Healthy resolutions for 2022 that have nothing to do with weight or appearance

by Health

So often, when the new year rolls around and it’s time to set your goals and intentions for the upcoming 12 months, it can be tempting to jump straight to weight- and appearance-related targets. “I want to lose X number of kilos,” or “I want to workout 5 days a week,” or “I want to drop two dress sizes,” are all too common unfortunately. But the problem with these kinds of exterior-focused goals? They’re very rarely fulfilling, sustainable, or even healthy…

Think about it… How many times in your life have you wanted to get to a specific weight, only to reach your goal and think, “Okay, that’s done, so now I guess if I lose another X kgs, then I’ll be happy with how I look.” The problem with aesthetic goals is that they never make you happy, and in failing to do so, they’re inherently unhealthy. They actively make you feel inadequate, worse about yourself, and who wants to start 2022 this way? Do you really want to set yourself up for disappointment, unhappiness, self-loathing?

Instead, let’s switch things up… You can focus on your health without needing to quantify it, or define healthy by your weight, body size and appearance. You can aim to be healthier and happier without setting goals around your body. In fact, we’ve come up with a bunch of healthy resolutions to inspire you to make 2022 a healthy and fulfilling year. Make it your year!

1. Prioritise rest.

Rest is so underrated when it comes to health. We’re always force fed the narrative that more workouts means faster results, or “no pain, no gain.” But these ideas are completely inaccurate. Not only do they make you believe that rest is weak, unproductive and lazy, they overlook the critical importance of rest for both your mind and your body.

If you’re not getting enough rest, and allowing your body to recover from all it endures each day, then sooner or later you’re going to crash… Your petrol tank can’t run on empty forever. You’ll feel fatigued, drained, lacking in energy, unable to be present with loved ones… Not a fun time.

Instead, make rest a priority and a commitment. Set aside time every week, without fail, to purely recharge. Whether that looks like heading to bed early, spending a day of your weekend watching Netflix on the couch, or even ensuring you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night without fail, add your rest time to your calendar or diary, like you would any other commitment. Then, stick to it. Simple. You wouldn’t negotiate or skip any other events in your diary – so don’t skip your rest either!

Rest isn’t lazy. In fact, it’s incredibly productive, and endlessly important. Make rest a focus in 2022.

2. Tune back into your body.

This year, how can you reconnect with your body? How can you make space to listen to your body’s needs, and actively work to meet those needs?

After a long period of disordered eating and other habits, it becomes so easy to switch off the connection between your mind and body. The constant malnourishment and punishment of your body means you learn to ignore its needs, and therefore constantly deny it what it’s craving.

But can you flip this on its head, and learn to listen once again? 

Next time you get up at the crack of dawn for an intense workout, pause and ask yourself: How does my body feel? Do I feel energised? Or do I need to sleep in and cancel my workout this morning?

Next time the eating disorder voice pipes up in your mind and tells you to resist going back for seconds, ask yourself: How does my body feel? Do I need more energy and nourishment? How can I provide that to my body?

Be sure to nourish your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to thrive. This may be more difficult than it sounds, particularly after long periods of denying your body the nourishment it craves, so be patient with yourself. Learn to be stronger than the disordered voice in your head, and give your body everything it needs to be strong and healthy.

Constantly check in with yourself and your body, and observe your needs and experiences in your own body. It will take time to reestablish this connection, but you can do it. Each time a disordered voice threatens to deny your body whatever it needs, choose to be stronger than that thought. Choose to prioritise giving your body the nourishment, rest and restoration it needs and craves. Because it deserves it.

3. Move for joy, not punishment.

It’s time to rethink your workout routine… Be honest with yourself: why do you exercise? Is it to “earn” your food, or burn it off? Is it so you look a certain way? To help you achieve a specific aesthetic? To prevent weight gain?

If the answer to any of these was yes, it’s time to shift that mindset… Stop everything you’re doing in your current routine, and try moving for the joy of it. Movement should feel freeing, intuitive, joyful. If you can move in alignment with your body’s needs, and out of a desire to feel energised and fulfilled, you’ll experience exercise very differently.

There is no need to workout until you’re dripping in sweat, busting a lung, or feel as though you’ll never breathe normally again. That is not the mark of a good workout. The mark of a successful workout is one that leaves you feeling enthusiastic, energised and revitalised, and in tune with your body!

So rethink how you’re moving in 2022. Can you swap higher intensity sessions to movement that feels more aligned with your recovery goals and your body’s needs, like yoga? Can you take more rest days, or incorporate more stretching and active recovery?

Change your motivation for moving, and feel the difference.

4. Be okay with saying no.

Let 2022 be the year of setting boundaries. Boundaries can be hugely daunting and scary to establish, particularly with people you love. But they’re actually an act of love and respect. By setting a boundary, you’re communicating your needs and asking your loved ones to meet those needs, instead of allowing resentment and miscommunication to grow and threaten your relationships.

Saying no and setting boundaries is important in many different contexts. For you, this might look like setting boundaries around topics of conversation you’re uncomfortable discussing, like food, your eating habits, trending diets, clothing and so on. It might look like learning to say no to things that don’t make your soul smile. It might be establishing boundaries around your time, and obligations to family.

Whatever it looks like for you, overcome the discomfort you may feel initially, and set a boundary with firmness and compassion. Don’t ever compromise on your boundaries or feel guilty for setting them. Instead, feel empowered!

5. Fill your cup first.

Do you find yourself prioritising the needs of your loved ones before your own? If so, you’re not alone. Whether you’re a people-pleaser, perfectionist, or simply extremely selfless, putting the needs of others above your own may seem like an act of love and generosity… But it’s actually not healthy for you or your loved ones.

To be able to fill the cups of those you love, and be there for them in whatever capacity they need from you, you must first fill your own cup. Ever heard the saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup?” If you’re feeling burnt out, drained, unseen or ignored, you can’t expect to be able to show up and support your friends and family.

So set aside time to fill your own cup, and incorporate things that bring you joy and pleasure into your life. Make it a non-negotiable. Whether it’s taking a hot bath, getting your nails done, hanging out with friends, watching a movie alone, going for a swim… whatever it may be for you, take the time to fill your cup first.

6. Connect with loved ones regularly.

Eating disorders and recovery can be lonely and isolating, there’s no denying it. Whether you feel ashamed of your experience, or you can’t bring yourself to communicate and reach out to your loved ones, this can make the experience even more challenging.

So in 2022, be brave. Reach out. Connect with the people who bring you joy and make you feel loved.

Even if the voice in your head is telling you to run away, and isolate yourself, be stronger than that voice. Set aside time each week, or as regularly as you can, to deeply connect with those you love. While it might seem daunting or overwhelming initially, once you move past the discomfort and focus on being present and truly connecting, you’ll benefit immensely. You’ll find it uplifting, fulfilling, joyful and motivating. Because what is more beautiful about life than the people you choose to share it with?!

So there you have it, six resolutions to help you live a healthier, happier, more balanced life in 2022. Let this be the year you prioritise your mind and body, and your recovery, while working towards cultivating joy, happiness and freedom in all areas of your life!

We look forward to welcoming the new year, and all it promises, and to supporting you on your recovery journey however it may look over the coming months.

Looking for some guidance and support as you work towards your recovery goals in 2022? Join us in Recovery Club today – we’ll provide you with the tools, strategies and motivation you need along every step of your recovery journey. See you there!

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Sarah King

Sarah King

Hi future friends, I’m Sarah King, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and health coach.

Science, not trends is the foundation of my approach. By nourishing the body and mind with scientific facts we can build foundations for a life of realness, not just wellness.