Justine Friedman

New Year, New You

The feeling of a new beginning is exciting and daunting. 

It is appealing to know that you can start over, wipe the slate clean, and step forward without any baggage from the past. 

Yes, I am speaking about the magic that happens as the clock strikes 12 on December 31st and a new year is ushered in. 

What a relief to know that your diet can start today and how powerful to feel that motivation and strength in the knowledge that this time YOU WILL SUCCEED. 

New Year’s resolutions are seldom a Jewish concept. We are more deeply connected to the introspection and process of teshuva that Elul and Tishrei hold. 

From the beginning of Elul, we start to observe the areas in our lives that are going well, and those that need refinement so that we can realign ourselves with our true inner essence. 

When we admit all of our “Al Cheits” on Yom Kippur, the great day of judgment, it is more of an acknowledgment of where we have missed the mark in our lives, instead of a punitive act of contrition. 

When we emerge from this sacred day we experience a true spiritual cleansing. And all the reflection that we spent time on during Elul and the 10 days of repentance from Rosh Hashanah-our new year- until that day is what we take forward into the year. 

The best advice I ever received from one of my teachers was to take on something small each year so that I could feel successful in my new habit and reach the end of that year with a sense of accomplishment. 

By nature, we prefer to make big changes, as unrealistic and perhaps unsustainable as they may be. You see when we take on a whole new way of living, eating, and being we think it will create that magic that brings us closer to our goals. 

Sadly, the opposite is often true. 

Have you ever wondered why at the beginning of a new year all gyms don’t build more lockers? With all the new sign-ups, the amount of space they can accommodate for their new registrants will undoubtedly be insufficient. And yet they never do. 

They know that regardless of how many people have vowed to turn over a new leaf and take on exercising, the reality remains that by February only the old faithfuls and a handful of newbies will still be around. 

So before you make grandiose plans for 2024, consider this..

(I don’t want to burst your bubble, the excitement is fabulous but often stems from a sense of great disappointment in where you find yourself which is s recipe for continuing a cycle of guilt, shame, and judgment as you steel yourself for the changes that you need to make)

Small sustainable changes that may feel insignificant are one of the biggest keys to success. 

Being hard on yourself can be more demotivating than it can be motivating

Learn to celebrate small wins each day

Focus on what you are doing and have accomplished and rave to yourself about this. 

Steer away from a one-size-fits-all approach. You are unique and that means what works for you rarely works for someone else (and vice versa).

Get support. I know you have done this time and again and you probably have a good idea of what you should be eating and doing to achieve your health and weight goals. However, if you are still looping back to the same restrictions and trying new drastic advice instead of progressing closer to where you want to be, you will end up on December 31st, 2024 saying and doing the same things.

January 1st is not a magic line in the sand. Each day, and in fact each moment, you have the ability to either begin again or ask yourself, “What can I do right now, right here in this moment that will bring me closer to my ‘realistic’ dream goal”- and still have a good relationship with myself, food and my body. 

Wishing you a successful 2024, filled with healing, peace, nourishment, compassion, self-care, and the courage to break old patterns with a new mindset. 

About the Author
Justine Friedman is an olah from Johannesburg, South Africa, and has run a successful private practice as a Registered Clinical Dietician and Mindset Mentor since the year 2000. Her mission is to empower women over the age of 40 to nourish themselves and to develop a positive relationship with food and their bodies. She works both in person and via Zoom and gives regular webinars on wellness topics to inspire and guide participants on how to easily implement habits that will improve the quality of their lives. To learn more about the work she does and to be in contact go to
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