In her first column of 2019,  Ali Silver sets out some alternative New Year’s Resolutions!

Whether you are partial to making New Year’s resolutions or not, the start of a New Year always brings about a feeling of freshness; wanting to make improvements and put your best foot forward.

For many of us, and women in particular, this good intention gets warped into our view of our physical appearance. We’re not thin enough, fit enough, our bum is too big, this is too small and so on.

Changing our insides seems to only count when we change our outsides.
That’s why so many resolutions really link back to weight loss; humans are sneaky like that.

Want to practice mindfulness? Is it because you think it’ll make you thin?
How about your mate who is giving Veganuary a go. Is s/he doing it for the greater good? Maybe. Would they still be doing it if they thought it wouldn’t help towards weight loss? Maybe not.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m all about ditching diets, challenging stereotypes and generally embracing who you are – whatever your health, shape, gender.

So here are some resolutions this year which have nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with taking care of your mental and physical health.

Sleep more. Commit to some kip! People wear their lack of shut eye as a badge of honour these days, but I myself can not function with out a decent bit of rest. Getting a regular bedtime and wake up time gets your body into a rhythm and you’ll find that your quality of sleep improves.

Cut back on your screen time – the biggest reason being is that people who spend too much time on their phones are a real bore to be around. Sorry guys. If you’re someone who feels panicked when their phone isn’t attached to them then maybe this is something to address. Use an app to track how much time you spend on your phone. From that number, just cut down the time by a few minutes a week.

Stop flaking on people. Not a good trait, yet even the best of us do it sometimes. Having so much access to contacting people with out seeing this has made flaking out on plans much easier. If you say you’re going to meet someone, stick to it guys. It’s a horrible feeling being flaked upon, if you don’t want to go then refuse. If you say yes, then stick to it. Hold yourself accountable to what you say.

Assertiveness. People get assertiveness wrong a lot. They think it’s about being aggressive, it isn’t. It’s the different in asking “Can you close the window” and “Will you close the window”. It’s saying yes and meaning yes, or saying no and meaning no. Being assertive means you and the other person know exactly where you stand.

Find ways to move that don’t involve going to the gym. For many, gyms are synonymous with changing your outer appearance, with uncomfortable clothing and judgemental eyes. It’s not always fun, and sometimes the gym is a place of penance for what you’ve eaten or planning to eat. Movement is beneficial to your physical and mental health in so many ways that have nothing to do with burning calories. Find ways to move in a way you enjoy that don’t involve the treadmill. Yoga, dancing in your pants in front of the TV, or going for a walk with your dog are all great ways to move your body.

Practice gratitude. You can thank my dad for this one, he’s all about gratitude being an action. Writing down 10 things a day that you’re grateful for, stopping to smell the roses, being able to enjoy the smaller things.

Cut back on alcohol. The only thing I’ll ever suggest you try and limit! Sure, a little is fine, but if you find that you cannot relax, be social or connect without alcohol then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with booze.

Cut back on social media. Constant scrolling on Instagram and Facebook can lead to social comparison, and the intrinsic need to measure your life against other people’s. Live your life based on how YOU feel, not on how cool it looks on your newsfeed.

Quit ‘fat talk’. Talking about the bits of your body which you hate with friends feels like a way of connecting and identifying, but studies show that just three  minutes of fat talk a day can decrease body satisfaction. Instead of alleviating negative body image, fat talk draws attention to parts of yourself that you dislike.

Make this the year that you choose YOU. Not what your friend is doing, or what a celeb is touting, but what you truly know is what you need. Maybe this year you need to be a little selfish and say no to some things. Maybe your mental health has taken a back seat and it’s time to talk to someone. Trust that you know best for your body.

For more information http://blog.alisilver.co.uk/