A new kind of resolution

Author: Ashley Solomon, Psy.D | 27 Dec 2010

Tagged: Motivation, Positivity

Raise your hand if you've ever made a New Year's Resolution to reach a certain weight, clothing size, or body shape?
Okay, put your hands down. It's too hard to type this with my hands flailing in the air.
The dawning of a new year, conveniently positioned right after a season of abundance, always seems to be the "perfect" time to resolute to change our bodies. But let's think about that word, resolution.
Resolution comes from the word resolve, which our friends at Merriam-Webster define as "to cause a resolution to a pathological state" and "to find an answer to."
But what if, just for this year, we decided that our bodies were not in a pathological state? What if they were in just the state they should be at this moment in our lives?
Many might mistakenly take this to mean defeat or giving up but that's not what I mean at all. Accepting ourselves doesn't mean not setting goals or remaining stagnant in our lives; it means, rather, to acknowledge where we are in a kind, loving way.
It is my belief that the only way to positive growth is through acceptance. It may seem counter intuitive, but we have to love ourselves exactly as we are today before we can change.
"Love myself?" you ask incredulously.
Yes, I reply, completely.
Resolutions, and the diet and weight loss companies that profit from them, bank on the idea that we hate ourselves, or at least hate some aspect of ourselves. They operate from the standpoint that we feel compelled to resolve some shameful or distressing aspect of our being - our waist, our hips, the number on the scale.
But the fact is that resolutions that start from a place of shame or distress are just like diets - bound to fail. In fact, research suggests over three-fourths of New Year's resolutions result in disappointment. And if they do truly operate like diets, many of those individuals will actually see a spike in the original behaviour they were trying to change or avoid.
So this year, try something new. Instead of setting a resolution to lose weight or fit into a certain size, set an intention - an intention to love your body for all of the amazing things it offers you and an intention to treat it with love and respect.
Ashley Solomon, Psy.D is a therapist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, trauma, and serious mental illness.
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