As this year comes to an end, many people are thinking about New Years resolutions, ways to improve in the upcoming year and new goals to reach in 2018. For many, the New Year represents a chance to start anew, to leave behind unwanted memories and trials and face brighter opportunities. Whether you are currently struggling with an eating disorder or have been in recovery for years, the holidays and the New Year can be triggering for many. Recent studies have shown that “becoming more physically fit’ is America’s top New Year’s resolution, and ‘Losing Weight’ was the fourth more popular resolution. These resolutions can become problematic for any individual who is struggling with an eating disorder or who is susceptible to developing one. A seemingly simple resolve to become “healthier” can quickly become a downward spiral if taken to extreme measures.
It can be especially tough to create recovery goals that empower and challenge and do not overwhelm and disempower. Remember that we are all human, and although setting goals for the New Year is a great step forward, it is okay if we take the “one day at a time” approach to meet these goals. The following are some suggestions for recovery goals you can set for yourself throughout your eating disorder recovery journey for 2018.
- Be honest with yourself and others about your recovery goals
- Work towards creating a life outside of treatment that motivates you towards recovery
- Be patient with you recovery. Live one day at a time and be okay if a setback occurs.
- Focus on how you feel rather than how you look. Many will agree that inner beauty is much more valuable than outer beauty.
- Surrounding yourself with individuals who love and support you and disengaging from anyone who carries negativity into your life.
- Learn how to treat yourself more. Whether it is buying a new outfit, or treating yourself to a dessert or taking a trip; it is okay to splurge on yourself even if you are going outside your comfort zone or breaking your “food boundaries”.
- Practice mindful exercise. Once you are in recovery, exercise because you want to not because you have to and stay in touch with how your body feels.
- Help other realize they are not alone in their recovery struggles. You can do this by speaking about your journey through a blog, sharing your stories with a support group or volunteering with an eating disorder organization.
- Make more time for things that you enjoy. Whether it is reading a book, going on walks, traveling or cooking, take time to engage in activities that make yourself happy.
- Join an eating disorder support group. If you are already in a support group then try to be more active within the group or reach out to others who may be struggling.
- Stay connected with your therapist and treatment team. Even if you have completed treatment, it is still important to stay connected and harvest relationships with those who made an impact in your recovery. They can also help you in case of a relapse.
- Practice setting boundaries. Setting boundaries around your work schedule, social activities, family time and personal time can help you manage your time better and make you feel more refreshed. Without boundaries, others can walk all over you and can potentially lead you to feel stressed or anxious which can lead to relapse.
- Love yourself, first.
- Start a new hobby or a new book to break up your routine and open your mind to new opportunities.
- Get rid of ant weight scales in your home (if you haven’t already)
- Buy clothes because they fit you not because of their size.
- Make a new friend
- Make amends with someone who you lost contact with or who you may have hurt in the past