Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia Primary Therapist Kate Funk, MS, MFT offers advice in navigating new years resolutions and how to honor your past, while looking to the future. Read on to learn more from Kate…
If you do a quick Google search of New Year’s resolutions, you will find that their origins date back thousands of years. The Babylonians have the earliest record of a new year resolution while planting their crops in early Spring they promised to repay their debts to the gods. This spring time tradition marked the beginning of a new year. Romans changed the start of the new year to January honoring the two- faced god “Janus” who was said to simultaneously look back into the past and into the future at the same time. These beginnings are a far cry from the diet focused New Year’s resolutions of 2018, huh? This information got me thinking; how can we look forward while remembering and honoring our past instead of the modern practice of scrutinizing our bodies, vowing to commit to intense exercise regimes, and changing our diets?
The new year brings the average American a determination to change habits and perceived flaws, but what if we reframed it to honor our past while looking forward to our future? How can we honor our short comings while being gentle with ourselves and mindful of our needs? My intention is to explore this concept throughout the year at EDCPA .
In groups, I often mention how it does not serve clients to forget their eating disorder or their past. Forgetting where you came from is a simple recipe to repeat it, like the old adage that history repeats itself to those who do not learn from it. It’s easy to feel the allure of an eating disorder’s promises and goals when you have no memory of the pain and heartache it caused before. Remembering our past helps us choose what we don’t want in our future like a relationship that no longer serves us, a job you weren’t passionate about, or a self- destructive behavior. By choosing to make future choices that honor our pain, we are choosing to do things differently.
For example, anyone who knows me knows I’m an open book. Although I can rattle off the things that have happened in my life, it is rare that I will openly share my emotions. It doesn’t come naturally to me to open up emotionally and this has caused me disappointment, resentment, and ultimately my eating disorder! When I am having a difficult time, I now actively choose to share my feelings and expectations with those around me, which allows me to do things differently. If I want something different, then I have to do something different! By honoring our past, we may choose to do things differently.
By reflecting on our past, we can make mindful shifts this new year that won’t set us up for the disappointment of a broken New Year’s resolution or the pain of ascribing to diet culture. We can make choices that will honor our “soul self” and that is who we really are at our core. This new year, think about how you can honor your past. Choose to do more of what has gone well for you and shift away from what no longer serves you.