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Five Resolutions for Eating Disorder Recovery

Realistic and Achievable Goals for Change

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Updated December 31, 2012

Making new year's resolutions (or at any time) can be an important turning point in your life and in your recovery from an eating disorder, if you are able to make realistic and flexible resolutions. Consider these resolutions as you look into the next year, or the next stage in your life. I encourage you to only choose one or two as you are more likely to be successful at keeping them if you don't overwhelm yourself.

  1. Resolve to take recovery one day at a time.The tradition of taking recovery one day at a time has long been present in the 12-step communities and I encourage you to use it as well. When a person thinks about recovery as a whole, it can seem too overwhelming. However, when you think about recovery for a day, or even in hour-long increments, it seems much more possible. Even when you have slips, remind yourself that recovery is not perfect.

  2. Resolve to work towards finding a therapist and/or treatment team that works for you. One of the most important and courageous steps anyone makes towards recovery is to find a therapist and treatment team that works for you. I've known many clients who found a therapist but have had trouble making the call to a dietician or have gone through multiple therapists searching for the 'right' one. Make an effort to find and stick with a treatment team. Resolve to make and keep appointments, even when you don't really feel like going.

  3. Resolve to challenge yourself.Recovery is not easy. It will likely be the hardest thing that you will ever do. Resolve to take on challenges with it. This will be different for different people and may be challenging yourself to eat scary foods, challenging yourself to trust your therapist or challenging yourself to address difficult topics in your life. Whatever it is, face it rather than avoiding this year.

  4. Resolve to be forgiving and gentle with yourself.Something that almost all of my clients universally struggle with is self-criticism and judgment of themselves. Resolving to work on this does not mean that you won't hold yourself accountable or continue to strive to do your best. It simply means that you will begin to create realistic expectations of yourself and be okay with sometimes making mistakes.

  5. Resolve to ask for support.No one makes it through recovery alone and it is so important to find people that you can ask for help. These may be treatment team members, but will also need to include family and/or friends. Work to cultivate relationships with people who you are able to trust and feel vulnerable with. These are the people who you can ask to go on a walk after dinner with, or plate your food at a stressful family dinner. It can be so scary to ask for help, to admit that you can't do it alone. However, when you are able to, it will feel wonderful.

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