New Years can be a challenging time of year for those who are focusing on healing their relationships with self and their bodies. There is so much focus on dieting, becoming your best self, and success. After a month of resting and enjoying time with family and friends, diet culture comes in and tells us we need to lose weight and fit into that pair of jeans from high school. Diet culture is a liar, and you don’t need to do any of that. I just want to give you permission to take a step back, and realize you are amazing and worthy as you are right now.  

At the end of your life, people will not say, “She had such a perfect body. She still fit into her jeans from high school.” Instead, they will say, “She made everyone around her feel so loved. She made such a difference in my life.” If you want to say no to diet culture this year and make goals that have nothing to do with dieting, here are some helpful goals. Choose which ones you resonate with and consider your own values. For example, do you value time, family, friendships, or travel? Make goals this year that align with your values.  

  1. Commit to becoming an Intuitive Eater this year. Intuitive Eating is a self-care framework created by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. Intuitive eaters use internal hunger and fullness cues to guide eating. Intuitive eating has been linked to better health outcomes, a low preoccupation with food, less disordered eating, and a more positive body image. We can help you on this journey with our group! Sign up here. 
  2. View sunlight in the morning for 5-10 minutes each day. Viewing sunlight in the morning has been one of the biggest gamechangers in my mental health this past year. Viewing sunlight in the morning within 90 minutes of waking will help you to regulate your circadian rhythm, regulate mood, and sleep better. As a disclaimer, do not stare directly at the sun. 
  3. Begin a joyful movement practice. So many of us have fraught relationships with exercise. It is so common for us to feel guilty if we miss a workout in our busy week. Movement doesn’t have to be a certain routine or workout. Joyful movement is a practice of listening to your body and finding what feels good. Part of this process is trying out different types of movement multiple times. Try a yoga class, walking, Pilates, lifting weights, hiking, and rock climbing. For me recently, what I have enjoyed is jiu jitsu and ballet. Movement is such a personal experience and should be explored on your own. 
  4. Create a nighttime routine that works for you. Creating a nighttime routine can really make the difference in your sleep. This is an amazing self-care practice that you can do for yourself every single day. This could look like taking a rejuvenating shower, having a cup of hot tea with honey, and reading a book before going to bed. It could also be as simple as brushing your teeth, doing your skin care routine, and journaling before bed. Find what works for you. 
  5. Read books that help you grow and foster adventure. Did you know that reading fiction is good for you? Yes, reading fiction helps foster empathy, helps you learn more about yourself, and helps you cognitively. Some fiction books I’m loving are A Court of Thorns & Rose by Sarah J. Maas and Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reed. For some non-fiction book recommendations, you can’t go wrong with Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch and Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison. 
  6. Start a new hobby. There are so many amazing things that we can do with our time. Sometimes it’s really hard to choose the “best” thing. Well, I just want to say you don’t need to be perfect (and that’s literally an impossible goal) and that hobbies are an amazing way to connect to yourself and your creativity. There are so many hobbies out there that are amazing such as reading, knitting, cooking, hiking, travelling, photography, and so much more! I encourage you to take 10 minutes each day this year to spend on doing what you love. If you don’t know, try new things! Trying new things can help you learn more about yourself and the world.  
  7. Cultivate positive body image. Improving body image can be hard, but it is something that you can totally do this year. Some ways to cultivate positive body image are: follow social media accounts that show diverse bodies, focus on what your body can do not on what it looks like, and read books such as Body Kindness. If you need more support, we encourage you to work with an Intuitive Eating dietitian or a HAES-aligned therapist.  
  8. Re-evaluate who you follow on social media. When you open your social media apps, what do you see? If you’re mainly seeing six-pack abs then it may be time to go through your social media and unfollow some people. Having a diverse Instagram feed can be so helpful to your body image.  
  9. Foster positive relationships in your life. Relationships are such an important part of living a balanced lifestyle. Think about the closest five people in your life. Do you feel supported by them? Do they feel supported by you? If you answered no, it may be time to really foster more relationships with others. Choose a community that feels uplifting, helpful, and that accepts you for you. During this process, it is so important to also foster that relationship with self. Licensed therapists can help you with this journey.  
  10. Cook more at home. Cooking at home is a wonderful way to practice self-care and save money. Maybe one of your goals for the New Year could be to learn how to cook or become a better cook. Some websites that can be so useful are Pinterest, Half Baked Harvest, and Budget Bytes.  

Contributed by intern, Anna Nakamoto