and damaging to our mental health. Goals like these reinforce toxic diet culture, obsessive weight loss, body dysmorphia, etc. Saying that we need to be “healthy” inherently places a division between “good” and “bad” foods or habits, putting ourselves in this “all or nothing mentality.”
It’s also important to look at the intentions behind these resolutions. Do you want to lose weight or eat healthier to be healthy? Is it a punishment for weight gain in the past year or over the holiday season? This is critical to making goals. A resolution is not something that should ruin your relationship with food, force yourself to punish your body by exercising or place you in a trap of hoaxes like “diet teas” or “juice cleanses.” Health is about loving your body and eating what makes you feel right. More often than not, new year's resolutions place us into a mindset of hating ourselves to achieve these outrageous goals more than nourishing our bodies. Your resolutions should bring about good change, joy, and happiness in your life; they are not meant to punish or stress yourself out.
All in all, creating a new year’s resolution is not an inherently bad concept, as it can really be a motivation to a better life and a key to success. However, we often pressure ourselves to work too hard for these goals or fall into traps of unsustainability, especially when it comes to diets and exercise, negatively impacting our health when we fail.
Written by writer Mary Grlic