6 New Year Resolutions That Don’t Involve Weight Loss

Olivia Burton

Welcome to a new year and all of the generic new year, new you’ slogans that come with it.

I had a few glasses of wine and whiskey to celebrate (with my parents because I’m rock n’ roll) and my hangover in 2020 seems to feel the same as it did in 2019.

Not much has changed.

New years itself may mean very little to me, but I do like the reminder to reflect on the last year and set some new intentions.

Image via @stephclairesmith

Steph Claire Smith

This is not essential for everyone, but personally I enjoy the mental task of dropping some anchors around what I want from the next 12 months both small and big.

Something I resent seeing every new year is the constant focus around weight loss. Yes, if one is unhealthy, it is important to consider some changes however, it’s not something that should be related to a new year or marketed on us.

The media’s constant obsession with weight loss is getting boring, highlighting women’s success from being thinner.

A recent example is the focus on the singer Adele’s weight loss; suddenly she is ‘kicking goals’ in life according to the press because she has slimmed down. She was a badass before; why does her loss of weight mean she is more appealing and successful?

“It’s important to recognize that outside-in solutions such as dieting, joining gyms and so on are doomed to fail if, other than your well-intentioned resolve to change, you’ve done nothing to enhance your capacity to either sustain motivation or handle the inevitable stress and discomfort involved in change.” – Joseph Luciani, Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail, US News 2015

Did the button on my skirt pop open today as I’ve eaten too much over summer? Yes.

Will I try and lose weight for my new year’s resolution? No.

I’m still healthy and will maintain my health based on my opinions. I want to focus on more important things for 2020 other than achieving a flat stomach, if you feel with me – here’s some ideas below. Note, if you are going to set a weight-related resolution, make it about long-term health, not society’s perception of how women should look.

1. Try a new hobby 

Everyone needs a good hobby. If you haven’t found something that makes you excited or even challenged yourself recently – try something new!

I’ve tried a lot of new things and even if I’ve hated it, it has helped in some way – even if it’s just been to add spice to the 9-5 weekday grind. Ideas for new hobbies (try 8-week courses as a taster) include improvisation, pottery, dancing or Volleyball – get inspired on websites like Meetup to find new groups. Hobbies are really good for people both physically and mentally – here’s a BuzzFeed list of hobbies for people that suck at hobbies.  

2. Start writing 

I started writing on a free blog years ago (WordPress) to put my thoughts down, which has now evolved into a very enjoyable side hustle.

Blogs can be on anything from personal thoughts, to pictures of your cats. An alternative is personal journaling. To this day, I actually still write a personal diary for ideas and thoughts. It’s my own free therapist that doesn’t talk back. I am however constantly terrified that someone may read it one day and realise I’m crazy – but aren’t we all?  

3. Get green(er) 

If the last 12 months hasn’t inspired you to get more environmentally conscious and active, then clearly you weren’t living on this planet.

2020 is really the last chance we have to make drastic changes to combat climate change. As much as change shouldn’t be on the everyday individual (it should be on businesses and governments); small individual change is powerful.

Most people are getting eco-conscious, keep cups and reusable water bottles can be seen everywhere but let’s go further if you have the capacity. Get more involved in green practices at your workplace, write to your local MP, change to an ethical bank or super fund. Get involved with climate protests in your nearest city to demand action from governments. The power is with the people and the time is now!  

4. Try something different 

Trying something different might be anything from a new route or method to get to work, or trying a new cafe you’ve never been to.

Change up a weekend routine or even change the layout of your bedroom! It has been suggested that doing something different, even mundane, can be good for your mental health (and possibly physical). It sparks a new pathway in your brain. 

‘Whether you realize it or not, you spend the majority of your day doing things you’ve already done hundreds or thousands of times before. Very rarely do you actually try new things for the purpose of engaging a unique experience’ – Huffington Post, 2017

5. Get to know yourself 

Improving relationships with friends, co-workers, families, and other humans are centered around the relationship we hold with ourselves. Getting to know ourselves apparently has a wide range of benefits, from becoming less dependent on others, to reducing anxiety. This doesn’t necessarily mean investing lots of time meditating alone, it can be in the form of journaling, counseling or even thinking. Start easy with a personality test (this is often used in work team building to understand others). 

6. Keep calm and carry on 

The world right now feels like a scary place, let’s not overcomplicate it further if it’s not necessary. Don’t feel bad if you don’t want to set anything for 2020, just carrying on and being kind is wonderful enough.  

Olivia Burton

Olivia is an eco-writer, producer, science graduate & ocean enthusiast. After moving from London to Sydney, she found her love for the outdoors and recycled textiles, which led her to start writing about science and sustainable fashion. Olivia is really passionate about brands using fashion for good and innovation in the industry. She now splits her time between several not-for-profit organisations in communication roles. Olivia is also a Centre for Sustainability Leadership alumni and sits on the Fashion Revolution committee for Australia & New Zealand.