Research shows that half of all adults make New Year’s resolutions. Yet, less than 10% keep them for more than a few months . Many of these resolutions are related to things we want because we are told we need them to be happy, and the most common ones are dieting and increasing exercise. So, why not try something a bit different and make some positive body image resolutions?
But, attempting to alter the makeup of your body through possibly dangerous exercising and eating habits won’t bring you lasting happiness. Here are some positive body image resolutions that will.
Positive Body Image Resolutions
Accept Your Body
So much of our unhappiness with our appearance comes from what I call “comparisonitis,” a sickness sweeping the country that causes people only to measure their own worth based on how their appearance and lives compare to others.
We are constantly buying more, changing more, dieting more, and doing more to try to hit that mark of “perfection,” but that mark is elusive and ever-changing because it doesn’t truly exist.
Instead of looking at other’s bodies and attempting to mold yours to look like theirs, start practicing radical acceptance. Your body is yours.
It is the only one you are given. You can’t exchange it or change the makeup of it. It will carry you through many storms and victories no matter what it looks like. It is perfect just as it is.
Appreciate Your Body
A helpful step in a positive body image is accepting our bodies as they are and to appreciate all that they do. Even at this very moment, your body is working incredibly hard to allow you to read and process this article.
Looking deeper, your body is what allows you to wake up and exist in this world, to engage with other humans, to fuel you through your job, whether you like your job or not, to hug, to kiss, to run, to laugh, to dance, to jump, to see the world and the faces of those you love.
Your body is the machine through which your very life can exist. It is self-healing, self-recharging, and self-aware. Think of every gadget in your life you are grateful for; your cellphone, your car, Alexa, your camera, your pacemaker, medical machines, your computer, etc.
Your body surpasses them all in what it can provide you. It provides Life.
Take Care of Your Body
Continuing on this journey, if you are accepting your body as the incredible machine it is and want it to keep working optimally, you have to fuel it properly.
Go back to that running list of gadgets you so love and consider how carefully you take care of them. The only thing is, we don’t get a replacement body if we mess up this one.
Resolve this year to remember this when you engage in eating and exercising. Learn how to listen to the intuitive eating cues of your body when it tells you it needs food. What food? How much? What time? Anything more?
Learn to listen to the cues of your body as you exercise. Does something hurt? Where? What do I need to heal that? Am I pushing harder than my body is comfortable with?
Taking care of your body means understanding that it knows what it needs and respecting it enough to listen to it.
Like Your Body
Notice, I didn’t say “love.” There’s this idea that one must achieve to self-love to be fully free from diet culture and societal expectations.
The truth is, loving ourselves is really hard, especially if you are in eating disorder treatment or recovery. If we say we won’t be free until we love ourselves unconditionally, we make our world very small.
Freedom doesn’t have to mean an extreme love for all that we are, although that is possible and is also wonderful. Freedom can mean having a moment of self-love, a moment where you believed yourself as worthy, a moment where you listened to your body cues and fueled yourself based on them, a moment where you stopped to acknowledge how your body is carrying you through.
I have no doubt that you can get to beautiful, overwhelming, unconditional self-love, but why not at least start with “like” and build on that? These positive body image resolutions may be just the right answer to the New Year.
References: Griffiths, M. (2016). The psychology of new years resolutions. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/the-psychology-of-new-years-resolutions-51847.
About the Author:
Margot Rittenhouse, MS, PLPC, NCC is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims, and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.
As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published December 30, 2019, on EatingDisorderHope.com
Reviewed & Approved on December 30, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC