Healthy Lifestyle

The resolution trap (and three ways to avoid it)

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By The Edith Sanford team

January 2, 2014

New Year's ResolutionsIt’s January 1, and you’re feeling inspired. Pumped up. Ready to make this the best year ever. You’re going to workout every day, swear off sugar and learn to love kale.

Fast forward to January 27, and you’re feeling like a big old failure. You’ve worked out four times, are currently eating your way through the last of the peppermint stick ice cream and there’s a bunch of kale wilting in your fridge.

What happened? This year was supposed to be different! You were going to be GOOD!

The issue could be that little word “good.” You might be surprised to discover that the all-or-nothing mentality of resolutions and your best intentions are actually setting you up for failure.

When we assign the black and white terms of “good” or “bad” to certain foods or behaviors, we’re laying the groundwork to judge every bite we take, and ourselves for taking it. When cake is “bad,” you’re bad for eating it. And if you’re being bad, you might as well eat another piece, because you’ll be “good” tomorrow. It can start a spiral that will tank your resolution in no time flat.

So what’s the solution?

Banish “good” and “bad”

No food is either “good” or “bad.” Eating doesn’t make you good or bad. Exercising doesn’t make you a good person and sleeping through a run doesn’t mean you’re a poor excuse for a human being. Basing your worth on whether or not you turn down a cookie creates unnecessary and negative pressure.

Make resolutions that are specific and realistic

Instead of saying you won’t eat any sugar ever(!!!), think of where you can cut back so an occasional treat won’t mean you’ve been “bad.”

  • Example: Resolve to eat dessert just once a week.

Rather than pledging to workout every day, meaning just one skipped work out = failure, set a specific fitness goal to work toward.

  • Example: Resolve to register for and complete your first 5K.


Cut yourself some slack

A healthier lifestyle isn’t a resolution; it’s a series of decisions you make over and over. And sometimes you’re going to make poor decisions. Think about how you got off track and then get back on. Beating yourself up and declaring failure won’t help you reach your goals. Onward and upward!

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