New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition for many of us, but the goals we set for ourselves are starting to shift overall. A survey conducted by Life Time, the healthy way of life organization, found that those surveyed are now prioritizing overall improved mental health as their New Year’s resolution rather than physical resolutions like weight loss goals.
While losing weight as a New Year’s resolution is a noble goal, it brings with it the potential for lowering your self-esteem and possibly contributing to or triggering an eating disorder. The disappointment and frustration associated with weight loss New Year’s resolutions can be detrimental to our emotional and mental well-being.
Weight Loss Goals and Mental Health
Exercise is a mood elevator and anxiety reducer. However, attempting dieting alone can have the opposite effect and may actually increase depression and anxiety. Missed goals can lead to poor body image, and advertisements for fad diets paint a picture that your life will be transformed if you lose weight, when that simply won’t be the case.
Rather than setting a weight loss goal, set a goal to use exercise as therapy and learn to love your body regardless of shape or size.
Change Those Goals
Instead of setting weight loss goals with specific numbers, i.e. “I’m going to lose 20 pounds in 2 months,” set an increased activity goal and a goal for eating healthier. In most cases, weight loss will be a pleasant side effect.
Other healthy goals to set can include:
- Increased strength
- Better flexibility
- More endurance
- Faster/shorter lap times
- More energy
Set Fun Goals
A key component of successfully maintaining a healthier lifestyle includes setting goals that are fun. To increase your activity level, try a new form of exercise like boxing, water aerobics, cross country skiing, or Zumba. Make new friends and enlarge your support group by joining classes or groups such as a nature trail hiking group or a weekend bicycling organization. Meet new people, see new places, enjoy new experiences, all while getting healthier.
If you have more questions about leading a healthy lifestyle, or have other mental health questions, please contact us today. At Dallas Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, we understand that multiple conditions can go hand-in-hand, and we design our programs to meet individualized patient needs.