I love goal-setting and making New Year’s Resolutions in January, it’s kind of like a free trial month for you to explore your goals and then set them in stone from February (or for me, Chinese New Year).
But as someone who blogs and vlogs about mental health as well as recovering from an eating disorder… Our diet culture triggers me every January and I fear for others too.
How dieting can kill and ruin lives
Don’t get me wrong, I totally get dieting because for most of my life I have toyed with the latest diet craze and spent lots of money on trying to “improve” myself. So I don’t judge people for dieting but I want to warn people that it can be a slippery slope especially if you think it’ll help your mental health and wellbeing.
From Atkins Diet to Protein Shakes and Paleo
I grew up surrounded by marketing campaigns vilifying carbohydrates and offering a carb-free future as the only way of life if I wanted to be thin and happy.
And as impressionable young teen, I fell for them. And I got obsessed about carbs making me fat. I thought the only way I could be thin and therefore happy was to avoid them all together.
This lead to years of avoiding carbs and developing a phobia about them. And it didn’t make me thin or happy. It made me poorly with a full-blown eating disorder and on death’s door. I got to the point where I lived in Italy (whilst studying Philosophy and Italian at University) and my whole world became about fitting off the “enemies” that I perceived to be carbohydrates.
I’m not saying all diets end in disaster like mine did but please be careful and think about what will actually make you happy long term. Exercise has really helped my mind and body (although this can be addictive too). But feeling strong and trying to think of all the amazing things your body and mine can do, really helps.
Practice self-love rather than self-loathing this new year.
So try daily self-care from long baths to a gym class or reading a book or blog, whatever does it for you. I know by treating myself more to things that are good for me, I am healthier and happier.
So I treat myself by going to the gym, not to punish myself but to help me feel strong and healthy. It’s sometimes tough love as I often don’t fancy it but I know the feeling after will be well worth it.
I have a Happiness Planner too which I am going to try out this year (I unwrap it in my vlog below…)
I like to start with my big goals first so I don’t feel overwhelmed. And then once I have my big goals I work back from there and turn them into lots of little goals. It also helps you to see if you’ve got space for anything else or if you need to schedule goals for the future rather than 2019.
I also TRY to use the S.M.A.R.T framework (so make sure your goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely). I went on a Christian’s Against Poverty Release Course last year in which we followed a similar process to Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 steps to recovery. What I found really helpful was to set goals on a weekly basis so that it was achievable. I would set goals such as to eat dinner at the table with my kids 4 nights a week. Or whatever I felt like I needed to improve on in my life.
But it was also about discovering our own values and keys to happiness which of course will take a while.
So try ignore the adverts about weight-loss and think what will help you to achieve you goals which also fit your values. No one size fits all.
Let’s start a self-love anuary… Who’s with me?!