The new year has been called, and now it̵
When you think of making a New Year’s resolution, you probably see a scale, an exercise bike and a fruit and vegetable garnish grocery list. Given the coronavirus pandemic and last summer’s racial protests, however, experts say new types of resolutions focused on social justice should be where people shift energy.
“A New Year’s resolution should have more substance, and something you think you can stick and actually keep and extend,” Patrice Williams Marks, a writer and cultural consultant, told USA TODAY.
Exercise and losing weight still top the list of the most common New Year’s resolutions for 2021, according to a recent YouGov survey of American adults.
But “even if you say you’m going to lose weight, even if you say you’re going to exercise or even, you know, be a good person, it’s really just a small change for just one person, and it usually will not last, “says Renee Carr, a clinical psychologist.
Experts say that people should strive for tangible, meaningful tasks when they take New Year’s resolutions – and find out what will stick in the process.
What types of resolutions should I take?
The key to a solid New Year’s resolution? Pragmatism.
“Different people need different motivations,” says Carr. “And I think if it’s the beginning of a week or the beginning of a day or the beginning of a year, it’s sometimes having a marker like that, can help someone get an extra motivation, as long as it’s going to be able to help you. But just make sure the goals you set are realistic for that time period. “
Just wanting to be a good person, for example, can be too bland and not specific enough. Think about how you can make it actionable.
Carr suggests using that idea by handing out 10 bags of cereal once a month to a group of homeless people. “It’s something you care about, you can measure it, and you can see if you obviously do it or not,” she says.
Williams Marks says that people should look to put thoughts into action: “If anyone thinks that Black Lives Matter, or they think we should do something about climate change, or that the criminal justice system needs to be revised, then it should be part of a New Year’s resolution, she says.
Miranda Nadeau, a licensed psychologist, is reluctant to use the word “should.” But she has seen through her clinical work that true happiness comes from people who strive for a rich and meaningful life. It’s not just something related to how it can feel when you lose or gain a few pounds, or you wake up the extra hour earlier. I think some of these resolutions may be tempting, but do not always address what really matters. is meaningful to us, she says.
How do I make these decisions?
Coming up with the right New Year’s resolution for you will require research.
Try visiting the Census Bureau website, says Carr, and look for the richest and poorest zip codes around you. See where they compare and where they differ to gain an understanding of the issues around you. Do several children die of pneumonia in one area? Or more senior citizens who can not afford medicine?
Also pay attention to local newscasts and activists who speak out. What organization do they work for, or is there a similar one you can contribute to?
“You may not even want to actually do anything, but you may want to help learn more and understand more, then you can look for a small social group that helps talk about it openly and can give you information,” says Carr.
Carr says the easiest thing to do is to recognize the stereotypes you engage in on a daily basis. Take out a piece of paper and write down what your automatic thoughts are for the entire month of January when you see a particular person. “When I see someone wearing glasses, I think so. When I see someone with natural hair, I think this about them,” she says as an example.
In February, you work to change at least one of these perceptions every day. Monthly or weekly you can attack a different stereotype.
“In order to have real thought and real change of faith, you need to have more than just one day and more than just 21 days,” says Carr.
Williams Marks says donating money regularly or volunteering for organizations can be another way to respect your resolutions.
“There’s so much you can do from home,” she says. “And it’s not just a one-time thing, it’s something you can work on in your weekly life and continue it throughout the year.”
Does this mean I can not have any weight loss goals?
People do not need to avoid weight loss.
“I do not want to tell anyone that it is wrong to value their health for others,” Nadeau said. “However, I know that there are some ways we can be harmful to ourselves through our resolutions, by putting ourselves in boxes, by giving us ideas on whether we can really limit ourselves and cause more harm than good.”
Williams Marks adds: “I see nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself, or having the typical New Year’s intentions.” She also says that there is room for more resolutions; you can quit smoking and also work to combat climate change.
When thinking about dieting, try to include dishes from multiple cultures in your rotation.
Carr suggests that you choose a culture each week and an associated dish. Spend time learning about what these foods mean and what motivated groups to start
“Maybe have a research project with OK, well, this is our culture for this week,” Carr says. “This is the right, what did you learn about that culture? And what does this right represent? Why do they have this right? And what motivated them to start making it?”
Try to find out which foods several cultures eat that are similar (ie flat flour and water based foods such as pancakes, pancakes and tortillas) as well. You can then see the similarities between cultures, says Carr, as opposed to differences.
“Incorporate eating in a way that helps your fitness and health goals, but still expands cultural awareness,” she says.
Remember, however, that resolutions should be something you can stick to; Carr says it may not be possible to train for two hours every day. Everything can distract you from diet and weight loss plans, too – something as simple as your birthday or the reality of being alive during a pandemic.
Carr says it’s important to choose something that goes beyond serving you. Think: “I can lose weight in a day or a week or in the bikini season. But if I can help change legislation that can help change the outcome of an entire group of people and set legal precedents for future generations, it lasted much longer than not eating a Krispy Kreme donut, she says.
New year, new you? (In case you still want to diet): Here is what experts say is the best diet for 2021
Eating happiness on New Year: Why food from black eyes to grapes promises prosperity
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