Beyond Body Positivity: 10 New Year’s Resolutions That Aren’t Dieting

January has become the unofficial month to launch yet another weight-loss attempt.

Eat clean. Cut out carbs. Do a cleanse. Detox. Try intermittent fasting or Keto or Whole30.

What do these buzzwords have in common? They are all sneaky ways to describe going on a diet. The good news is you don't have to go on another doomed diet plan or punishing exercise regimen to set goals for the new year. Make 2021 the year that you listen to your body rather than society's unrealistic expectations of beauty and health.

If you’re sick of the "new year, new you" weight-loss rhetoric, check out these 10 resolutions for 2021 that have nothing to do with losing weight.

  1. Start a joyful movement practice. Moving your body doesn’t have to be a chore, nor does it have to be about changing your body's appearance. Find something you love to do, like dancing, gardening, or playing with your dog, and incorporate it into your daily life. If you haven’t found a way to move that’s right for you, try out one of BPL’s free online gentle yoga classes, opens a new window. Yoga combines gentle movement with meditation to calm your mind, steady your breathing, and increase awareness of your body. Friday Unwind: Gentle Yoga Fridays 4-5 PM. Brought to you by Hands to Heart Center. Boston Public Library. Stream live at
  2. Start crafting. Whether it’s origami, collage, crocheting, or refinishing household items, crafting is fun, absorbing, and gives you a sense of accomplishment when you complete a project. Give completed projects to family and friends for thoughtful gifts. Check out these ebook titles: Painted Botanical Collage, Origami, Rescue, Restore, Redecorate, & Crochet Hacking
  3. Learn how to cut your own hair. If you’ve been hesitant to go to the hair salon this past year, you’re not alone. The pandemic has made getting a haircut go from a special treat to an anxiety inducing event. Plus, haircuts can get pricey. Why not learn how to cut your family’s hair? Your BPL card gives you access to free haircutting tutorials , opens a new windowon Kanopy, opens a new window. I cut my own hair for the first time during quarantine. I found a YouTube video, opens a new window and took a chance. While it’s not perfect, it got the job done and looks good enough!  If you think it looks terrible, remember, it will always grow back.
  4. Join a bookclub. I struggled with missing my family and friends this past year. If you miss socializing and would like to make some new book-loving friends, join BPL’s Yearlong Reading Challenge, opens a new window. Every month there’s a new theme and book clubs for all ages.
  5. Drink less alcohol. Many people have found themselves drinking much more during quarantine. There’s no time like the present to take a step back and reflect on your drinking habits. Check out these books about cutting back: How to Be A Mindful Drinker & Sober Curious
  6. Shop mindfully. Did you make some questionable online purchases in 2020? I know I did! Perhaps you'd rather support local, small businesses or shop for sustainably made clothing. Instead of making a strict one-size-fits-all budget, base your money choices on your values and what’s truly important to you. You’ll feel confident in your spending and maybe save a little money too. Check out these titles: Mindful Money, The Art of Money, & Minimalist Living: 2 in 1: The Joy Of Simplifying Your Life With Minimalism And Inner Simplicity.
  7. Learn to identify trees in your neighborhood. Being around trees makes us happy, , opens a new windowless stressed, and helps us breathe. I love comparing leaf shapes and bark texture, and then figuring out each tree's name. It’s given me a greater appreciation for nature and makes taking the same walks more engaging. Speak for the Trees, opens a new window is an organization dedicated to planting and preserving urban trees. The founder is botanist and biochemist Diana Beresford-Kroeger, who wrote a highly-recommended book of the same name (To Speak for the Trees). You can sign up to be a part of the project, or check out their tree ID guide for fun., opens a new window  Explore these books for hiking inspiration and tree identification help: 50 Hikes in Eastern Massachusetts, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: BostonNative and Naturalized Trees of New England and Adjacent Canada &
  8. Get more sleep. We all know that being sleep-deprived makes us cranky and unfocused. This past year has been stressful for everyone. Let’s embrace naps and getting to bed a little earlier this year. If you want more resources on sleep, Jordan, one of our Reader Services Librarians, created a great list, opens a new window filled with books about the magic of sleep. Check out this new book of sleep inspiration: 
  9. Set fitness goals that aren't bodyweight or calorie based. You can still set realistic exercise goals for yourself when you are not deliberately trying to lose weight. Make a goal to walk for 10 minutes a day, do X number of pushups, or be able to climb X flights of stairs without getting winded. In her book Big Fit Girl, Louise Green, trainer and fitness activist, outlines how to set goals without using weight as a metric for success.
  10. Learn a language. Did you know that your BPL card gives you free access to learn dozens of languages through Mango Languages?, opens a new window Learn Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Hindi and more through the easy to use program. The website is simple, and the format is just as effective as online programs you have to pay for.

Click here for a full list of the books featured in this blog post.

Remember, you are under no obligation to make any goals for the new year! Just living day to day is a huge accomplishment. Pat yourself on the back and go into 2021 with self-compassion.