As if you needed more stress in your life, here comes the pressure to start a New Year’s resolution. But the rub is, if you’re not already doing that thing you’re resolving to do, then is now - the season of self-disappointment - really the time to do it? The truth is, resolutions tend to put stress on us to “be better” by striving for unrealistic (either for ourselves or society) standards of beauty, health, and productivity. And when we fail to become perfect immediately, it damages whatever resolve we had to actually realize our goals through fair and sensible planning. So here’s another idea: just chill. You’ll be happier, healthier, and have more time to think about what you really want to do with your time this year.
1. Ditch the Diet
Author and speaker Anne Lamott advises being more forgiving with your body, and that starts with more forgiving pants. Instead of punishing your body with harsh diet restrictions, focus on giving it what it needs. Focus on drinking more water, eating more vegetables and lean protein, and try not to skip meals. Eat what tastes good and satisfies you while making wholesome and nutritious choices most of the time, and you can indulge occasionally without guilt. You’ll find that peace of mind is the ultimate key to a healthy body.
2. Avoid the Gym for Awhile
Unless you look forward to bumping up against throngs of sweaty bodies all frantically trying to complete their fitness goals in 2.7 weeks, do yourself a favor and just avoid that chaos. Go for a run outdoors instead, or do some bed yoga (wink wink) to fulfill your exercise quota.
3. Drink Smart
Funny how a few drinks always turns into a few slices and some chicken wings...and those nachos that conveniently slipped your mind. According to legitimate scientific research, people who drink the equivalent of four beers per day have the same body-mass index as people who don’t. The truth is, it’s not that hard to drink and not gain weight—just be smart about what you eat afterwards. Eat protein while drinking, and you’re less likely to crave high fat foods at 1 am. Additionally, choose drinks that have a higher alcohol-to-calorie ratio, like red wine instead of sugary cocktails.
4. Get a Massage
Do you even need a reason? You deserve to work out all that tension after surviving the holidays. Take it one step further and resolve to get a massage regularly, whether it be once a month or a few times a year. If not for the total body relaxation, do it for the health benefits, like lymphatic drainage and improved sleep.
5. Set an Intention
Setting an intention is like a resolution in reverse. Instead of choosing a habit or activity that you think will make you “better,” envision what you want your life to look like, and set realistic goals that can help you get there. Whether it be a career change, distancing yourself from toxic people, or taking control of your finances, working toward the life you want will earn you more happiness points than sit-ups and lunges ever could.