My major eye-roll at this time of year is this constant chatter about New Year’s resolutions. I get absolutely sick of seeing images of women’s bellies with a measuring tape around them, or women’s feet on a scale. As if resolutions are synonymous with weight loss (we’ll get to that; don’t worry).
So here’s the issue, as I see it: you should never make resolutions under duress. You shouldn’t ever feel that you have to change something about yourself. You are amazing. You are wonderful. New Year’s resolutions expectations are more geared towards women, which is a subtle way of insinuating that women are not enough. Fuck that shit. I don’t need to meet anyone else’s expectations for myself.
I am a parent to two girls. I don’t want them to see me feeling like I have to modify myself in order to meet society’s expectations of me. I am 35. I am proud to be who I am. I want my baby girls to see a mother who stands in their skin with humility and confidence.
Not to mention that resolutions don’t work. Most people give up within a month, and some give up within a week or two.
So why do we have this persistent narrative of resolutions? One thing is that it’s something for websites and newspapers to put out at this time of year. Once xmas is over, writing about gifts is passe, but you gotta put out the content. (Yes, I am aware that I am “opening my kimono” a bit…) The other main reason is that corporations make a butt-ton of money this time of year. It’s always good to ask who benefits from any social movement, and in this case, it’s the diet companies and the gyms. Those folks keep the pressure on for resolutions in order to benefit their bottom lines.
Nevermind the fact that diets.don’t.work. Weight loss is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and it’s all BS. The idea that you restrict the foods that you eat in order to lose weight is a bunch of nonsense, and has infinitesimal chances of reducing a person’s size. We have both been through highs and lows of size, and can speak to this with some depth of personal experience. Plus, after decades of study, we can make some conclusive statements about weight loss.
Of course, self-reflection is always a good thing. No one’s perfect, and we are all in this together. Part of our job as intersectional feminists is to take feedback and apply it. There is nothing wrong with seeking to modify our habits or to change them altogether. A great example would be to use fewer single-use plastics; you can challenge yourself to carry a to-go mug and a straw with you. Or you could work to develop your skills in an area of interest, such as cooking or sewing. We live in an amazing world full of possibilities, and you should never feel that you are limited to what you are currently doing.
I suppose it comes down to the spirit in which the resolutions are made. If they are made out of a sense of obligation or out of shame, it’s no bueno. I tend to want to wait until after the new year to choose a direction to challenge myself in. That way, I avoid the feeling that I need to get a resolution, just for the sake of having one.
Remember that you are a force of nature. You are enough. You do not need to resolve to do anything, other than keep going. If it makes sense to you, consider a resolution. If not, enjoy the holidays; relax and rest. You don’t owe anyone anything. You certainly don’t need to change yourself in order to fit into the mainstream narrative.