As is customary for publications in early January, New Thinking had a fresh batch of articles dedicated to those looking to turn a new, healthy page with the start of the year. Jaime Andrews gave us an approachable guide to setting resolutions we could actually follow, while Jennifer Kurdyla explained the “anti-cleanse” Ayurvedic approach to that popular ritual for those who went hard on the sugar and booze during the holidays. Fittingly, our site itself embarked on a cyber refresh with its very own shiny new domain name, as we’ve officially moved over to newthinking.com. A poetic time to migrate!
We’re a solid week and some change into the new year, which means that, by now, our resolutions have been put to the test. Having been one of those aforementioned people who overindulged during December, I decided to start the year right with my friends at School of Thot, resetting my diet through macro counting, while giving my poor liver a break with a dry January. (Given that my husband and I were gifted a wine advent calendar for December—which meant we were basically guaranteed to be drinking daily—this is a must.) So far, so good. It’s been unexpectedly fun to revisit my favorite non-alcoholic beverage options. Hello, old friends—welcome back to my fridge.
Taking stock of how it’s going so far, I can say I gleaned a fair amount of helpful, actionable advice from both Jaime’s and Jennifer’s articles, as different as their approaches may be. While initially, I dreaded the thought of leaving behind my carb fest of Christmas cookies, it’s been a welcome relief to have the structure of a daily meal plan. Like Jennifer mentioned in her article, one of the biggest forms of stress around food sometimes comes from just trying to decide what to eat. Whether simplifying with a mono-diet for a period of time—like she suggests in her article—or following a straightforward, macro-balanced meal plan for your daily intake, it’s psychologically soothing just to know your food has already been figured out for the day. While it requires time to prep my food, having my stock options ready to eat gives me one less decision I have to make during this hectic start of the year. Plus, it’s healthier and cheaper than takeout, which would be my regular go-to for stress eating.
Meanwhile, I appreciated Jaime’s practical approach to choosing manageable changes-—and how we should all give ourselves grace when tackling these resolutions. It’s so easy to go into all-or-nothing thinking if you’re being too ambitious or extreme with your goals. Signing up for the gym, swearing to work out at 5 am every day, and then you’re suddenly one of those people who pays monthly and never visits. Pledge to do the Whole 30, eat one cookie, and suddenly you’re eating a whole sleeve. But as Jaime says, “You can choose to restart whenever you want, there are no rules saying you can’t.” One cookie is fine. Just restart your eating plan. One day off from the gym is fine—but hold yourself accountable and go tomorrow.
I, for one, wanted to follow Jaime’s advice and make a vision board… which I still haven’t. But guess what? I’mma do it. Because there’s no rule that you can only do that shit on January 1.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “Well shoot, I didn’t make resolutions this year,” I’ll challenge you to make them now. Pick a goal, make it attainable, something you can do daily, and then get a buddy who will hold you to it. If you’re a stressed mess or have been feeling uncomfortable in your body, some enormously good yet attainable daily goals that any doctor would be thrilled to see you tackle are: meditating, walking 10,000 steps, or drinking a gallon of water. If you’re feeling ballsy, you might want to tackle all of these, but maybe start with one and add on once you’ve built the first new, healthy habit.
If those resolutions don’t suit you, perhaps you’d like to change your mind… literally. One of the best things I learned back in my early days of self-brainwashing was that you actually can change yourself by forcefully reprogramming your thoughts into new patterns. This sounds aggressive, but for most people, it just means saying nice things to yourself frequently. You’ve heard of affirmations, right? They might be trendy, but really it’s just a woo-woo filter put on cognitive behavioral therapy, where you do exercises to interrupt automatic negative thoughts, thereby reprogramming your brain. If you’re in a negative thought pattern, your brain is likely talking shit to you on the regular. So just start talking NICE shit to yourself on purpose. Tell yourself you are the thing you want to become—”I love my body, I love myself, I’m successful and smart”—and after enough internalizing, you’ll believe it’s true, and then it will become true. I’ve met enough delusional types who made it big in Hollywood to know this is a real phenomenon.
The old adage claims people don’t change, but in reality, we’re all changing daily. We’re aging, growing, living, dying. Change really is the only reliable constant in life. So why not embrace that and exercise some agency during your stay on this pale blue dot? Who knows if we will all live to realize our best selves: but if we keep telling ourselves that’s what we already are, we just might be lucky enough to live to the day when we believe it.