Move Over Weight Loss! 8 Wellness Resolutions Worth Setting

“It is only possible to live happily everafter on a day to day basis.” – Margaret Bonnano

About 45 percent of Americans typically set New Year’s resolutions, according to University of Scranton research conducted in 2012, and weight loss tops the charts in popularity.

Not exactly the most joyful outlook of the new year...

Not exactly the most joyful outlook of the new year…

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather focus on gaining something wondrous than losing something I loathe. Luckily, positivity isn’t only enjoyable, but makes obtaining our goals easier. Here’s a prime example: Saying we want to lose weight immediately places focus on what we find detrimental, working like a mega-volt highlighter on those added pounds. We walk around hyperaware of our “flaw,” a state that can trigger food cravings, stress, depression and even weight gain. This is only one reason weight loss efforts tend not to work for long or at all.

The solution isn’t giving up on weight-related issues, in my opinion, but meeting them in alternate ways. More often than not, lifestyle problems are rooted much deeper than how many servings of ice cream we eat or workouts we skip. It only makes sense that we dig deeper when setting our sights on change.

Rather than aiming to diet, struggling through workouts you hate or fill-in-the-self-tortorous-blank, why not prioritize self-care? Taking care of ourselves makes way for goodness of all kinds. Doing so is also fun, healthier and safer than typical wellness-related resolutions and the closest thing I know of to a superpower. When we embrace it…MAGIC!

wondrous quote self care

That’s more like it!

Whether you plan to set New Year’s resolutions by January or simply strive to better yourself in general, I hope you’ll consider taking a positive stance. All of the following goals can help pave the way for enhanced weight control, wellness and, most importantly, overall happiness.

8 Wellness Resolutions Worth Setting

1. Look in the mirror and express self-love daily. “I love you.” “You’re beautiful.” Say them out loud! Look into your own eyes and mean it. Stare until you see something embraceable. It may sound silly, but I’m telling you, it works. Choose an affirmation that suits your area of challenge, or change it up with new affirmations every week. For a list of ideas, pop by the Huffington Post: Body Image Affirmations: 10 Mantras to Help Stressing Over Your Appearance.

2. Eat more nutritious, whole foods. Focus on more (of you, of wellness, of healthy fare…), not less (of you, of “bad” foods…). Seek tasty ways to savor healthy dishes. Restrictive diets don’t work, but nourishing your body and soul so do! The more you enjoy them, the more you’ll crave the same. If you work best with guidelines, dodge diets and consider these Intuitive Eating principles instead.

3. Engage in physical activities you enjoy. Take a dance class. Hike with friends. Walk your dog. While hitting the gym isn’t a bad thing, particularly if you enjoy it, we’re more likely to stick to and have success with activities we delight in. (Makes sense, right?) The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that most adults aim for 2.5 hours of moderately-intense activity per week. Aim to spend that time not in misery.

4. Prioritize sex! Speaking of enjoyable exercise… 😉 Routine sex promotes everything from strong immune function and libido to improved energy levels and a longer life. (Sign. Me. Up!) Prioritize physical intimacy with a partner and engage in solo sex. Seek ways to enhance all of your sensual experiences. Remind yourself that doing so isn’t selfish, but respectful and healthy. To learn more about the benefits, check out Girl Boner Perks for Jollier Holidays.

5. Keep a gratitude or dream-seeking journal. As many of you know, I mentor and provide nutritional counseling for people suffering from eating disorders. A technique that works well for them—shifting their focus from body and food fixation to emotional fulfillment—works brilliantly for weight control and overall wellness. If you find yourself stressed about food or shunning your physicality, don’t aim to shrink your body; expand your dreams and your willingness to pursue them. Journaling grateful thoughts is a proven way to boost inner and outer wellness.

6. Allow yourself some wiggle room! I wrote an article last year about research headed by Katrina Leupp, a doctoral student of sociology at the University of Washington, on the tendency for “Super Moms” to get the blues. The study showed that women who cut themselves some slack—ask for help as needed and learn to “let things slide,” have lower instances of depression. The same holds true for our lifestyle habits. If we aim too high, we’re likely to fall flat. In whatever area you tend to be hardest on yourself, commit to easing up.

7. Say ‘no’ when it means saying ‘yes’ to your wellbeing. It’s been called the “disease to please,” the common tendency to feel so compelled to please others, that we get lost in the shuffle, overextending and often compromising ourselves on others’ behalf. Committing to saying ‘no’ when saying ‘yes’ would stand in the way of your physical or emotional wellbeing is a primo goal worth setting. As etiquette specialists Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh smartly said, “A gift isn’t a gift if it’s an obligation.”

8. Practice mindfulness. With few exceptions, this one does not come naturally to me—but lordy, is it important! Learning to eat mindfully instead of diet can turn something stressful or blasé into a gratitude-filled, fortifying experience. Staying present while we’re driving can literally save lives.  Too many times over the past year, I’ve caught myself physically in one place and mentally in another. While I’ll always embrace daydreaming (it’s arguably a writer’s job, right?? ;)), I’m committing myself to being more present in my daily life.

What goals or resolutions are you working toward? What are your favorite ways to stay physically and emotionally fit? Any questions or items to add to my list? I love hearing from you—so much so, I’ll even don my nutritionist’s cap if you have dietary questions. 🙂

Wishing you wondrous holidays! ♥

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21 Comments

  1. I need help in all these areas, it seems. Put on more weight this year probably due to a combo of things (more time writing, less time exercising, more eating out with hubby, etc). Thing is, I know all the “right” things to do…but don’t do them. Guess I need to look at the “Amy project” more like writing a book…one page at a time, and I’ll get there! Thanks for a great post, August and have a wonderful Christmas!

    Reply
  2. These are great reminders! I gained five pounds after my doctors kept saying I could use a few. PAH! It all went around my belly! I’m eating salads at night until it goes away and will cut down on the Christmas cookies.
    Merry Christmas August!

    Reply
  3. Raani York

     /  December 20, 2013

    What an excellent post, August. I too, as so many others to feel the need of losing a few pounds. But I really don’t feel this right now is the right time for me!
    I want to enjoy the Christmas cookies – I want to relax, because I had a really hard year. But I promised myself, I will work on that as soon as the New Years has started properly and M.A. practice will pick up.
    I as well promised myself to walk more instead of taking the car – and I guess, this in combination will do the trick. 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you, August!! 🙂

    Reply
    • Excellent point, Raani. The holidays are a particularly bad time to focus on pound-shedding! Enjoyment is better for the waistline and heart than stress is. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

      Reply
  4. For my money, August, you’re the only self-help guru worth following.
    Well done.

    Reply
  5. Catherine Johnson

     /  December 20, 2013

    Love those resolutions, August! Much easier to keep to. Glad they start in the New Year not at Christmas :0) Happy Holidays!

    Reply
  6. These are great! I won’t use them as resolutions though, but as guidelines…because I’ve never set a resolution that I’ve achieved. 🙂

    I have work goals for 2014, and to improve my overall health, starting with a blood test after the first of the year. I WILL find a doctor who actually understands thyroids – and one who doesn’t think that synthetic thyroid hormones are the ONLY way to go…because I’m not taking them again. After much research, I stopped taking Synthroid in August and started a natural/iodine/iodide protocol…and I feel better than I have in two and a half years. That’s not saying a whole lot either. But now I’m finally willing to add something else – as long as it’s not synthetic.

    So those are the only two major things on the calendar for me next year. Oops. I do have one more…to do the stretches I learned in PT every day. When I get too focused on the writing and forget about them, I always, always regret it. So I have three goals, and for some reason, I tend to achieve things when I call them goals. But when I slap the term ‘resolution’ on them, it’s like the world’s best guarantee for failure.

    Favorite way to stay physically fit? Sex, of course. 😀 Though I do like my treadmill more when I have a good book to distract me.

    Reply
  7. Yep, Joe and I have plans to watch what we eat in the new year. We’re starting with a month. If we can achieve one month of eating more healthy, then the next month shouldn’t be as hard. At least this year I was pretty meticulous about vitamins and flossing, so there’s a plus!

    Reply
  8. Great list! I think there are a few on here that I can work on. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Thanks for sharing! I love #7! Healthy Boundaries are the key to wellness, as they allow us to cultivate self-love.
    Have a great holiday season!
    xo
    Amita
    http://www.AlignedHolistics.com

    Reply
  10. Yes! I do the people pleasing thing and eat junk till I hurt so others feel better. I love how you phrased that, “say “no” for your well-being.” I will! In some odd way, reading your words, somehow gave me permission to stop people pleasing. Thanks!

    My friend recently said something to me which really struck me (Unfortunately, I cannot remember who she was quoting), “Care for your body, not about your body.”

    Thanks for sharing,
    Lindsey

    Reply
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