5 New Year’s resolutions that are not about losing weight

Forget about a number on the scale and start thinking about your health in general.
Forget about a number on the scale and start thinking about your health in general.

If you are already thinking which unhealthy treats you will toss into the bin on New Year’s Day, it’s time to stop. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat healthier and improve your figure, we too often fall for the appeal of fad diets and quick fixes, only to feel disappointed (and famished) by the time we get to February.

While a healthy diet and exercise are important, why not take a new approach and make a resolution to improve your health holistically? Here are some resolutions that do not involve lettuce, crash diets and gruelling workouts.

1. Take control of your mental health

Read: The health screening you should have today that could save your life later

Don’t dismiss your mental wellbeing in 2019. If you suspect that you might be suffering from depression, general anxiety disorder or any other mental disorder, speak up. Find a therapist near you, or visit the South African Group for Depression and Anxiety for a free online screening and helpful contact numbers.

2. Go for all your check-ups early in the year

Read: Get these 15-minute essential health checks

This article shares the health tests that can be potentially lifesaving and detect conditions such as skin cancer, diabetes, breast cancer and other serious diseases. “The earlier we identify potential health problems, the better the outcome will be,” says Cape Town-based Dr Simone Shelly. These screenings are a good place to start. Do them before your savings in your medical aid fund run out.

3. Focus on a healthier body image

Read: 3 steps to a healthier body image

Now is the time to start loving yourself in 2019, even if you still have weight to lose. While an unhealthy lifestyle can do damage to your health, an unhealthy sense of self can also have far-reaching consequences. Make your journey about feeling great, not just about reducing the number on the scale. Appreciate your body for a functional approach and not an aesthetic one. Say, “I’m so grateful that my legs can make me walk,” instead of “I wish I had slimmer legs.”

4. Leave the fad diets in 2018

Read: Here’s how fad diets can mess with your brain

Need any more convincing? Stop telling yourself what you are not allowed to eat and simply swap processed, unhealthy foods for healthier, hearty options instead of banning all treats from on New Year’s Day.

5. Make time for meditation (or yoga, or reading)

Read: 3 ways to meditate like Oprah

Before you roll your eyes, this is not necessarily about meditation itself (although there are several proven health benefits). The crux of the matter is that you need to actively make time for relaxation, whether it’s through simple meditation, a yoga workout at home, a walk on the beach, or simply reading a couple of pages of a book each night. And when you take up an exercise regime as relaxation, set a functional goal instead of aiming for a certain number on a scale. Tell yourself, “I want to be able to run 10km in March” or “I want to exercise to feel more energised in the mornings” instead of “I need to lose 5kg by February,” for example.

Image credit: iStock 

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