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  • Writer's pictureCarly Onopa

Reclaiming the New Year! Helping You with Your Eating Disorder Recovery Goal Setting

Firework show is in the background with a white rectangle portraying the title "Reclaiming the New Year"

"New Year, New Me." Maybe you have been hearing this phrase more often in the past couple of weeks. This can be a time where extra pressure is applied to become your best self. Unfortunately, a lot of people interpret that to mean they need to be their thinnest, fittest self. There can be an increase in negative food tlk and a preoccupation with exercise and body. This is difficult for many people navigating recovery.

What if we could reclaim New Year Resolutions this year? What if instead of trying to shrink ourselves this year, we could work towards goals that lead to a fuller life?

If that interests you, let's talk through the eating disorder recovery goal setting process!

First I want you to pause. Now visualize what you want for your recovery journey in 2024. What does that look like for you? IS there a speicifc behavior you want to focus on? Is there a thought process you want to start healing? Is there an underlying issue you want ot address? Try to be specific about the process of recovery and intentional steps that you can take this year.

Now, with that in mind, consider what recovery skills you want to improve on. These might be therapeutic skills or dietary related skills. Maybe you have learned a bunch of coping skills but are having difficulty implement in the moment. Maybe you're finding you need to have a wider set of meal preparation skills or strateiges to navigate different food-related situations. Being specific with the skills you still need can help you make a game plan for how to move forward this year!

Now think of what you might need to let go to support your recovery efforts. As you are building your recovery, you may find that it's time to detach yourself from things that once served you but don't anymore. Maybe this year you release yourself from the chains of food rules that plague your relationship with food. Maybe you set boudnaries with people that deplete your energy. Maybe you work on letting go of negative thought patterns about your body. While it can be difficult to let go of things that have served you in the past, this is a helpful step to remove recovery barriers.

Reflect on what support you might need to navigate these goals. Eating disorder recovery is tought and is a journey best traveled with help. Is there someone missing from your treatment team that could help you address these goalss? If you have a robust team, consider sharing your goals with them for the year so they can best help you. There's no shame in asking for help!

Finally, reflect on how you will know you've been successful with your recovery goals. When goal setting, professionals often encourage setting "SMART" goals.

S - Specific

M - Measurable

A - Attainable

R - Realistic

T - Time Sensitive

Some eating disorder recovery goals may fit nicely into this model. For instance,

"I will have 3 meals daily this week by increasing my meal-time accountability"

"I will reduce the number of binges from 3 to 2 times per week this week by using coping skills when I'm feeling lonely"

However, some recovery goals may not fit into these guidelines - and that is okay! Some recovery goals may be more open-ended, such as:

" I want to improve my relationship with food by working on foods that seem off-limits to me"

"I want to decrease my reliance on eating disorder behaviors and replace them with adaptive coping strategies"

"I want to reduce the time I spend preoccupied with food and body.

While these are less quantifiable, they are no less worthy goals to set. Whatever way you will measure your success is valid!

In Summary

We have the ability to reclaim New Year Resolutions for our eating disorder recovery. Goals may focus on skills you hope to gain, things you want to release, and support that you need to help you on our journey. While there may be goals from all these areas you'd like to set, try starting with one goal and layer in the others as able. By focusing your energy and resources on one of these goals, you can build confidence in your ability to take on recovery focused goals!

If you would like dietary assistance with your 2024 recovery goals, please contact us!


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