Are New Year’s Resolutions Helpful in Eating Disorder Recovery?

New Year's Eve resolution

With the New Year comes pressures to start new and create goals that spur change. The New Year is often a time of reflection, and with that often comes a desire to either change current patterns or start something new entirely.

Often in the form of resolutions, we fall into the habit of committing to something new at the beginning of the year, only finding it difficult to sustain in the months to come. Why is that, and is this something that is beneficial for those in eating disorder recovery?

Going Beyond a Resolution

Resolutions seem effective, in theory, and usually come from a sincere desire to change or see things in life work out differently. However, resolutions and goals are not much without action steps in place and realistic methods for moving forward.

For those who are in recovery, resolutions often negate the process of healing from an eating disorder and can unintentionally set up someone for failure. For example, a person in recovery might resolve to “Not have another binging episode”, as a hopeful motivating factor to sustain recovery.

However, relapse episodes are commonly experienced as part of the recovery process. If this particular individual does suffer a relapse in the New Year, this can lead to feelings of guilt and shame.

Feeling as though it is nearly impossible to keep up a resolution can exacerbate triggers for those who are attempting to maintain their recovery efforts. This can unfortunately create the vicious cycle that is known all too well by those in recovery. Failure, leads to guilt and shame, which often leads to engaging in eating disorder behaviors.

Realistic Resolutions For Those In Eating Disorder Recovery

New Year's celebrationIf you are in recovery from an eating disorder, reconsider what important goals and milestones are for you in your own journey. This might look something like staying connected to support, meeting regularly with your therapist/dietitian, being gentle and patient with yourself, keeping self-care a priority, knowing when you need extra help, and more.

Resolutions often demand perfectionism, and this is a dangerous trend for those in recovery. Instead, practice giving yourself grace and flexibility, knowing that these are the things that will propel you forward in your recovery.

Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!

What do you think are resolutions that would be helpful to the person in recovery from an eating disorder?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 23, 2016
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