We’re a few weeks into the New Year. How are your resolutions holding up? If you’re in the health and wellness field like me, this time of year can be – I’m just going to say it – annoying.
Maybe that sounds pessimistic, but its true. Why do we all make the same resolution every year – to lose weight? Maybe you’re sitting there scowling at your screen like, “Um, no. You’re wrong. I never make a resolution to lose weight.” Okay, let me ask this: is your resolution to eat healthier? Workout more? Are you unhappy with how you look, or how your clothes are fitting? Are you feeling guilty for eating all those Christmas cookies? We’ve all been there. Keep reading.
I totally respect and LOVE that you want to improve yourself. If being healthier is something you want to do, then I support that 100%. The way people go about it is what annoys me.
As they are, it’s pretty clear that these resolutions aren’t working for us. Diet culture profits IMMENSELY from New Years resolutions, selling gym memberships (who else HATES how crowded the gym gets in January?), protein powder, supplements, you name it. These companies market the crap out of New Years resolutions, and it works.
Yet every year, our resolutions remain the same? Apparently, we aren’t sticking to them. That’s what we learn. It’s our fault. I HATE that! Why do we let something that should inspire us turn around and make us hate on ourselves?
I’m going to break some news to you, friends. The resolution, the dieting, the restricting, the guilt, the “discipline,” does. not. work. I think this is obvious. I know several dietitians who think this is obvious. There is research proving it, if you still need convincing that its obvious. Dieting doesn’t work long-term. If it did, we wouldn’t all make the resolution to eat healthier, workout more, and ultimately lose weight year after year. We wouldn’t feel guilty when we “fail” year after year.
This year, let’s break the resolution cycle.
I have a challenge for you. Pick a new resolution this New Year. Choose something that is achievable (i.e. no resolutions to go to the Moon), something that will benefit you and those close to you. Something on your heart, but has maybe been trumped by diet culture every other year.
Changing your body is not the only way to better yourself.
Do you have something in mind? Tell me about it in the comments! I’m not denying the inspiration that the New Year brings, and I’m always inspired to hear ideas from others.
If your mind is blank, I’m here to help.
I brainstormed for awhile and came up with some ideas to help you shape your best resolution yet. A couple are food-related, because I am a dietitian, after all. However, these aren’t centered around restriction or weight loss. Instead, these resolution ideas are intended to make eating easier for your family. You’ll see what I mean in a few. Feel free to use these verbatim, or maybe they will inspire and remind you of something that has been on the back burner for awhile.
One more tip before you get carried away with resolution-making. Don’t try all 10 of these at once. You will feel overwhelmed and most likely drop them before February. Choose two, max. If you master those by June, go ahead and work on something else if you want. Because you know, you ARE allowed to make changes and better yourself outside of January.
1. Menu Plan and/or Meal Prep
If your resolution ever includes eating better, eating out less, getting your kids to eat more veggies, eating as a family, spending less money, saving time etc., menu planning and/or meal prep will change your life.
My husband and I have almost always menu-planned. Every week, we choose two or three meals to cook with a plan to have leftovers a couple of nights. That usually allows us to avoid eating out all week, and we plan on eating out once or twice on weekends. Menu planning saves us so much time and money, and helps us feel prepared for the week. We found this is essential since we both work full-time.
Meal prep is something I started doing out of necessity when I started working full-time. Now that we’ve thrown a baby into the mix, I depend on it. The weeks I don’t prep my breakfasts and lunches well are the weeks I just about lose it. For real.
If the idea of meal prep sounds like a good resolution for you, start simple. Pinterest is your best friend for this. Feel free to reach out to me for tips as well!
Meal prep is great because it keeps you from buying food at work and from eating out. It’s so satisfying to add up how much money you save and I guarantee your body will thank you too. Plus, there’s just something about seeing your meals for the week sitting in your fridge ready to grab and go.
2. Learn a New Skill
I get it. Learning a new skill can seem daunting, especially as you get older. I can tell you that working full-time with a toddler does not leave me much time for learning how to play an instrument or a new language. But your new skill doesn’t need to be a big one (although it can be if you want)!
Did you like the idea of meal prep? That is totally a skill you can master. Maybe you have always wanted to try yoga. Do it! Think about things you have been nervous to try, or keep putting off.
3. Get Outside
I think we all need a little more fresh air these days. Make a resolution to take a walk 2-3 times per week, or take the fam to check out some local parks! Maybe start a small garden. Spending more time outside decreases stress, gives you more time with family and you’ll probably get more exercise (which a lot of us need, right?)
4. Drop the Technology
I think we can all agree we spend too much time in front of a screen. And worse, most of that time is mindless, right? When I updated my iPhone and saw my screen time tracker for the first time, I kind of wanted to cry. I’m talking HOURS a day just staring at my phone. I’m thinking I can definitely use some of that time for something more productive or meaningful.
If you agree, make a resolution to cut back on the technology. Use that screen time tracker to your advantage, even if that means just using it to make yourself aware of how much time you’re spending scrolling on Instagram (for me, SO MUCH TIME). This feature on the iPhone even has an option to schedule time away from your phone.
Your resolution could be to put the phone/tablet/computer away during dinner, or all evening once you’re home from work. You could even pair this resolution with #3, and say you’re going to take a walk every evening and leave your phone at home. I’m thinking this is a great resolution to include your kids on, too.
5. Do Something with All Those Photos
I have 4,112 photos on my iPhone, and I’ve had that phone less than a year. When was the last time you backed up your phone? Phones love to just up and die without notice, and I would be distraught to lose over 4,000 photos. Even if about 1/4 of them are blurry, because kids and dogs don’t sit still for pictures.
Its so easy for months to go by without backing up our photos, and even easier to never get around to printing our pictures. They just live on our devices forever. I’m thinking a great resolution is to print those pics! Change out your frames, or make photo books. Send New Year cards to family and friends. You can make cards for anything on Shutterfly. Just do something with your pictures (and videos), or at least make sure they won’t be lost forever when your phone bites the dust.
Personally, my resolution is to pay for iCloud this year. Everything backs up online for a pretty low price. Around a dollar a month for 50GB, or $10 per month for 2TB, which will cover your family for a lifetime. Worth it in my opinion.
6. Start Budgeting
Do you have something big you dream about doing every year? I’m talking things like travel, buy a new car, move into a bigger house. Maybe its smaller, like buy a treadmill or a yoga membership. I’m always wishing for more travel. Currently, I’m wanting new floors in our house and a new car.
Are you starting to hyperventilate thinking of all the dollar signs when it comes to this stuff? Yeah, me too.
Instead of stressing yourself out thinking about all of the things you would love to do but maybe can’t afford, make a resolution to budget in 2019. Again, start small! Download an app to help you. I like Mint and EveryDollar. Enter all of your income and expenses and just physically see what you’re saving (or not saving) each month. Make your plan from there!
I think the easiest expense to cut back on is food. I was amazed when I downloaded Mint to see how much we spend on groceries and eating out each month, and we are pretty good about only eating out once or twice per week. So, we’re starting there with our budget. A lot of people are also cutting the cord on cable/satellite TV.
Just remember, saving a small amount each month adds up!
7. Add New Foods
Maybe you’re used to resolutions to cut foods out of your diet (sugar, fat, carbs, etc.). If you’re hard-pressed to eat healthier this year, I want you to think about trying something a little different. Instead of restricting what you eat, try to think about what you can add to your diet.
The majority of us don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, so maybe start there and make a resolution to include a fruit or veggie with each meal. Or, get a little adventurous with it and make a resolution to try a new food each week. Your body will benefit so much by adding variety and as a consequence, adding more nutrition. I love this resolution because it has the potential to become an easy lifestyle change that might even rub off on your family, too!
8. Make A Reading List
Every single year I say I want to read more. There’s just something about sitting down on the couch with a good book that sounds so relaxing. Plus, I really think as moms we need that “escape!” I know once I start, I really get into reading. Time is my hurdle, which is the case for a lot of moms. Maybe this is your year to make a resolution book list. Or maybe its finally time to try audio books.
9. Experience Podcasts
If reading is just not going to happen (I might be with you here), try podcasts. Maybe I was late to the game, but I fell in love with podcasts this year. Gone are my days of listening to the same 20 songs or suffering from road rage during my commute. Whether you want to learn, laugh or feel inspired, there is a podcast for you. Check them out on the podcast app, iTunes, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher.
10. Organize Your Home
A clean (or at least organized house) makes everyone feel better, right? Right after Christmas, I think its safe to say that most people are feeling like their heads are spinning a little. It’s time to put holiday decorations away, and there are TOYS EVERYWHERE. I’m still finding wrapping paper under my couch. Hilarious I know, since my kid is only a year old. I need to get a grip, ASAP.
Anyways, if your head is spinning too, join me in this resolution. Make a list of tasks to take care of (love me a good list), print a calendar and schedule them out. Then tackle that ish.
If you need some motivation (don’t we all), I was recently inspired by a challenge by professional organizer Life in Jeneral (@lifeinjeneral on Instagram). Go check her out! She’s running a challenge for the month of January which includes a calendar with areas of your house to tackle each day. She’s also breaking each week down and offering tips and tricks for cleaning and organizing each area, too. Planning is the hard part, and she has that done for you!
If this list inspired some new resolutions for you, let me know in the comments!
If you want to read more from me, or work with me on a 1:1 basis, check out my website and instagram. My goal is to help people improve their relationship with food and to live their healthiest lives. I’d love to help you, too!