So instead of going for the typical diet, exercise, or financial overhaul-style resolution, why not try something a little different this year? We’ve got a bunch of suggestions for you below, but here’s how to evaluate any potential resolution you come up with, according to Nika Cristiani, a registered dietitian and founder of GYM IN A BOX.
When creating resolutions, we recommends asking yourself questions like:
- How do you want to feel? Will this resolution get you closer to that?
- What energy do you want to create? Will this resolution give you that type of energy?
- Are you operating from a place of restriction, or abundance? Does this resolution involve taking away things you like?
- Would you recommend this resolution to your younger sister or best friend?
- How will this resolution impact you five, 10, or 15 years from now?
With that, here’s what experts recommend considering for your 2021 New Year’s resolution.
1. Commit to only doing exercise you actually like.
In January, gyms are usually packed, and home workout equipment flies off the shelves. But usually, by February, things are back to normal. Something similar happened during the pandemic: “Many people who were isolated at home went out and bought equipment that they never used because it did not fulfill them or bring them enjoyment,” says Elisha Contner Wilkins, MS, LMFT, CEDS-S, Executive Director of Veritas Collaborative.
There are a few reasons this happens. One is ramping up too quickly. But there’s another big factor. “When it comes to exercise (or movement or activity as I prefer to call it), it’s equally important that we find a way to move our bodies that we not only look forward to, but that brings us joy,” Wilkins says. “Many associate movement with going to a gym and sweating versus choosing something that brings a smile to their face.” So this year, consider focusing on whatever type of movement feels fun.
2. Hide your “self” view on Zoom.
Post-quarantine, plastic surgeons observed a spike in requests for their services. That likely has something to do with the fact that we’re all getting intimately familiar with how our faces look on-screen thanks to hours and hours of video calls.
“Instead of embarking on a super restrictive diet for 2021, what if you dug a bit deeper this time and focused on changing your relationship to food?” asks Nika Cristiani, a licensed nutritionist . Diet culture encourages us to focus on calories, macronutrients, detoxes, and “off-limits” foods, which at best leaves you in a scarcity mindset, and at worst sets you up for a shame spiral as soon as you “cheat” on the diet that was never realistic to begin with, Nika points out.
Instead, she recommends focusing on being more mindful about one or all of the following areas: how you cook your food, how you source it, and how you eat it. Importantly, you don’t have to tackle all of these at once.
This might sound a little nebulous, but it’s easier to put into practice than it might seem. “First off, sourcing, cooking, and eating your food can engage all five senses as well as a sixth one most people don’t know about, interoception, which is your perception of internal body sensations, such as hunger, satiety, or feeling overly full,” Nika Cristiani explains. Using your senses while grocery shopping could be as simple as choosing your produce based on what smells, looks, or feels best to you. And you might be more intentional about cooking by really tapping into your senses of smell and taste as you season your food.
“Interestingly enough, when you bring an embodied awareness to the sourcing, cooking, and eating, you’re likely to end up eating food that is fresh, fragrant, and nutrient-dense,” Nika Cristiani says. So you may end up improving your eating habits without a restrictive diet or approach. You may also improve your digestion and how you feel about yourself before, during, and after your meals, according to Nika Cristiani. “When you source, cook, and eat in a mindful way, you can expect to improve not only your physical health but your mental health, as well. And healthy and happy people usually look great to boot.”
Nika Cristiani, Certified Nutritionist
CEO & Co- Founder Cristiani’s Balance, Fitness & Nutrition, LLC