As you take down your 2017 calendar and switch it for a 2018 one, you may be inspired to start this new year fresh. The end of December and beginning of January marks that time when people create their New Year’s resolutions to work on themselves for the next year. Yet, most of us acknowledge that sticking with New Year’s resolutions can be pretty difficult for a whole 365 days and you have a much better chance at keeping your resolutions if they are realistic. But there’s another factor to your resolutions that you should consider — how healthy your New Year’s resolutions are. Because if your health is hurting due to your goals for improvement, then there’s a major disconnect there.
The best way to keep your New Year’s resolutions is to have them be specific and attainable. Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed and end up giving up on them. And giving up on resolutions is extremely common since Forbes reported in 2013 that a study found that only 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
Going along with that train of thought, your New Year’s resolutions should support both your physical and mental health in order for you to be successful. So if your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or eat healthier — as Statistic Brain Research Institute found was the resolution of more than 20 percent of people in 2017 — you need to make sure your fitness goals aren’t taking a toll on your mental health. Otherwise, you may end up giving up on your resolution. And, even worse, you might be doing yourself more harm than good when the whole point of resolutions is self-improvement.
Whether you are setting out to draft your resolutions or are all ready to embark on them after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, here are nine signs that your New Year’s resolutions are unhealthy. So if you experience any of these in 2018, don’t feel guilty about revising your intentions for the New Year.
1. You are losing sleep.
A good New Year’s resolution for you might be to set your alarm clock earlier so you get in a morning workout or arrive at work on time. However, the flipside is that you will also need to go to bed earlier so that you aren’t sacrificing any precious Zzzs. We all know how bad sleep deprivation is for your health, so make sure your early morning resolution doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting enough sleep or you’ll be hurting in other ways.
2. You are fixated on the scale.
Rather than focus on a fitness goal, many of us look at how much we weigh to decide how healthy we are. We get that, we totally do. However, as countless body-positive Instagrammers have shown us, how much you weigh doesn’t define how healthy you are. If that’s not enough for you to stop being preoccupied with the number on a scale, body mass index (BMI) has been proven not to be an accurate measurement of your health. Plus, body fat scales aren’t always accurate since Berkeley Wellness reported that variables like how hydrated you are and when you last ate or exercised can impact them. So your fitness resolution will be healthier if you focus on how your body looks and feels rather than how much it weighs.
3. You have become anxious or stressed.
Finishing everything on your personal to-do list sounds like a good resolution — at first. But it’s overly ambitious and honestly, there will always be something new for you to do or to accomplish, especially in the course of a year. If a resolution like this one is leading you to have anxiety or stress that you never had before, it’s not worth having. Instead, alter this plan to tackle specific tasks on your to-do list that have been hanging over your head that will ease your stress rather than exacerbate it.
4. You aren’t eating a well-balanced diet.
Many fad diets have you eliminating entire food groups from your diet. And you’re free to try the paleo, Atkins, South Beach, or keto diets if you really want. But some fad diets are just plain unhealthy and combining them to lose weight even faster is definitely a bad idea since extreme dieting isn’t good for long-term weight loss. Your body requires certain essential nutrients and so it’s almost always better to maintain a well-balanced diet even as you try to achieve your weight-loss goals than to risk not getting the vitamins you need.
5. You need others to fulfill your resolutions.
Perhaps you have a resolution about your romantic life, like that you’ll get a significant other, move in with someone, get engaged, or be married by the end of the year. Yet, these resolutions aren’t really about self-improvement and require another person’s involvement and consent. Rather than deliver an ultimatum about marriage to your current partner or force your current partner into taking a next step that he or she isn’t comfortable with yet, focus on making sure your values are aligned and that you both want the same thing. And if you’re dating, it’s up to you if you want to be open to new experiences or be very clear about your vision for your future. Either way, don’t make it so your resolutions depend on how other people interact with or treat you — they should be about how you conduct and treat yourself.
6. You push yourself too hard in your workout goals.
Have you ever been on the elliptical and felt lightheaded but wanted to keep going to burn more calories or to do another mile? Well, exercising should never put you in danger. You shouldn’t be working out until you feel dizzy or feel like you’re going to pass out. Of course, there’s something to be said about the natural high you get from a truly ass-kicking workout, but you should be able to tell the difference between when you’re pushing yourself in a healthy way and when your body needs you to take a break. There’s no shame in stopping and checking in on your body — and there’s something to be said for working out smarter, not harder.
7. You made your resolution as a reaction to something.
There are some exceptions to this rule, like if you make a resolution to get healthier after a health scare in the family. But if you are making extreme resolutions after a traumatic life event, you might not be in the healthiest headspace. Don’t use your resolutions as an excuse to do something radical as a reaction to something. Take the time to think if this is the best resolution for you. After a traumatic event, “Don’t make any major life decisions or big life changes if at all possible. This is not a time to put pressure on yourself to do anything out of the ordinary. Concentrate on taking care of yourself,” the University of Notre Dame wrote.
8. You feel faint or hangry.
While the idea of eating 2,000 calories does not apply to everyone, you shouldn’t be eating so few calories that you start feeling faint or sick. Food is fuel and while you might be hungry if you’re trying to cut back on calories and lose weight, you should never feel like you don’t have enough energy to make it through your day. Plus, as fitness Instagrammers have shown, eating more calories can actually be a good thing for your fitness goals. Every body is different — before dramatically cutting down on calories, check with your doctor whether it’s safe to do so.
9. You’re being too hard on yourself.
Resolutions are typically goals that you have found hard to complete without pushing yourself. But that doesn’t mean you need to beat yourself up if you don’t achieve them or they are hard for you to accomplish. Any self-improvement or self-awareness is a milestone, so don’t forget to reward yourself for any steps you make toward your resolutions. And if a resolution is making you be too hard on yourself, modify it! Life’s too short not to be kind to yourself.
So as the Earth goes around the sun for another time, make sure your number one resolution is to maintain your mental and physical health. After all, there’s always next year or even the next day to achieve goals that seem too daunting this year or today.