A lot of people call our offices in March, looking for counseling to help them have a healthier relationship with their food and body. Maybe it was one of the resolutions they set in January, but by now they’re feeling frustrated about many of their goals, not just this one.
Can you relate? Did you have big plans for 2017? How are they going? Did life get in your way?
It’s very common for us to be enthusiastic at the start, but then hit a plateau or bump in the road. As therapists we see this in our workshops and courses. We may have a full house for the first session – with people even sitting on the floor because we’ve run out of chairs – but as the weeks progress that crowd thins.
So how do you stay motivated, committed, and true to yourself – your true heart and soul ideals, and the things that you want to do? Not just about food and weight, but whatever desires you have to organize your home or office, create more time for self-care or relationships, or other important goals.
Check your thinking
Is your brain tricking you into thinking that if you missed one class, ate a less healthy meal, or procrastinated on a project that you might as well give up on it all? This all-or-nothing thinking is just one of many cognitive distortions that may be at work under the surface.
Someone told me a long time ago that to be perfect is boring. Who wants that? Just because you can’t do something perfectly – and none of us can!I – doesn’t mean you should stop. Imagine one of your friends or children needed your help getting back up after losing a step. Chances are you’d be there for them, but somehow it’s different when it’s for ourselves.
I recently committed to 90 days of breathwork and meditation. I’ve missed some days, and other days I’ve spent less time than the 24 minutes I intended, but I’m trying to follow through and explore what it feels like to do it imperfectly.
Change can be hard
Eating is a big thing to change, whether you’re trying to not eat certain things or to eat more of other things. Food is a very personal choice and you’ve probably been eating the way you eat for a long time.
Then, if you slip and go back to familiar ways, you may get trapped in perfectionism (I messed up so why bother trying?), mind reading (he/she/they will think I’m a failure) or catastrophizing (I’m doomed to damage my health beyond repair).
One of the best ways to resist these distorted thoughts is to check them out with someone else. At White Picket Fence Counseling Center we offer “booster sessions” where you can talk to someone who will be objective about your hopes, dreams and plans, and help you get back on track.
So come on in. Therapists are the least judgemental group of people and can work with you on ways to help you recommit to yourself. And this is the absolute best time to do this work. We don’t have to wait until Monday or next January 1st. The time will pass anyway, so why not spend it working towards something?
This post originally appeared on the White Picket Fence Counseling Center blog