A lot of people call our offices in April, 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 this year? 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, groups, and in individual sessions. We may have a full house for the first workshop of the year—maybe even a waitlist—but as the weeks progress, the crowd thins.
So how do you stay motivated, committed, and true to yourself—your true heart and soul ideals, and the things you want to do? Not just about eating and body movement, but whatever desires you have to organize your home or office, create more time for self-care or relationships, or accomplish other important goals.
Check your thinking
Is your brain tricking you into thinking that if you missed one assignment, ate a less healthy meal, or procrastinated on a project, 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 being perfect is boring. Who wants to be boring? Just because you can’t do something perfectly (and none of us can!), it 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 daily journaling and meditation. I’ve missed some days, and other days I’ve spent less time than the 20 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?