Eating Disorders

Reevaluating New Year’s Resolutions

I have decided not to make a list of resolutions, but a list of goals. I can work toward these goals, they will enrich me, and they will make me happier and healthier. They won't be rules by which I will judge and insult myself at the end of the year.

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As the New Year comes upon us, we often take the time to look back and reflect. Reflect on the good moments, the bad moments, the moments that made us cry, and the moments that made us laugh. It is a time to evaluate your purpose and make new plans and goals for the future. However, when you are struggling with an eating disorder, the New Year is simply another time to single out your “failures,” and create a new set of rigid, unhealthy expectations and priorities to live by.

Every New Year since I first began battling with ED I would come up with a list of resolutions, which would control my plans for the next twelve months. Quickly, December 31, a day meant to be about celebration, remembrance, and loved ones, became a miserable event.

I would ridicule and reprimand my “imperfect” performance for the year.

I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just be happy, or why things would never work out for me.

In a desperate attempt to find some sort of inner peace I would write out a list of specific things to accomplish in the next calendar year.

In my mind, if I could successfully finish and complete everything on that list, then my life would be better, happier, and more complete.

However, even if I completed every resolution, nothing was ever good enough. The vicious cycle of demanding obligations became longer and longer, and stricter and stricter.

Surprisingly though, every year I would write “recover from ED” on my list.  It was always written extremely small at the bottom of the page, and was usually the one thing that would go unaccomplished. Although I was writing it, I wasn’t physically acting upon it or mentally embracing what it fully entailed.

As I look back on my resolutions from 2013, I am saddened by the pain and exhaustion I see in my thoughts.

I included things like “run a marathon,” “become the President of my Student Organization,” and “devote more time to academics.” These resolutions were rules that I would be forced to live by and complete, or else be overcome with immense anxiety, guilt, and embarrassment.

Resolutions should not be black and white priorities, but goals one can work toward to better the quality and happiness of their life.

Although I didn’t “run a marathon” this year, I would say that is an accomplishment in itself. I put my health, body, and mind first this time and made a wise decision that has benefitted me much more than any running race ever could.

More importantly, this year I am proud to say I can actually put a check mark next to “recover from ED.”

Although I am still far from being one hundred percent free from my eating disorder, I am physically and mentally embracing what recovery means and entails for the first time in my life. This year, I spent a month at the hospital recuperating and regaining my strength. I then devoted an additional three months to an intensive outpatient family-based treatment program where I learned to love and reconnect with food again. Finally, I made a personal decision to devote every day, for however long it takes, to continue to move forward and out of the grip of ED.

I would say 2013 has been my greatest accomplishment yet.

Looking back on a sensitive and fatiguing process is an incredibly emotional process to partake in, but it is a motivator and reminder to continue to work toward loving and living for oneself.

Therefore, to begin 2014, I have decided not to make a list of resolutions, but a list of goals.

I can work toward these goals, they will enrich me, and they will make me happier and healthier. They won’t be rules by which I will judge and insult myself at the end of the year.

Rather than “run a marathon” this year, I am simply going to work toward getting healthy enough to be able to run a marathon.

That means restoring my body, giving it the fuel and rest it needs, and being patient as it continues to recover and return to total normal functioning. Throughout my brainstorming process, I have also realized that in the past I was unable to put down a lot of activities and experiences I did want to accomplish because I knew they would get in the way of my unhealthy pattern of rigidity.

I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, but when your every waking moment is spent worrying and thinking about food, you don’t have time for anything else.

Therefore, this year, my list is going to include many of the dreams and wishes I have previously pushed out to make room for ED, like learning how to play the guitar, spending more time with my family, and planting my own garden.

I am filled with indescribable peace and happiness as I look toward my future and see limitless possibilities.

This New Year, I challenge all of you to start 2014 on a different foot. Even if you have yet to enter recovery from ED or are still contemplating letting the disease go fully, take the first step and write it out as a goal for the year. I never thought taking that initial action would ever lead into recovery, but fortunately it did.

I encourage you all to block out the “have to do” and “need to be” parts of your list and simply listen to your heart.

Create goals that will guide you towards inner peace, not obligations that will drag you into guilt.

Most of all, be kind to your body, your mind, and yourself, and at the end of 2014, you will surely be happy with all you have accomplished.

Share Your Story | Libero Magazine 17

Shelby is currently working on completing a double major in Psychology and English from Central Michigan University, and will graduate this spring. She recently applied to graduate school for doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology, and hopes to pursue a career in eating disorder treatment and yoga therapy. She is incredibly passionate about increasing advocacy and awareness for eating disorders, and has devoted her life towards providing support, guidance, and love for those inflicted by “ED.” She hopes she can use her experiences and writing to encourage victims towards recovery. In her spare time, Shelby enjoys running, yoga, and spending time in the great outdoors. She someday hopes to travel to Africa and help provide mental health services and yoga treatment to the African population as a part of the Africa Yoga project.

SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in any content on our site, social media, or YouTube channel may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We are not liable for any harm incurred from viewing our content. Always consult a medical professional before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.


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