New Year's Resolutions: Good or Triggering?


If you have an eating disorder you can use this time of new beginnings, fresh starts and New Year’s resolutions to renew your commitment to recovery. But, please be aware of the different kinds of resolutions. The best resolutions you can choose are those that support your best way of living and add healthy energy to your life. Be wary of resolutions that are triggers for slips or major eating disorder acting out. Here are some examples of both.

Examples of Supportive New Year’s Resolutions

I resolve to:

1.  learn something new.

2.   take a class in what I care about.

3.   keep my environment clean and organized.

4.   write thank you notes to people who have helped me in any way.

5.  reach for what I’ve been postponing.

6.  remove or protect myself from negative people and situations

7.  give myself one beautiful experience every day even if that means something as simple as looking for a moment at a cloud or a flower or a child’s smile or a kitten at play.

8.  listen to classical music at least once a month.

9.  read a classic novel, at least two in 2009.

10.  develop a regular routine for sorting clutter.

11.   find a way to get better at what I do.

12.  make my home more inviting.

13.  get a medical, dental, chiropractic check up.

Examples of Possible Triggering New Year’s Resolutions

I resolve to:

  1. eat xxx every until I lose xx pounds
  2. skip a meal at least …..
  3. not eat ……
  4. stop eating all ……
  5. only eat ……
  6. starve till I am a size…..
  7. treadmill till I am a size ….
  8. get a …. to make purging easier.
  9. quit therapy and do it on my own.
  10. quit school, support groups, OA and do it on my own.
  11. leave town so I can feel better some place else.
  12. tell xxx how angry and resentful I am with him/her.

The supportive resolutions are not about food at all. They are about developing yourself and nourishing your mind, heart and body. They are about helping you become more sturdy, healthy, enriched and competent in this world. They are about opening your mind and heart to the beauty in people, the world and yourself. These resolutions touch on the essentials for your eating disorder recovery.

The triggering resolutions are about rigid control, limited perspective and attempts to get quick gratification for frustrated feelings. Giving yourself specific limiting controls will only build up pressure for a relapse. Withdrawing from support and healthful activities serve to gratify a desire for control that leaves you defenseless against the power of your own eating disorder distorted thoughts and feelings.

Clarity Check
Yes, New Year’s can be a time where you take a fresh look at what’s going on in your life, what’s not going on in your life and make preparations for the positive changes you want. Please run a clarity check on every resolution before you make your commitments. Ask yourself: Is this resolution coming from my eating disorder symptoms or is this resolution coming from the healthy life force in me that wants to thrive and prosper? This clarity check can help you have a truly Happy New Year! By all means, send in YOUR New Year's resolutions. Let's see what we're gearing up for in the coming year.

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