New Year Resolution Ideas When You’re No Longer Dieting
New Year resolution ideas can be hard to come by the first year you’re no longer dieting. Especially with the onslaught of diet culture coming at you from all angles. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, email subscriptions, friends, family, and commercials on cable television, if you even have that anymore, will be awash with weight loss, disordered eating and fat phobic messages the next few weeks. The incessant droning on about how a New Year and New You is waiting just around the corner. You know, on the other side of your 21 day fix. Or your keto detox. Or your sugar cleanse. Or your thinly veiled eating disorder. And we get it. We used to be there ourselves. Shouting it from the rooftops.
But once you’re truly on the path to healing your relationship with food and your body, how can you harness that reboot energy of New Year’s in a way that isn’t harmful? And that doesn’t lead to body hate and binge eating come January 24th? How do you do New Year’s when you’re no longer dieting?
Well we’re glad you asked, because since tucking and rolling off the diet culture train ourselves, we’ve come up with a couple of fun New Year resolution ideas that help you to reflect on the previous year and future pace the following. And we do believe it’s important to have rituals like this. Because self-reflection helps us course correct and ensure we’re living intentionally, rather than on auto-pilot.
So we’ll be sharing our two, New Year resolution ideas with you today if that’s something you’d be interested in. And at the end of this article, you can click to download a copy to use at home. Maybe even print it out on a piece of paper from an actual printer. If you’re a dinosaur, like Kimberly and I.
You could also check us out on YouTube if video is more your thing.
Or download this episode of the podcast as well.
New Year Resolution Ideas: Part 1
This one is a little silly and fun but the best part, really, happens a year from now.
You’re going to write yourself a letter. Pretend it is now December 31st, 2021. You’re sitting down to reflect on the year that just happened in a letter to your former self. Kind of like a time traveler reporting back to your present tense self. Think through what would be amazing to make happen. What do you want to be celebrating and grateful for at the end of this coming year? How do you want to feel? Who do you want to be? What do you want to have embodied and accomplished? Visualize it all in great detail. And now write it all out in a letter to yourself as if it’s already happened and you’re so grateful for it all. Put it in an envelope and seal it. Address it to yourself for New Year’s Eve 2021. And then take it out and read it next year before writing another.
Very “self-help aisle at the bookstore?” Absolutely.
But fun too. And the best part is that if you did this last year, you will have an envelope to open and can read all the stuff you were excited about this time last year.
We love it. And we can’t wait to read whatever adorableness the ignorant bliss of late 2019 would have led us to believe 2020 would look like. We believe “live events” was probably on the business list for us which is so cute of us.
New Year Resolution Ideas: Part 2
Okay, this next part is the Quadrants of Reflection, a name I just made up and will have to clear with Bridget before officially having it trademarked. Take out a sheet of paper. Draw two lines to create four quadrants (see PDF below if ya need help).
On the top left, write out ‘2020: Felt bad, did not bring joy’
Sounds like Marie Kondo, I know but, it’s kind of like Kondo-ing your life just with less OCD. In this quadrant, write down all the stuff that felt heavy, or that bugged you, or that you just didn’t want to be doing or feeling or saying or whatever. What kinda sucked this year? Was it saying yes to things you didn’t actually want to do? Drinking wine every night? Scrolling Instagram until 2 am? Never moving your body? Weighing yourself? Complaining? Comparing yourself to others? Procrastinating? Isolating? Negative self-talk? Get it out of your brain and onto the paper. This could be one big giant thing or a long list of little things but, get clear on what just didn’t make you feel good this year.
Example: Scrolling Instagram until 2 am
On the top right, write out ‘2021: Adjust’
In this quadrant, you’re going to write how you’d like to move toward adjusting those things. Positive things you want to focus on. Habits you want to build. Needs you want to meet more regularly. Things you want to show up and do for yourself that would really tweak your life to align a bit better with who you want to be and how you want to feel. How would you like to show up differently in 2021? Write that out.
Example: Plug phone in in the bathroom instead of on nightstand
On the bottom left, write out: ‘2020: Felt good, brought joy’
In this quadrant you want to celebrate wins, achievements, habits, routines, things you did and said and felt and thought that were great. Did you get a Peloton and finally fall back in love with movement after all those years of equating punitive exercise with weight loss? (That is suspiciously specific, Dana.) Did you make a new friend? Did you change jobs? Did you call your grandmother more? Did you tell people you were thinking of them? Are you a health care provider or an essential worker or a teacher or any of the literal heroes who, despite all the bullshit, held the world together for everyone else this year? Honestly, if you’re here reading this at the end of this year, that in itself is an accomplishment.
What should you feel good about today? Write that out.
Example: Prioritized rest
On the bottom right, write out ‘2021: More of’
In this final Quadrant of Reflection, you want to write out what you want to bring from last year into next and amplify or refine or add to it. What do you want to do more of next year? More time with loved ones you hadn’t prioritized seeing before the pandemic? More sleep? More creativity? More learning? More reading? More Peaky Blinders? (Again, very specific, Dana.) These are the things you intend to focus more on next year. Things you want to prioritize to keep feeling better.
Example: Filling my own cup first
Why New Year’s Matters
New Year’s is a time ripe for the black and white thinking that simmers beneath the diet mentality. We tend to set hard and fast intentions that would require a level of willpower, motivation and self-discipline that we’ve never previously been able to muster in our entire lives. And we set them up as a pass fail situation which is typically a disaster. It’s why most resolutions last about four days.
This exercise draws us toward a more flexible way of thinking. It invites us to dance in the softer grey areas where life is usually happening. We can reflect on what did and didn’t feel good and explore some ideas and possibilities for shifting gently into a different way of doing things. We can think of tiny tweaks and atomic habits that would add up to massive shifts when compounded over time.
We feel that this exercise is not only more fun than setting flat resolutions but, that it also leverages the reality of how life works. Black and white thinking is not super effective. But self-reflection, future pacing, and flexible, internal intentions tend to move the needle in life.
These two New Year resolution ideas – the letter and the quadrants – are super fun and effective for harnessing those New Year, New You vibes without making your present self or body wrong.
So instead of setting yourself up for another diet rock bottom come February, perhaps be led by how you want to feel next year. And reflect on the things that held you back from that last year and what you’d like to carry over into next that would be helpful.
Make this the New Year a time not for creating a “new you” (you’re perfect the way you are) but a time for getting reacquainted with the real you.
Make space for yourself by sitting in reflections like this exercise to discern what feels good, what doesn’t, and what you truly want your life to look like. Maybe that means finally making peace with food and your body so you can move on with your life. And if that’s the case, we can certainly help. Book a free Breakthrough Session with one of us today and leave dieting and body shame behind next year.
And in the meantime, we hope you have a wonderful New Year however you’re celebrating. And we’re wishing you and yours brighter days ahead in 2021.