What Will You Bring to the New Year?

“What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.”—Vern McLellan

We’re only a few days into 2014, and I have already heard many of my friends giving up on their goals and resolutions.  One friend posted this on Facebook: “Well, I didn’t ___________. Better luck next year.”  But, it is precisely this type of all-or-nothing thinking (one slip, mistake, or set back and it’s time to throw in the towel) that sets us up for failure in life and in recovery.  In my opinion, it’s time to redefine “success,” so that we can continue working toward our goals and feel good about the improvements we’ve made in our lives. I think that “success” means progress, not perfection.   

Our new definition can be applied to recovery from an eating disorder, which not always easy. Behavioral slips or bad days in recovery happen (which can, undoubtedly elicit fear and concern), and I tell my clients that what matters in recovery is how they respond to the bad days.  My clients and I work to reframe the all-or-nothing thoughts that arise out of these bad days, and I remind them that best thing to do is “the next right thing.”  If they restrict a mid-morning snack, I encourage them to eat their full lunch; if they over-exercise, I encourage them to do the recommended amount of exercise the next day. It’s about making the choice to keep moving toward the goal, regardless of the bumps in the road.  

So, what will YOU bring to the New Year?

Interesting Fact: New Year’s resolutions are thought to have originated from the ancient Babylonians, who hoped to begin the year on a positive note and appease the gods (so that favor could be brought upon the Babylonians throughout the year).

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