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How to set sustainable health goals for the new year

If you’re tired of setting health or weight loss resolutions every year that don’t work for you, I’m sharing three tips for changing your goal setting strategy so that you actually keep your intentions this year. Can

Are you tired of setting New Year’s resolutions that you can’t keep?

Does every January seem like the same old song and dance? You’ve been highly motivated since January 1st and by the end of the month you’ve lost steam?

Do your resolutions look something like this:

“I’m going to lose 15 pounds by March.”

“I will work out in the gym every day for a month.”

“I’m going to cut carbs.”

If so, you are not alone! Our culture has completely normalized New Year’s resolutions around weight loss and extreme, unsustainable diet and exercise regimes.

Why don’t these resolutions work?

  1. They are rooted in an all-or-nothing mindset. For example, going to work every single day is “all” in an all-or-nothing mindset. Then what usually happens is that you get so tired of going to the gym every day that you stop and then you don’t go at all (switched to “nothing”).
  2. They are based on the scarcity mindset. Cutting out all carbohydrates creates a scarcity mindset, which can actually backfire and make you feel out of control around carbohydrates and result in you eating an amount that makes you feel uncomfortable or sick. .
  3. They are focused on trying to micromanage your body shape. Weight is a complex science and is affected by much more than just diet and exercise. When people set goals to lose weight, they usually have to resort to unhealthy or extreme behaviors that are not sustainable in order to see results. And then once they lose the weight, they tend to go back to some of their old behaviors and patterns, and the weight comes back. Enter a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting and weight cycling.

How do we set health goals for the new year that are actually sustainable?

(This assumes that you value health and want to set health goals but health is not an ethical issue and you do not need to value health to be eligible).

1. Change the language. Set intentions, not resolutions.

It may sound trivial but I believe that the language we use shapes how we feel and act. The definition of resolve is “a firm decision to do or not to do something”. It seems more rigid and black-and-white to me – like if you set a resolution you either succeed or you fail and there’s no place in between. How do you like that word? Does it bring on fear or pressure or does it make you feel excited and expansive?

The word intention seems to be more flexible and fluid. An intention is a goal or a plan. You can set an intention or goal to do something and change course if your circumstances change or you realize that something is not working for you. I believe in coming back to my intentions or goals every few months and checking in with myself. Is this intention still serving me? Is it still realistic and doable? If not, how can you change it to be more attainable or serve you better?

I’ve personally enjoyed setting a word for the year to guide my choices and decisions rather than setting concrete goals. I see it as a theme or a larger intention.

When you change language, you change your mindset, and when you change your mindset, you approach change with more flexibility and grace.

Resolutions embarrass you. Intentions set you up for self-compassion. The latter is a driving force; The former prevents progress.

2. Focus on behaviors that promote health, not weight loss.

Weight is largely out of our control. Sure, extreme behaviors can result in weight loss but those behaviors are not sustainable and it is nearly impossible to maintain the weight loss. When you are attempting intentional weight loss, you are working against your body’s natural set point (a range of 5-20 lbs) in which your body is comfortable and will tolerate any subtle fluctuations in weight. does not fight). When you work against your body’s set point or genetic blueprint, the weight at which it feels most comfortable, you’re working against your own physiology, which is why it’s not sustainable, and you Put the weight back on. Body diversity is real and we are not all the same size. Just as we are not all the same height or shoe size, we are not all the same weight. If you really value health, consider that research shows it’s healthier to stay at an overweight weight than to cycle (i.e. lose weight and put it back on, repeat).

Instead of focusing on the weight we can’t control, set intentions based on health-promoting behaviors that are actually within your control. You may not be able to control the number on the scale, but you can control adding a piece of fruit to your breakfast. Studies show that health markers improve health-promoting behaviors even when there is no change in weight.

What are some examples of other health promoting behaviors?

  • Get an extra hour of sleep.
  • Walk to the shop instead of taking the car.
  • Including vegetables in dinner.
  • Eating every few hours.
  • Wearing your seatbelt.
  • drink more water.
  • Setting aside 5 minutes to meditate most days.
  • Scheduling an appointment with a therapist.

These are all intentions and goals that are within your control (assuming you have the access and financial privilege to do so). Instead of using the number on the scale as a metric for success, take a look at your energy level, your mood, how you feel physically, your sleep, your stress levels, and your health markers (such as blood pressure, cholesterol, A1C). , etc.) Note. ,

3. Focus on setting intentions with an abundance mindset.

Focusing on what we can’t do or what we can’t do puts us in a mindset of scarcity or scarcity. Have you ever walked into a room with a child and you tell them they can play with any toy in the room except that one thing is off-limits? Guess who they want to play with? forbidden fruit! We are wired just like adults.

If you tell yourself you can’t have bread or ice cream or pasta, guess what you might be thinking about after all. , time? Instead of setting goals with a deprivation mindset, set intentions centered around abundance. what do you want to invite more than in your life?

It may seem like you’re adding more fruits and vegetables to your day versus avoiding carbs. It may seem like cutting back on white rice instead of adding more whole grains to your week.

Also, ask yourself, what really lights you up, What makes you feel good physically, mentally and spiritually? If You’re Setting Intentions to Do Things You Don’t Actually Do want to but think you shouldIt won’t be sustainable.

Let’s say you hate the gym but feel like you have to hit the treadmill, you’re probably going to leave the gym not feeling energized or motivated. What if you set an intention around a movement you really enjoy, even if you don’t think it “counts” like yoga or barre. If you pursue things that you truly enjoy, you are more likely to do them!

For more tips on a non-diet New Year’s, see my post below:

10 Non-Diet New Year’s Resolutions

Are You On The Hunger Fulfillment Diet?

the last supper syndrome

Beginner’s Guide to Intuitive Eating

How will you set goals or intentions this year? Tell me in the comments below! We’ll be continuing the conversation on Instagram, so be sure to follow me there if you aren’t already! And if you want more support, make sure you’re subscribed to my email list so you never miss a newsletter!

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