I'm not really one for New Year's Resolutions. More often than not, (especially for women), they involve intent to alter one's physical appearance, sometimes based on the comparison between self and others. When I was a teenager, apparent 'goals' for the next year lacked in actual skill enhancing achievements and largely revolved around pressuring myself to lose weight and even one year, save up for plastic surgery. Every time I made an apparent 'resolution', I would allow it to absorb every ounce of my being for a few weeks and then spectacularly go off course into an abyss of frustration. The often superficial nature of New Year's Resolutions are laced in so much pressure that the inevitable end result sees us view ourselves as failures. This, conveniently, benefits the beauty and diet industries, ensuring our status as (physically and mentally blind) loyal consumers.
I've had enough of the start of a new year (in fact, the entire 365 days) being centred around unrealistic, ancient, simply boring beauty standards and subsequent feelings of low self-esteem. Instead of aspiring to obtain 'aspirational' images of what is considered beautiful and 'normal', how about we endeavour to do more to really love and appreciate our bodies - and ourselves - no matter their current physical state?
Let's set ourselves some self-love goals to carry throughout the year and for years to come which are actually obtainable and will do good things for our happiness levels. So, here's some self-orientated resolutions, with a difference.
1. I will only sign up for a gym membership if treadmills really and truly do it for me. If I don't use it, it's not only a waste of money but a niggle in the back of my mind that I don't need.
2. If the gym environment isn't for me, I will firstly understand that that is absolutely OK and then I'll find other ways of moving my body that satisfy it and my mind. If I wanna go for a Phoebe style run, then I damn well will.
3. I will make a point to observe when my thinking becomes negative. When I catch myself saying or thinking negative things about the way I and my body look, I'll intercept them immediately and counteract them with positive messages. Damn! Look at these legs, enabling me to walk!
4. I'm going to avoid scales as numbers tell me absolutely zilch about my happiness, health or worth. BMI should really stand for bullshit mass index.
5. I'm gonna stop basing my self-worth and success on how 'good' the day before's food choices were. On what planet does what I eat measure my success?
6. I and others in my company will make a conscious effort to never talk negatively about food or bodies (including my own) in front of children. Kids should be worrying about which toy to play with, not their weight.
7. If I want desert or a second helping, I will damn well have it! Food shame is so last year.
8. Instead of using my body as a source of comparison, I'll use it as a source of inspiration. 'Cause it's funking amazing. And the gorgeousness of someone else doesn't undermine my own.
9. I'll be more grateful for my body and how it enables me to get through the day. Hey, heart? Thanks for beating. Loving this, lungs! Thanks for breathing for me. I couldn't do this thing, you know; be alive, without you guys!
10. I'll choose to eat in ways which make me feel good at that moment in time. I get that occasionally this will involve chocolate because, you know, chocolate.
11. I'll stop engaging with media that makes me feel bad about myself. I'll nip that subscription to Vogue in the bud and stop endlessly scrolling through those thinspo tags. I'm gonna be my own kind of beautiful.
12. I will not put other people down based on their sense of style or the way they look.
13. When my friends put other people down based on their appearance and chosen form of self-expression, I'll speak up.
14. I will tell my partner(s) how beautiful they are. Everyone needs a reminder sometimes, especially in today's world.
15. When someone compliments me, I will simply say "thank you".
16. I'll wear what I want when I want. If I like it, that's all that's important. If I don't like something that someone else is wearing, I'll kindly keep my opinion to myself. The choices of others do not concern me.
17. I'll begin to try and decode the anti-fat bias that has silently seeped into my consciousness.
18. I will buy and flaunt a swimsuit that makes me feel gorgeous in the summer. Because every body is a beach body.
19. I will remember that my body is a vessel that carries me through this journey called life, and that it deserves my respect, admiration and care. I am so much more than how I look, but DAMN, I'm hot!