A new year has begun, and for many people, that means setting resolutions. However, this can be a double-edged sword. While setting goals can be motivational, resolutions often tend to focus on diet and exercise, which can pose challenges, especially for those in eating disorder recovery. All of the talk of diets, fitness plans, and how one looks or feels can be incredibly stressful and cause unnecessary pressure.
New Year’s resolutions are not always the best choice for some people, and that is okay. You know yourself and your situation better than anyone, so do what works best for you. If you are considering making changes and setting goals, here are a few tips to consider:
Set Realistic Goals
One of the common struggles with resolutions is that they can become overly optimistic. Some people have grandiose plans for transforming their lives that realistically seldom pan out as expected. Having unrealistic expectations can make dealing with eating disorders even more challenging. It is better to set smaller, achievable goals and work toward larger accomplishments.
For instance, instead of setting a goal of not skipping a meal or not binge eating (which are very broad and difficult to measure), say you’ll to talk to a friend the next time you feel the urge to ditch lunch or eat more than you know you should.
Take Your Time
Remember that New Year’s resolutions aren’t meant to be achieved by the end of the January. They are goals to be worked on throughout the entire year. Making positive changes through eating disorder therapy takes time; it’s not something that is accomplished overnight. When you take your time and look at more than just the short term, it can help keep anxiety at bay if you’re not progressing as quickly as you wanted. Make a mistake? No worries – start again and keep working toward your goals.
Play the Long Game
There are long-term effects to disordered eating that span both physical and mental health. Once again, healing takes time. Focus on setting goals for yourself that will benefit you not just now, but in the future as well. When managing an eating disorder, New Year’s resolutions can be a good starting point for creating healthier routines, practicing self-care, and seeking long-term support and care services.
Ask for Help
Just as people seek help for excessive alcoholism, they should engage in treatment for eating disorders as well. Unhealthy relationships with food can become life-threatening if left untreated. If you’re concerned that you may have anorexia, bulimia, or another condition, share your concerns with a trusted family member or friend who can help you research eating disorder treatment programs that fit your needs. Speak up and let those who love and care about you become a solid support system as you engage in eating disorder therapy.
It’s All About You
In the end, it really is all about you. If you’re setting goals, they should be things that you want to achieve, not things you’re doing to please others. Having the wrong mindset can make resolutions harmful rather than helpful. If you’re dealing with an eating disorder, New Year’s resolutions are a topic you should think carefully about. Consider whether you are ready before moving forward, and don’t force yourself to set goals just because everyone else is.
Eating disorder recovery is an excellent goal to set for the New Year, and taking the first step is often the hardest. Dealing with eating disorders is challenging and often complex, so find a program that fits your needs. Research trusted recovery centers like Crossroads, and ask questions to gain a better understanding of how the process works. Crossroads supports individuals through a variety of approaches and programs tailored to each client’s needs and goals. If you’re ready to build a healthier lifestyle and remember who you wanted to be, Crossroads is here to help.