The new year can be an exciting time accompanied with thoughts of anticipation and change. Many people start their new year with hopeful resolutions. Sadly, a high percentage of these resolutions dissolve as the month of January passes by. When one is in recovery after having dealt with an eating disorder, creating resolutions can be either helpful or harmful to the recovery process.
Here are a few thoughts on how to keep resolutions recovery focused and on how to decide what areas of your life you may really like to see change in the coming year. It is vital to keep resolutions away from physical appearance, and/or body manipulation. Challenge yourself to go deeper and to create resolutions that are internally meaningful to you. Remember it is not a competition, but instead, a process of setting goals that are thoughtful and personal to you and then creating a plan including positive methods that will help you to reach those goals.
Begin with treating yourself to a new journal. After all, it is a new year in recovery with new goals. Take a few moments to reflect on the previous year and think about how it went and your personal growth. Then explore what you really want to come out of 2018. Remember to always keep your recovery a top priory in this process and consider how each resolution you make will affect it. Ask yourself questions such as, “What will bring me balance? Moderation?” and, “Do I really need a major change or simply a change of thinking?” It is very likely that you are already good enough and just need to see this and increase your feelings of self-worth. This can be done with through the goal setting process and by adding activities to your life that are fulfilling, simple and enjoyable.
Before creating your plan on how you will attain the resolutions you have made, you must first realize your internal value. Be your own friend. Treat yourself with kindness. Get rid of the idea that you need to be perfect. (Perfect people simply don’t exist.) Write these down in your journal and then break your resolutions down into smaller steps. Keep the language simple, give yourself a time frame and make every step realistic and attainable. Examples of activities to include are art, music and meditation, spending time with your support system and in nature, getting a mani/pedi, reading a book or watching a movie.
An example for a step toward reaching a resolution might also be to increase your positive thinking. Remember, the way we think influences the way we feel. Create a daily gratitude list in your journal or on a board at your home or office. Find a positive song, poem or motto that inspires you and remind yourself of it. Listen to it, say it, and create art out of it. Express it in a way that is meaningful and fun to you.
All in all, keep your resolutions recovery focused. Make them realistic, personal and attainable. Remember that you have worked hard for your recovery so this year I encourage you to create resolutions that allow you enjoy it too. Be kind to yourself this year and have a happy 2018.
Jennifer Gaspard, LPC, ATR