2020 has been rough for everyone. After such a hard year, we can only look at 2021 as an opportunity for reinvention, or like some say, getting your life together. With the whole idea of  “new year’s resolutions,” it might be tempting to expect 2021 to do a 180 turn and give you a better life automatically.

However, these resolutions might not be as successful as the marketing campaigns make them out to be. US News shared that over 80% of new year’s resolutions fail and from those, almost half are related to diet, health and exercise.

This being said, I want to invite you to change your mindset around new year’s resolutions and see success in the small things you can change day to day. Most resolutions fail because they’re too ambitious and don’t focus on personal changes, which is why I'm here to give you some alternatives to the popular (and useless) resolutions that make their way onto our journals and notes app every January.

Don't Say: Lose "x" amount of pounds

Do Say: Eat more whole foods 

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Honestly, it’s pretty clear to me why 54% of dieting resolutions fail. Expecting to lose 20 pounds without a clear cut plan and help from a dietitian is very difficult; especially for those with a full schedule and a taste for food. It also places your focus on the wrong place. 

What you can do instead of focusing on the pounds is to try your best with eating whole foods. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are all full of fibers and an array of vitamins and minerals that will no doubt help you enhance your health and body functions. When we focus on our way of living rather than one concrete destination, it's manageable.

Don't Say: Start a specific diet

Do Say: Rethink dieting and follow intuitive eating 

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This one goes with the previous point that restrictive diets that cut out foods groups, like the keto and paleo diets, also cause unnecessary obsession over what you eat. Not to mention the slippery slopes these diets can start you off on. More than 45 million Americans are victims of diet culture and live in an incessant dieting mindset that causes more harm than good.

With this, I invite you to rethink dieting and look into intuitive eating. This concept is more of a philosophy rather than a strict eating pattern you should follow. It focuses on making you the expert of your body and its hunger signals, truly listening to what your body wants and find balance in your eating practices.

Don't Say: Go to the gym 5 times a week

Do Say: Sit less and move more 

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Like stated before, the number one mistake when making new years resolutions is setting unattainable goals. Being honest with oneself is key when setting goals and expecting yourself to meet them. If you barely workout, its unattainable to think you will really have the motivation and commitment to exercise every single day just because that's your resolution.

So instead of unintentionally setting yourself up for failure, set attainable goals. Maybe you spend a lot of time sitting down because of work or school. Set of a goal of standing up and walking around the house or office at least 4 times a day. Or maybe make a plan to work out twice a week and after a month increase it to four times and so on. The key to these resolutions is being honest with yourself and setting yourself up for success by doing small things that add up and teach you commitment and motivate you. 

Don't Say: Go to the gym (knowing you don't like the gym)

Do Say: Find a sport/activity you enjoy 

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Being fit and healthy looks different for everyone. Some of us are gym rats and could spend 2 hours per day in the gym, while others love to play sports and do more social activities to get their exercise in. Just because the gym serves as some sort of symbol for fitness, it doesn't mean that's the only way you can move your body and stay active. 

Especially with COVID-19 and the risks of going to the gym, 2021 is the perfect year to ditch the norm and do your own thing. Try different activities and sports and see what you like. Finding something enjoyable is key to staying motivated and committed to the goal. A lot of fitness studios and yoga studios are offering online classes which you can do at home. From yoga classes, to boxing, to biking with peloton, the options are endless. Explore different things until you find the one that fits best.

Don't Say: Give my 100% in everything all the time

Do Say: Listen to my body and personal needs

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We are humans going through a pandemic and adapting to our new normal. It is okay to not be okay; to need a break and just rest from time to time. When starting a new year, its easy to get lost in the ambition and thrill of having new goals and staying focused. A lot of people forget how necessary it is to rest and listen to your body's needs. 

Maybe you have an amazing workout schedule, but one week you feel tired and less energetic. When that happens, it's okay to tone it down. Maybe you've been keeping up with your meal prep and eating super healthy, but you have a crazy busy week and don't have time to keep it up. That's also okay. The most important thing to understand is that a break doesn't mean you're giving up. Missing a day at the gym or eating out will not delete all of your effort. Taking breaks are important but coming back from them stronger is even more important. 

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