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Recovery blog

New Year, Happier Me

By: Megan Coral, MS, LMFT

Posted on December 27, 2017

Each new year brings new resolutions which often means people resolving to lose weight. I cannot count the number of people who have explained that their eating disorder began as a new year's resolution that went too far. The intention was to "eat healthier" or "exercise more" and the pressure to change for the new year and the hope that weight loss would bring happiness and comfort with one's body was too much. The eating disorder emerged.

Watching New Year's Eve countdowns across the channels, I fear this year will bring resolutions focused on changing outward appearances. Some people with and without eating disorders are convinced if they "fix" their appearance they'll be happier, more successful, insert false hope here. False hope is exactly what we are fed especially in the start of the new year with the tag line "New Year, New Me". Physical changes do not bring long term happiness as much as the false hope might convince you otherwise.

Instead I propose a new resolution and a new tag line "New Year, Happier Me". Let's focus on the internal and making ourselves happy on the inside; focus on what brings us joy, makes us laugh or smile, or makes us or someone else feel good. Let's change our outlook and shift the importance from the way we look to the way feel and the way we treat ourselves. Let's set the goal to identify an activity that will make us happy and plan to do it each day. The key difference between this goal and others- if you are unable to achieve this goal one day, try again the next day without judgement, criticism, or feelings of failure. Let's really try to see the happy in happy new year.

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