As I spent the last remaining minutes of 2015 celebrating an overall good year with some really good friends, I started to think about resolutions. For the past week it’s all anyone could talk about. What would they do differently in 2016? How could they be better? For the first few weeks of January, gyms across the nation will be packed, health food sections of grocery stores will be sold out, families will be spending more time with each other, and we will spend less money on frivolous things. As many of the mainstream news stations were quick to point out, as January turns to February and the excitement of a new year begins to wane, so do our resolves to “better” our lives. While the idea of New Year’s Resolutions is admiral, I can’t help but consider them fruitless endeavors. So here is my New Year’s NON-Resolution: I resolve to have no resolutions.
Hear me out on this, we spend so much time criticizing ourselves and others that we never really think about everything that is great about our lives and who we are. I am particularly guilty when it comes to self-criticism. It’s no secret to the world that I have struggled with an eating disorder for most of my collegiate career, my last post focused on this. I don’t know how much that comes into play when it comes to my knack at finding flaws, but I do know that I am unnaturally quick to point them out in myself. I can always be smarter, work harder, give more, do more, be better. Year after year I have resolved to be a “better” person, whether it be academically, socially, personally, or athletically. Over the past couple of months, as I’ve dealt with my disorder, I’ve come to realize that there is no need to be better. I am enough as I am. While it’s still difficult for my brain to comprehend that fact, I try to remind myself of it everyday. It’s actually written on a sticky note attached to the mirror on the back of my bedroom door so that I see it every morning. I’m not saying that I’m successful at thinking like this all day, everyday, but I’m making the effort and that’s all I can really ask of myself or anyone else.
So back to my point. I’m not making a resolution this year. I’m endeavoring to just live my life as it is and let it be. I know that there are things I could do better, things I should work on, but I have my whole life to do that and frankly, I think there are always things that we will wish we did better. Our society is so focused on the next best thing that we never really learn to appreciate what we have now, who we are now, and I think that’s sad. We can live our whole lives never really knowing ourselves because we spend so much time criticizing the things that we think aren’t good enough. But here’s the thing: we are good enough. I know that this sounds unbelievable coming from a girl with an eating disorder who strives for perfection in literally every facet of her life, but it’s actually the opposite. While I’m still struggling with my disorder, I’ve reached the point where I can recognize the thoughts that have lead me to this point. It’s my desire for perfection and control and that self-critical talk that led me to beginning my first diet and from there, it spiraled. So, as someone who has seen the terrible side-effects of being too self-critical and looking to “improve” myself so-to-speak, I can honestly say that it is not worth it. Hence, my resolve to not resolve this year.
For a while, I thought it would be a good idea to resolve to be over my eating disorder this year, but I know that this may not be the case and I will not set myself up for failure. A year is a long time and I cannot predict what will happen or the decisions that I will make over the next 366 days (hooray for a leap year!!!). All that I can ask of myself is to live each day like it’s a new day. I will make poor decisions, I will fail, and I will disappoint myself and others, but while these moments are inevitable, I can move past them and try my best not to repeat them the next day. Failure is a part of life, as are flaws, and that is something that I am learning to accept in therapy. The funny thing is that I know that I will fail at that too, because if I didn’t, it wouldn’t be so hard to get over my disorder. Failure to accept failure, it’s a funny thing. So yeah, my resolution this year is non-existent and for the first time, I feel good about it. Every day is a new day and a chance to fail and a chance to succeed. That’s a 50/50 shot at success and I’m okay with that. I hope you can be too.