Driving into the new year with goals, not resolutions

Hey there! Did you miss me?

Despite my 16 day hiatus from blogging, I’m not done, not even close (in fact expect at least one post mosts week for the coming year…it’s a goal of mine), but everyone needs a break sometimes, even from their favorite part of the week…yes, mine is blogging.

But break’s over now (I’ve been back in MD for nearly a week) and we are six days into the new year. Six days into those resolutions…remember those?

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Flashback to Christmas break when making Reindeer cupcakes was my daily activity

If you’re anything like me you probably made a list of lofty resolutions during the last week of December or even on New Year’s Day. You sat down, new pen and notebook in hand, and sketched out all the ways you were going to “be better” this year. Maybe you were going to stop eating cookies everyday (aka me in December) or maybe you were going to buy that gym membership and go every single day after work. Maybe, like me, you simply want to remember to floss each day or drink two liters of water so you have no excuse to complain of dehydration.

Whatever was on your list, will likely be forgotten by February or March and another year will go by with the encroaching feeling of guilt that you’re incapable of changing and sticking to your resolutions. December 2018 will roll around and amidst the holiday celebrations you’ll be wondering where the time went? How could it be another 365 days and yet you still don’t have a six pack or perfectly white teeth? Time to write some new resolutions…

But why resolutions?

The definition of resolution according to my beloved dictionary.com is, “a firm decision to do or not do something.”

If eating disorder recovery has taught me anything, it’s that resolutions make no sense.

How can you firmly decide all in one day to suddenly be perfect? To go to the gym everyday, to floss your teeth everyday, to not eat cookies everyday…to do something everyday with NO EXCEPTIONS!

I’ll repeat, NO EXCEPTIONS!

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A goal of mine in 2018 is to run more visibly. Thanks dad to all the neon gear.

How can you do anything with no exceptions? What if you get sick? What if you have to work 12 hours one day at work and the gym closed? What if you left your floss at home when you went on vacation? What if you just really, really, really want a cookie and your grandma made them and it’s your favorite flavor?

You can’t. Sometimes you need to take breaks. Sometimes your plan doesn’t work out. Sometimes outside circumstances get in the way, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up and it certainly does not make you a failure.

When I first started going to therapy for my eating disorder, my therapist told me, “even when you relapse that doesn’t put you back on square 1.”

At the time I thought that sounded ridiculously. Of course it put me back on square 1! If I threw up I was back to day zero. (P.S. I am currently on day 77 since my last relapse!)

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My count of days since last relapse from November.

But as the months and years went by and relapses came and went I realized she couldn’t have been more right. With each relapse I knew how to recover faster. I knew ways to avoid triggers and destress and how to talk about what was happening. I hadn’t succeeded in any resolution to “not throw up all year” which is almost always one of mine, but I was meeting my goals of trying, of not giving up, of continuing to work towards recovery even when I failed.

That’s what goals are about. Always trying. Accepting that sometimes things don’t go your way, but getting back up the next day and tracking down some floss, going to the gym or telling Grandma you loved the cookie yesterday, but that you wouldn’t have one today.

This year instead of resolutions, let’s set goals. Do your best and continue trying all year. Don’t let one missed day cause you to abandon all hope and revert back to bad habits. You can do it! Just not without exceptions.

(Thanks to my mom for the idea of setting goals for 2018 and leaving behind resolutions)

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