There’s a good chance that many of you will be making some diet or exercise related-resolutions. You may be super-excited at the very thought of a thin transformation. Maybe you think thin and see happiness at the end of a dark tunnel.

But instead of (or at least in addition to) making diet or workout goals for 2010, try something new, something a little different. Some ideas:

  • While making resolutions to “transform” your body, make one to transform your body image and self-acceptance. Consider doing a few things each week or month to boost your body image.
  • Resolve to appreciate yourself. Start with a compliment a day. Consider keeping a journal of daily compliments. How great to read that by the end of 2010!
  • Consider keeping a journal of gratitude: You might write “Today, I’m thankful that my body let me run…I’m thankful that I had an awesome day with mom…I’m thankful that I kept a positive attitude, even though it was a rough day.” You can elaborate as much or as little as you want but resolve to write every day or at least a few times a week. Here’s a list of 11 questions to ask yourself.
  • Avoid resolutions that call for punishing workouts and restriction. Why? In addition to being potentially detrimental to your health, neither grueling exercise nor calorie restriction makes a sustainable lifestyle.
  • Avoid making resolutions about weight (i.e., lose 10 lbs. by springtime). The number on the scale says nothing about your health. Instead, think of habits that contribute to your overall wellness and a healthy lifestyle. And consider avoiding the scale altogether.
  • Be kind to others and yourself. Whatever resolutions you make, approach them with kindness to yourself. Hopefully you’re creating resolutions because you’d like to improve your life or the lives of others. Do that from a place of genuine kindness and self-care, not from a place of self-hatred and self-loathing.
  • When making resolutions, ask yourself: “Can I continue these resolutions long-term, as a lifestyle change? Are they truly good for me?”
  • Don’t try to create something you’re not. Many of us just won’t be able to get into a size zero. This is not an unfair limitation of life. Everyone’s shape is different – and equally beautiful! If you’re going to make changes, just keep in mind that you aren’t doing this to become someone else but to improve your life and be healthy.
  • Consider your motivations. Why are you striving for this change? Because someone said you need to lose weight? Because society says you have to look a certain way? Make sure that the motivation for change is coming from a healthy place, that you genuinely want to accomplish these goals, that you genuinely think they’re healthy.
  • Resolve to find a therapist if you’re struggling with an eating disorder, food and/or body image issues. Here’s an example of a therapist-related resolution from the Center for Eating Disorders at Shepphard Pratt:

Before the week is over, I will call and schedule an appointment to begin seeing a therapist.” This is an example of a small but very meaningful task that can result in long-term change.  If you already see a therapist, consider this instead: “In the next week, I will use at least one new support or coping skill that I’ve never tried before.” Examples include: attending a support group, journaling, or enrolling in art therapy.

  • Set up positive body image reminders Operation Beautiful-style. Consider what you love about yourself and write it down. If you’re feeling blah and can’t think of anything, consider your favorite qualities or qualities that others have told you they love about you. Still not in the mood? Just write down something like “Smile!” or your fave inspirational quote on a sticky-note and post it on your mirror, lunch bag, water bottle or forehead. 🙂

What resolutions are you making this year? What ideas do you have for boosting your body image in 2010?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on the reality behind common weight-loss and workout-related resolutions.

Additional Resources

Specific resolutions for individuals with an eating disorder (thanks @voiceinrecovery for the link!), which make great goals for anyone really.

20 ways to love your body.