New Year’s resolutions don’t need to be a list of so-called flaws and ‘how to be better’ tips, an ode to everything that’s ‘wrong’ with us. Perhaps 2023 is the year for resolutions that actually empower and excite us, rather than fill us with guilt and anxiety.
“Resolutions can be a really positive thing if you have a strong ‘why’ behind them,” says body-positive influencer, content creator and new mum Hannah Witton.
“Just because you think you ‘should’ is not enough to keep a habit. But when you have that really strong motivation, making and sticking to resolutions can really help to manage and feel empowered by life’s constant changes and any shifts in priorities.”
So, here are a few New Year’s resolutions to help steer away from feeling bad about yourself – and instead encourage joy and contentment in your mind, body and soul in 2023…
1. Look at yourself naked
Although it might sound a little bit intense or nerve-wracking, Witton suggests looking at yourself nude “in the mirror every day and saying one nice thing about yourself”.
This will encourage you to enjoy what you see – or at least get more comfortable and accepting – rather than pick it apart.
2. Regularly practice gratitude
Witton also recommends becoming really aware of what you are grateful for in life.
“Write down three things you’re grateful for every day. It sounds cliché but this really helped me during a tough year of trying to get pregnant and ‘failing’,” she says.
3. Get out in some fresh air
“Go outside every day because if you work from home, it can be so easy to forget to go outside,” Witton says.
The power of a walk and a bit of fresh air really can’t be underestimated – boosting your mood and motivation, creativity and helping keep stress in check.
4. Schedule in the hobbies you love
Maybe it’s dancing, playing football or even doing the crossword. It probably is the first thing to get ignored when you are busy – but these things are important!
“That thing you love and brings you so much joy but struggle to find the time to do? If it means that much to you, block out time in your schedule to do it the same way you would for an event or a meeting,” Witton suggests.
5. Prioritize pleasure and get used to saying ‘no’What looks like success, happiness or routine to others, may not be what works for you.
“You’re allowed to put yourself first in 2023,” says Max Hovey, an LGBTQ+ TikTok star who creates content surrounding body positivity and mental wellbeing.
“If you want to focus on healing, loving and putting energy into you, then do. Selfishness is not always a bad thing, sometimes it is the healthiest thing we can do.”
This sentiment is echoed by Billie Anderson, a disabled influencer who is trying to educate about disability and is a member of the Ohne Collective (ohne.com), a menstrual wellbeing collective.
“Don’t feel guilty for prioritising yourself. There are going to be so many ‘hit the gym’, ‘new year, new me’ and ‘try this new diet’ [messages out there]. Don’t feel guilty for leading the same life you live!”
Some of this may involve saying no to things you actually don’t want to do that much.
“Setting clear boundaries is not just for work – it’s for family and friends too. With the cost of living, busy Christmas period and for those who are living with chronic illnesses, socialising can be tough,” Anderson adds.
“Doing nothing is sometimes the best thing you can do and setting those boundaries is important to ensure you don’t burn out, not just at work but in your social life too.”
6. Shake off toxic positivity
This is a tricky but important one.
“I feel there is a pressure to be happy all the time, when in this day and age, that just isn’t realistic and can be damaging to my mental health,” says Anderson. “When someone asks if I’m OK, I’m going to be honest, instead of telling everyone I’m fine. Sometimes things are rubbish, and that’s OK.”
7. Practice body neutrality
You don’t have to love your body all the time, but accepting it and respecting all it does for you can make a big difference to how we feel.
“I have gone up a dress size this year and that has been something I’ve wrestled with,” says Anderson. “But going into 2023, I’m going to stop buying clothes that are the size I used to be and just get clothes that fit. My worth is not based on the size of my waistline.”