04 Jan 2021

New Year’s Resolutions Beyond Weight and Appearance


The New Year period is often fraught with resolutions related to weight, dieting, food and appearance. This relentless advertising and messaging to “get into shape for the New Year” can often leave people discouraged and can increase negative body image, with people succumbing to the pressure to change themselves to meet unrealistic appearance ideals.

We want to change that. This year, we’ve compiled together some resolution ideas that will instead allow you to focus on being happy, improve your well-being, and concentrate on self-care and self-love and compassion.

It’s also important to note that although resolutions can be a great way to set goals, don’t get too bogged down in the specifics – if you don’t end up meeting your resolution, it’s not the end of the world!


Put aside dedicated ‘me-time’ for self-love and self-care

If 2020 has taught us anything, it was the importance of switching off and focusing on “me-time” practices of self-love and care. This New Year, make “me-time” something you pencil in permanently to your weekly or daily schedule.

It could be as simple as starting the morning with 10 minutes of journaling what you are grateful for, how you are feeling or where you’d like your day to go.

Or, try ending the day with a hot bath, accompanied by candles and relaxing music. Research has found that taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed can help improve sleeping patterns, which can have a flow-on effect to our mental health.

Another idea is to engage in joyful movement – moving your body in ways that simply feels good. Turn up the music and let yourself dance freely and joyfully for a few songs. This is your “me-time”, so, quite literally, dance like no one’s watching.


Try embracing the great outdoors

Our surroundings have a large impact on our mental health.

Research has shown that people who have access to a garden or the outdoors and visit or live near parks or nature reserves, have lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Spending time outdoors and in natural environments can not only have positive benefits on mental health, but on physical health too, like improved sleep.

Whether it be eating your lunch outside, taking a work break in the garden to watch the clouds, or visiting a botanical garden, make time to embrace the great outdoors and feel the sun on your face this year.


Take a regular Social Media Detox and limit screen time

With most people only sharing the positive aspects of their lives or selfies plastered in unrealistic filters, scrolling past the constant successes and Instagram-worthy pictures can often have undesirable impacts on our mental health.

Research has found that avid social media users often enter a cycle of competition and comparison. This can lead to feelings of depression and low self-esteem when our own lives come up short. And with the typical person spending an average of three hours and 15 minutes on their phones each day, it’s not difficult to see how plugged in and reliant we have become on technology that doesn’t always benefit our holistic selves.

This year, one resolution could be to put down the phone and be more present. Setting a screen-time limit has never been easier, with an abundance of apps available to provide notifications and warnings for when you have exceeded your online time.

In particular, the Forest app is a great option for moments you want to stay focused and off your phone, whether it be during study or engaging with friends over dinner. The app allows users to “plant a tree”, which grows while you stay focused and off social media. These are then translated into virtual coins, which are then used to plant real trees across the world.

This New Year, you could even commit to a 30-day social media detox. If that seems too intimidating, start off with a 7-day detox. Note down how you are feeling throughout this time and any changes you’ve noticed in your mood or perceptions on life.

Time off social media can help clear your head, make you reassess what is important in your real life, and allow you to spend scrolling time on more productive and healthy behaviours.

This resolution could also include curating your social media feed by unfollowing accounts that do not make you feel your best. Surround yourself with uplifting and positive content, and role-models that champion body positivity and diversity, to ensure that you feel good when you scroll.


Try Meditation

Meditating for just 10 minutes a day has proven to reduce stress, increase focus and memory and improve sleep. Other benefits include improved self-compassion, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, improved communication in relationships and even supporting pain management.

Further, the best part is meditation can be done from absolutely anywhere: commuting to work on public transport, walking outside, waiting for a meeting. The opportunities are endless, and all it takes is turning inside and reflecting on yourself.

And while meditation can be daunting if you’ve never practiced, there are a number of apps that offer easy guided meditation, daily reminders and a gentle transition into mindfulness-based activity. Click here for our recommended apps to help you take a breath.


Be Your Own Number One Supporter – and Compliment yourself everyday

This year, make a pact to be kinder to yourself. Although this may be easier said than done, positive self-talk can have a large impact on our mental health and the way we view the world. Research suggests that when we are kind to ourselves or others, the hormone oxytocin is released in the brain. This is the hormone responsible for increased feelings of trust, connectedness, safety, generosity and calmness. Enacting self-compassion can also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

This practice will look different for everyone, but it could be as simple as writing down a positive compliment or manifestation about yourself on a Post-It note and sticking it somewhere you can see the reminder every day.

self-love compliments
Stick sticky-notes in places you see everyday with self-love compliments for a little boost.

Try and stay away from appearance-based compliments and remember you are worth much more than what you look like.

It is also important to note that being completely positive 24 hours a day isn’t always possible, and that it’s okay to have a tough day. Acknowledging this is something we can all work on, particularly in a world that can sometimes make it difficult.

  • “I believe in myself, I accept myself and I deserve good things in life”
  • “I am a strong, tough person who has made it through tough times”
  • “I’ve had a tough day, but tomorrow is a new beginning”
  • “My past does not define me or my future, I do”
  • “I treat others how I would like to be treated”
  • “I can stay calm, I can control my breathing, and I can choose to make today amazing”
  • “This too shall pass”
  • “I have passions and dreams and I deserve to follow them”
  • “My smile is infectious, and I choose to light the world with it”
  • “It is safe to step out my comfort zone”
  • “I choose to be proud of myself, what I have achieved, and what I will achieve”
  • “I will focus on the positives today”

Butterfly’s helpline is back open and here to help. 1800 33 4673, via webchat or email support@butterfly.org.au

Related tags: happiness Meditation new years resolutions self care Self Kindness self-love