The Dark Side of New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's goals

The New Year is right around the corner, and you know what that means. It’s time to make your New Year’s resolutions — if you’re into that (and why wouldn’t you be!?). If you’re one of the many people who resolve to become healthier each New Year, high five. I’m right there with you. But what happens when our well-intended goals suddenly become obsessions?

If you (or someone you know) has a “perfectionist personality” or tends to have set routines, some of those resolutions can take an unhealthy turn quickly.

Starting out with what seems like small changes in eating habits or exercise patterns may not seem like a warning sign that something is wrong, but when they become compulsive and start to interfere with one’s day-to-day life, they can be dangerous — even deadly,” according to the Eating Recovery Center.

Two popular New Year’s resolutions can turn into eating disorders pretty easily if your personality and genetic disposition align for it. The most common occurrence of this is orthorexia, which is the obsession with only eating certain foods that are considered “clean” or “right,” and overexercise, which is exactly what it sounds like. When someone suddenly exercises more intensely or for longer amounts of time than usual and deems this a requirement rather than a desire, they have reached the point of overexercise.

While these, on the surface, may not sound like particularly serious problems to have, they can become dangerous very quickly. It’s important to watch for signs of these behaviors in yourself and others. The key indicator is the obsession — the feeling that you have to do this to be healthy rather than you want to do this to be healthier.

We wholeheartedly believe in the motto, “Everything in moderation,” and  resolutions are no exception.

Make that healthy resolution. Eat “clean.” Exercise more. But understand your limits. Give yourself a break. If you have a little extra dessert, don’t punish yourself in the gym. One mistake won’t derail your goals. Continual “mistakes” may mean you need to reevaluate and adjust to be more realistic for where you are in your life. And that’s totally fine! Healthy doesn’t look a certain way, so if you need to redefine what “healthier” means for your resolution, do it.

It’s totally okay to make a simple New Year’s resolution that is relative to your life. Be healthier. Eat better. Exercise more. Be nicer. Cook more. Drink more water. Save more money. Clean the bathroom more often. Bite your fingernails less. You know, the important stuff.

In all seriousness, it’s also totally cool not to have a resolution at all. Maybe you’re already living your best life. And if that’s the case, share your secret in the comments.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Do you have any you need to adjust? — Megan 

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