By: Rachel Brown
As we settle into life in 2016, we are constantly seeking ways to live out our New Year’s Resolutions and goals. Many of those may revolve around health, about carving out more time for exercise and finding ways to eat a little lighter after enjoying the delicious treats that the holiday season has to offer. But how do we find balance between pursuing our health-related resolutions and maintaining a good sense of body image, one that empowers us and doesn’t bring us shame? We’ve come up with some ideas about how to go about this, and we’d love to hear any tips or pieces of advice that you have to share.
Seek Out Accountability
If you feel tempted to berate yourself for not meeting your goals or you fear falling into a downward spiral of analyzing your flaws, it might be a good idea to set up an accountability group to help you along as you pursue your resolutions. Choose people who love you unconditionally and care about your success, but also have a compass that alerts them to when your methods for achieving your goals may be damaging your body and soul. Being able to speak freely and openly with your accountability group will truly set you up for success because you’ll be able to weed out your negative thoughts in a safe space while simultaneously taking the necessary steps forward in order to live out your resolutions in a healthy way.
Create Health-Based Goals, Not Superficial Ones
Focus your goal-setting efforts on making healthy resolutions instead of channeling all of your energy on achieving a goal that is based on appearance or superficiality. Keep your resolutions and ideas positive by coming up with specific, tangible ways to eat better (cook at home more, invest in a juicer, take your vitamins), exercise more (find a gym you love, form a workout accountability group, sign up for a cool yoga class), and generally be more active (take walking lunch breaks, commit to a FitBit or another kind of neat health monitor, drink more water). Setting a goal of losing weight is not bad at all; just make sure the goal is set for health reasons instead of vanity-related ones. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and your body is a beautiful vessel hand-crafted by God. He wants you to take care of yourself, but He also wants you to know that your beauty is not defined by the size of your jeans, so set health-related goals in moderation and strive to achieve a well-balanced lifestyle that makes you feel happy and strong.
Make it Fun!
Enjoy the process! Set up a system of rewards and treats for yourself, choosing items or activities that won’t derail your gains thus far but rather will empower you and encourage you as you continue along your journey. This will help bolster your healthy body image; by viewing the journey toward reaching your health goals as a fun event instead of a chore, you’re reminding yourself that you are worth this valiant effort and that you don’t need to take yourself (or the process) too seriously. When you reach a goal, set plans to see a movie with a friend or go get a pedicure; make an appointment for a massage or treat yourself to a new book. Whatever brings you joy can serve as the perfect reward for reaching your goal, and it can also serve as a reminder that you are worthy and valued and loved, helping you carve out the time to reflect and thank God and yourself for the healthy life you lead.
Photo Cred: Austin Ban
Rachel is the Director of Project Development for Touch A Life, an organization committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of children who have been exploited and trafficked in West Africa and Southeast Asia. Though she loves working in the non-profit world, Rachel has always been passionate about writing, pursuing opportunities to put pen to paper outside of her day job. Aside from writing for Darling Magazine, she maintains a personal blog, Coffee & Tacos, where she connects with others through food, travel, faith & community. Rachel lives in Dallas, TX, with her husband and their adorably large English mastiffs.