Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

By Quinn Nystrom, MS

There are countless statistics online pointing out that 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February first. This news is not a secret either. Yet hundreds of thousands of people line up every year to jump on the January First Resolution-Making Bandwagon.

So why do we do this if we know that we will probably not follow through or bail within 60 days? Habit? Social Pressure? Peer pressure? All of the above?

Another bit of info that is also not a news flash is what the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are:

  • Exercise more (38%)
  • Lose weight (33%)
  • Eat more healthily (32%)
  • Take a more active approach to health (15%)
  • Learn new skill or hobby (15%)
  • Spend more time on personal wellbeing (12%)

No surprise news here, right?  But unfortunately, the top three on this list are the ones that people have the hardest time staying true to. I say it’s time to get OFF this hamster wheel of madness and make a new more sustainable or nurturing plan for ourselves as the calendar gets ready to flip to a brand new year.

First, let’s make a plan of what not to do when making personal and healthy goals for 2019.

“Just say NO” to:

  • Regimented checklists
  • Joining resolution competitions or high-pressured groups

So as we switch to anti-resolution-making-mode, keep one thing in mind; goals are still very important in our lives. Goals not only help us pinpoint what means the most to us in the way of self-improvement, but they provide a starting point for that improvement. A ship can’t leave the harbor unless it has a destination, right?

Here are some guidelines for making a new-and-improved plan for 2019.

Be Real: Make the goals that you want to achieve, or where you want to be emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically, in the New Year reasonable, healthy and honest.

Be Clear: After choosing a specific goal, ask yourself, “What does that look like?” Saying you want to “Take a more active approach to health” is great, but a little vague. Drill down on this goal to identify each tiny step you need to take (including a desired end goal)…and walk towards them daily.

Get a Buddy: If you thrive on accountability then maybe a Goal Buddy is for you. You don’t have to make any changes or face new challenges in life alone.

Practice the K.I.S.S. Method (Keep It Simple, Silly): Instead of making 12 goals on January 1st and getting totally overwhelmed, pick one goal and focus on that. Trying to achieve too much at once is a sure-fire way to end up on Overwhelm Street.

Be Nice to You: We are all human which means we make mistakes and goof up. If you stray from your original plan, all is not lost. Don’t beat yourself up for getting off track. Just get up, brush off the hypothetical dust, and get back into the swing of it.

Celebrate: No matter how small the progress or achievement…celebrate it. Give yourself a high-five, fist-bump or verbal pat on the back and rock your victories.

Most importantly, don’t fall for the hype especially if you are someone in recovery. Know your body, spirit, and limits. Embrace those realities. Repeat.

May 2019 be your year!