Are New Year's Resolutions Pointless? Well, it depends...

Megan Dahlman
December 29, 2019

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I think we have become a little disenchanted with New Years resolutions. Perhaps it’s because we have made so many in the past that have bombed...bad. Or we might be making better efforts to not get swept up in trends and popular emotions, including making hollow resolutions. 

Some of us are at the point where we think making resolutions for the new year, especially “body-oriented” ones, is pointless. We can see past the hype and just want to wait for all of it to blow over. So... let's just carry on... into another year... 

But what is a resolution? It’s just a goal. And for some reason when we make goals at the beginning of the year we call them “resolutions”. There is nothing wrong with setting goals. Goals give you purpose, direction, a clear sight line.  Something to aim for. I actually think goals are extremely important, otherwise you’re just floating toward some unidentifiable dot on the horizon, which can be horribly unmotivating.

It's important to have outcome goals, or a goal that is your big picture. Something at the end of the road that you'd like to achieve. The outcome is typically what we think of when setting goals. For example "lose 20 pounds". 

But it's just as important to have behavior goals, the small baby steps that you do to help you reach that particular outcome. Most people skip this part. They only have the outcome in mind, but are clueless on how to get there. For example, behavior goals would be to "workout 4 times a week and splurge on only 5 occasions per week". These behaviors are the choices you make to help you reach your outcome goal.

All the wrong goals.

However, most women are setting the wrong goals, altogether. Their goals are way too...

  • vague (“get healthy this year”),
  • unrealistic (“workout everyday and completely cut out sugar”), or
  • misguided (“drop 30 pounds no matter what it takes”). 

Or - and this is a bigger issue and far more common - many women set goals from a place of thinking “I’m not enough”. Not thin enough, not healthy enough, not lean enough, not firm enough, not pretty enough, not noticeable enough.

We want to change ourselves. We want to be more like____ (fill in the blank). We might even have a Pinterest board of "goal physiques". So our resolutions follow suit. “I resolve to pull it together and finally make myself look like that!” It kind of sounds like a nice goal, but the underlying issue might be that you don't feel like you measure up the way you already are. You think that by having a body transformation, you'll finally be worthy of admiration, attention, and even value. 

Sister, all of this is flat-out exhausting. We can’t maintain pace or interest with any of these goals, because they're all wrong. 

Are New Year's Resolutions Pointless? Well, it depends...

​Flip around.

Take everyone else out of the picture for a moment. In fact, strip it away to just your naked body and Jesus. (Ok, that sounds totally weird, but stick with me for a minute...) 

He made you. He put together your skin, your knuckles, your bum, your chin, all of it! exactly where it is right now. He wove you together. And he’s present with you always. He sees you, he knows you, and he loves you. More intimately than your spouse... more intimately than even yourself. (Woah, right!?) Think about that the next time you're scrutinizing yourself in front of the mirror. 

Do you think it impresses Him when you’re 10 pounds leaner? Probably not. Do you think He feels proud and pleased when you finally fit into that size 6? Nah. I doubt He gives a rip how much you weigh or what size you are. 

Here’s what I think: I bet He cares a great deal about what’s happening in your heart.

He can see if you’re determined to pursue discipline.
He can see when you forego a momentary temptation for a grander goal.
He can see if you’re respecting or trashing your body.
He knows when you’re honoring and stewarding your body, or flat out worshiping it (gym selfies, anyone?).
He cares if you’re giving it your absolute best or neglecting the body He worked so hard on.
He sees when you set a good example of strength, health, moderation and balance for your children.

And honestly, I think he’s really waiting for that moment when you feel like you can’t do it at all, and ask Him for help. Oh, he loves that moment! 

Stop leaving him out of the picture with your goal setting, because it's clouding your judgement.

Making better goals.

What then? Well, as I mentioned, goals aren’t all bad. We just need the right ones. Goals that align us with what God wants for us, not rip us further away from Him. We need goals that feed our bodies AND souls.

It’s not the gym OR Jesus. It’s not being a fit and strong mom OR a mom that puts Christ as the top priority in her life. It’s both. 

Here are some ideas for 2020 Resolutions. I'll start big picture and begin to whittle it down. You ready? 

  • Recognize how expensive this body is. Jesus died for it...yes, literally went to the cross for ALL of me. My goal is to treat this body as if it’s worth that much. 
  • Stop feeling so freakin' guilty or ashamed when I mess up! Give myself grace, grace and grace. All year long.
  • Be more consistent. As in “disciplined”, not emotional. Get my butt up and moving even when I don’t feel like it. 
  • Discover what this body is actually capable of. Is it capable of more than just trudging on the treadmill and striving for that elusive calorie burn? I bet it is! Maybe set a goal of doing a perfect floor push-up or 5 unassisted pull-ups. 
  • Nurture it, nourish it, and feed it good stuff. See food as the ingredients for energy and optimal function, not just packets of calories that make us fat. 
  • Build muscle. Approach every workout as an opportunity to build muscle mass and improve the way my body functions. If my workout isn't doing either of those things, change tactics. 
  • Get to a healthy weight. Not skinny, not necessarily ripped, but definitely not unhealthy. Be at a size that feels super comfortable and doesn't increase my risk for illness. 
  • Strength train a minimum of two times per week. This will allow my body to get stronger and build that muscle mass. 
  • Eat every meal, no more meal skipping. Skipping meals deprives my body of the nutrients it needs to function best, and it's doesn't give me any extra credit in the weight loss game. It only hurts my metabolism.
  • Eat PRO's with every meal. Make sure the building blocks for all of my meals are PROduce and PROtein. If those components are in place every time, I'm doing well. 
  • Address the weak links. Do I have a clicky shoulder, a leaky bladder, a painful back? Be deliberate this year to seek out professional help and fix these things so I can feel whole again. 

Notice not one of these goals was to "fit into my pre-baby clothes", "lose 5% body fat", or "be ripped so I can take gym selfies all day". It's a little refreshing, right?

Be different.

Momma, feel free to make goals for 2020, but do it differently, ok? My hope for you is for you to reach the end of this year and realize your fitness and nutrition journey brought you to a much better place with food and exercise, and perhaps even closer to Jesus himself.

If you reach December 31 and can say that you're way stronger, nothing hurts, your clothes feel comfortable, and you can do whatever you want to do physically, I'd say that's a major win! Wouldn't you?

And hey listen...if this is hitting home for you and you're sick of getting swept up in the "cut out sugar/workout everyday" attitude, Strong Mommas can help you stay inspired and here's how:

  • Sign up for the Strong Mommas Newsletter here. You'll get weekly inspiration, and top-notch workout and nutrition tips delivered directly to your inbox.
  • Binge-listen to the Strong Mommas Podcast. The Strong Mommas Podcast is a weekly show for Christian moms that want to be equipped with practical ways to eat right and stay fit while still keeping your focus on Jesus. (Have you already been enjoying it? Make sure to let us know and leave a review on iTunes!!)
  • Follow Strong Mommas on Instagram and Facebook for daily inspiration. 

Are New Year's Resolutions Pointless? Well, it depends...

Hey, guess what? You can start showing up for your body in simple ways, right now.
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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
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Hi! I’m Megan.
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Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
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