5 New Ways to Think About Your Resolutions

  • Written By:Dr. Jaime Schehr N.D, R.D​
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Photo by Henry Leutwyler

A sustainable resolution comes from its relevance to your lifestyle, not from guilt or from societal pressures. When we align our values with our intentions, when we choose actions that are compassionate and appropriate for our bodies, there will be less importance given to the outcome and thus more room to grow in the process. Realistic resolutions that lead to healthy lives!

These five ideas are not a drastic measure to uproot your habits or your lifestyle, but rather a pledge, a promise, and a commitment to create lasting change. Think of it like new year, same you, but evolved and more aware than ever.

Dry January

Sure, it's a nice feeling to think I'm going to get rid of alcohol for the month, especially after what feels like endless days of over-indulgence but what if instead of resolving not to drink we make a commitment to be more mindful around our alcohol. To drink in a manner that never feels as if we need to correct it with the opposite extreme of all or nothing. What I am proposing is an alcohol budget: a commitment to drink less, but with intention. For example, if you set your intention at no more than five drinks per week, then you will decide throughout the week, which nights you feel like you want to enjoy your beverage, how much you want to drink that night, and ultimately, a sense of balance in your alcohol intake.

The Resolution: Set an alcohol budget that allows you to still enjoy beverages in a moderate fashion.

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Weight Loss

Arguably the most common, this resolution often falls short of lasting success because we too aggressively try to change our habits and our patterns in an unsustainable way. Lasting weight loss requires consistency and consistency requires that the change not be too drastic. The best diet plan is one that you can reasonably integrate into your life and thus, over time, its small changes will produce big results. To start, take a habit you currently have and tweak it—don’t completely eliminate it. An example of this is instead of frequently ordering food in, commit to no more than twice a week. Instead of swearing off bread, find alternatives that will allow you to still have a sandwich. Focus on sustainable, healthy choices that support your goals.

The Resolution: Consistency is the basis of sustainable changes—don't go for the drastic diet.

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Cleansing

The cleanse companies make a killing in January, when everyone is looking for that feeling of a clean, fresh restart. And while that is okay, the cleanse is often the extreme version of the pendulum that we want to avoid in wellness. I propose a different way of thinking about cleansing. It might be choosing a more plant-based food pattern that doesn't just pump you full of greens for one week, but one that encourages you to keep adding the greens until they fill half of your plate at least once per day, thus cleaning your system for the year to come.

The Resolution: Commit to half of your plate at least once a day being filled with non-starchy vegetables.

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Exercise

This is the second most common resolution after weight loss. The idea you will exercise everyday is attractive, but for most of us, this cadence is not sustainable, or necessary. For successful exercise intentions to become regular habits, choose only a few days of the week to commit (such as three) and most importantly, engage is something you don’t dislike. For example, if you hate running, setting a goal to run every day might not encourage consistent exercise. Instead, find a form of movement that you enjoy, that works for you physically, and start there

The Resolution: Move your body realistically and consistently (which doesn’t have to mean every day in a gym).

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Sleep

We all want to get to bed earlier, wake up earlier, sleep more soundly, etc. If you have ever struggled with insomnia, it sure is a crazy feeling being exhausted but not being able to fall asleep. Resolutions for sleep are just like any other, if they are too unrealistic or disruptive to your life, they are not sustainable. Exercise is helpful for good sleep, but instead of swearing you will wake up at an ungodly hour to exercise every morning, choose one day a week that you will exercise in the morning, and make that a habit before you try to tackle an entire week.

Initiating better sleep hygiene habits is also an important step in resolving to have better sleep in 2022. These include not bringing your phone and definitely not social media into your bed. Blocking out noise and light as much as possible is also an important habit for better sleep.

The Resolution: Choosing regular daily habits and no social media in the 60 minutes before bed.

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