It’s that time again. Time to “start” again, turn over a new leaf, set some goals. While I believe you shouldn’t need to wait until some pre-determined, conventional marker of time to make important life changes, since the time is upon us anyway, I’d like to lend some friendly advice to help you make the absolute most of then next year.

For most, the focus is weight loss. Instead, I’d like you to focus on something bigger than that. Your weight, it doesn’t and shouldn’t define you. No number on the scale or size on a clothing tag will give you self-worth. And honestly, no lab results will either, but making sure you’re healthy so you can enjoy your life or work on finding your worth, defining yourself outside of how much you weigh, what size you wear, even what health issues you have, is a great place to start. So, what does that mean? What does that look like?

So much of our motivation in this life and this society is external. We are motivated by money, by luxuries, by a physical appearance, a societal norm. Instead, I’d like you to try something different this year. Instead of setting a resolution to lose weight, or run a marathon, or stop eating sugar, etc., I’d like you to focus on you. Not your weight. Not your size. YOU. I want you to make a resolution to be happy with you.

And let me be clear, being happy with you doesn’t mean you can’t choose to be different, to improve, to change. In fact, being happy with yourself, loving yourself, at its core, is wanting the best for yourself. And that means evolving, changing, challenging yourself to be a better version of who you are, not because you “should” or because it will make someone else happy, but because this is likely the only life we have and making it not just last as long as we can, but as enjoyable as possible is worth continued effort.

Ok, so what does this look like? This isn’t so much about not making changes as it is about making changes with a different mindset. Instead of “I shouldn’t eat that because it will make me fat”, thinking and truly believing “I’m choosing not to eat that because it’s not good for my health and I love myself”. Or instead of “I need to loose 20 lbs”, thinking “I’m going to work to choose foods that nourish my body”. Making positive changes to your life and health isn’t about feeling shame or guilt to do so, it’s about finding motivation to take better care of yourself because this is the only body you’re going to get.

Next week, I’ll give you some more tips on how to make this year a healthy, enjoyable, self-affirming one.

Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN