You are an amazing person, you know that?
Sure, you may not believe me right now, if you feel you’re having a bad food day, or you feel sluggish and huge and mad at yourself today. But, do you want to know something that’s really great about people like you me—and, yes, the word “like” there includes the fact that I (and maybe you, too, to some degree) have suffered from an eating disorder?
We like to push ourselves. Often an eating disorder arises out of an initially benign desire to simply be a better person, be a better version of ourselves. While we may go about it all wrong and royally screw up (if you don’t do that at some point, you’re not truly living!), our initial desire was simply to attain a goal. Many eating disorder sufferers and survivors start out with the same beneficial objective, one many people struggle to motivate themselves to. That is to accomplish a goal. Hence my newly-coined phrase for us! We are:
We have the desire to achieve things! And, we have infinite pools of drive. Many eating disorder victims are exceedingly driven and, unfortunately, too hard on ourselves. But, the good news is, we have that inner motivation and stamina. We really are very strong, capable, highly-incentivized people, which is not something that can be taught. It resides within us. So, the exceptional news I have for you for the new year is … you can harness that goal-driven goodness.
Let’s Set Some 2020 Goals!
I honestly love doing this. It can be a big goal, a tiny goal. Just something you’ve wanted to do for a while, so you decide today (right now!) I’m going to do that this year. While I lean more toward the physical/creative accomplishments, yours may be organizational (cleaning out your garage to make a studio), emotional (finally getting rid of people in your life you know bring you down), or educational (setting aside time to learn to speak Spanish). Whatever it is – set one. Today! Right now!
The Great Thing About Goals
One of the really awesome things about goals is that they distract you from those pestering food issues that often run around in your brain. Once you have a goal set, you can easily shut that sh%t down and go work on your goal! You can even say it out loud to that nagging voice: “Jesus, lady, let it go! I’ve got more important things to do right now.” Because you will! Your goal!
Once you find you have something more important in your life than the number on the scale or your inner calorie count, it can be freeing to devote your attention to that instead. And, you’ll be surprised at how quickly those former numbers start to seem so trivial and unimportant. Because they are! But, it may take an attention-grabbing goal to make you realize this. One that ignites and excites you! One that raptures your mental focus and makes you proud of yourself as you start to make strides toward it.
My Goals for 2019 and 2020
To give you a little inspiration (although you may not need it!) I will share my goals for 2019 and the goals I have set for myself in 2020. In 2019, I wanted to work on my hand-balancing. Being a former gymnast and someone who likes to do strength-training and yoga, I knew I would enjoy working on this skill. Cirque de Soleil dancers and the like who post their amazing upside-down poses on Instagram were also inspiring to me. This one, Gasya, in particular.
Her hand-balancing posts really motivated me. So, I decided to devote a half hour every day that I could to working on my own hand-balancing (and boy does it take time and patience – like anything great worth doing!). And, most importantly, when I was working on my hand-balancing, I was most certainly not thinking about what I had or had not eaten that day. It was a freeing mental challenge.
And, while I’m not exceptional at it now. I have improved. My hard work paid off. And, I can hold a decent handstand on a lucky day for more than 30 seconds. Something I was never even able to do as a gymnast! That’s something to really be proud of, and I can say I was able to accomplish that because I am a driven, motivated person. Probably just like you!
Setting goals for yourself like this and pushing yourself to follow through with them can help train your brain to shift its focus off of food and onto other far-more rewarding and healthy endeavors that bring you even more pleasure.
For 2020, I have set a goal for myself to write a play. While I’ve written many books and pieces in my adult career—from fiction to non-fiction to articles to blogs—I have never written a play, and I believe I will enjoy the process. Because I am a driven, Type-A person, I know I will accomplish it. It may not win an Emmy, but I will write a play, dammit! I can say that about myself because I know how hard I am on myself and what lengths I will go to achieve something. It is this personality trait that made me fall prey to an ED, but it is also what gave me the drive to recover.
You have to embrace yourself, all aspects of your personality that make you who you are. Acknowledge your weaknesses while idolizing your strengths. You can use your inner drive to push yourself to new heights.
So, what will it be for you fellow #goaldiggers? What were your goals for 2019 and what do you have your sights set on for 2020? Do tell!