Whether winter, spring, summer, fall, or THE NEW YEAR, resolutions are made with a sincere desire to change. While the New Year can be a time of reflection and an opportunity to reboot, and start new, the majority of New Year resolutions center around weight loss, exercise, dieting, and improving your image — branded in advertising as “New Year, New You!”
For those struggling with an eating disorder or in recovery, there can be feelings of anxiety and stress about how you will achieve this so-called “new you.” The phrase “New Year, New You” tends to focus on your body image and weight, as if you are required to change some part of who you are or what you look like in the new year. Resolutions that are diet, weight, or fitness focused like going to the gym or exercising 3x/per week, setting a daily calorie count, or losing/gaining a certain amount of weight in a specific time can be triggering for those who are struggling with an eating disorder or who are at risk of an eating disorder.
If you choose to make resolutions this year, consider being mindful of the messages you are taking in and making sure that they are rooted in self-compassion and supportive of recovery. Allow yourself to set goals that are empowering, realistic, and help you move forward with the healing process, such as:
- Start answering your eating disorder’s voice with compassion: When negative thoughts come in, resolve to treat yourself with kindness by choosing to do at least one thing that truly makes you happy.
- Practice self-care: Take special care of yourself and plan some time for yourself to do something that you enjoy.
- Self-care means different things to different people, but it is one of the most important things you can do throughout the year.
- Be grateful for the little (and big) things you have in your life: When you start your day and end your day, try to list 5 things in your life for which you are thankful.
- Make affirmation cards: This is a great tool to replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations until you feel better.
- Make a list of positive affirmations and write each down on an index card.
- Choose one, look at yourself in the mirror, and read it out loud (every morning, if possible) for 30 days. Doing it in the morning starts your day on a positive note and the affirmation will become a part of you. Try a new affirmation every month.
- Repeating your chosen affirmations regularly can help put an end to negative thinking and help you develop new strengths and self-awareness.
- Do fun things: This a chance to be really creative.
- Go for hike
- Take a bubble bath
- Volunteer for an organization for which you are passionate
- Learn to play an instrument
- Blow Bubbles
- Watch a favorite kids movie or TV show
- Take 10 pictures of things you feel thankful for
- Do a jigsaw puzzle
- Learn to love and respect your body, mind, and soul: Join communities or follow individuals that are supportive of body acceptance and positivity.