Yesterday, I moved onto campus and slept in my new room. All of today was spent at my university. This past day has been wonderful but also nerve-wracking and stressful. Escalated eating disorder symptoms have made that more and more apparent to me.
Just like in Oxford, symptoms that I rarely used are sneaking back into my life as are ones that were still present but tamer. Now, I feel flooded with urges that I either lack the will power to resist or seem more appealing than following my meal plan. Although I am trying to stay on track, this school year and eating is becoming an important issue that I need to address.
One of the ways that I have already begun to work through this issue is by setting reasonable goals. Writing lists and setting goals is one of my favorite coping skills. I enjoy checking off what I have done and thinking about how to accomplish what is left.
Setting realistic and reasonable goals is a bit different. You must realize your disadvantages and factor them into your list. Instead of writing what you want to achieve, you write what you think you can achieve.
Doing this can be frustrating. I want to expect the best out of myself and push myself hard. However, there are times when we need to be honest about our struggles and tone down the intensity. Yes, it would be great if I could eat my whole meal plan each day, but that is not a reasonable goal. Instead of aiming for the best, setting reasonable goals means you aim for what is realistic while still providing yourself with a challenge.
One person’s realistic list might have items on it too perfectionistic for another person. Someone who cuts every day might not be able to say she will go a week without self-harm. Instead she might decide to stop hanging out with a cruel co-worker or have three meals every day. Those goals that are achievable for her might be too hard for a man with anorexia, but he perhaps can try to not self-harm for a week. It is all about what you are dealing with and how much you think that you can manage.
So here is my list of reasonable and realistic goals for myself this first week of school:
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep.
- No purging.
- Tell someone or at least pause when the urge to binge arises.
- Have at least half (if not more) of my meal plan.
- Do not start compulsive exercising.
- Take medication as prescribed and when needed.
- Do not start self-harm again.
- Practice deep breathing.
- Be honest about feelings with at least one person each day.
- Try to be aware of what is triggering and how to deal with it.
So what are some reasonable goals that you can set for yourself? How do you make sure that your goals are achievable?
- Goal-Setting by Beautiful Messes and Fabulous Fitness
- Goals are Good but They Need to be Realistic by Marcie Brock, Book Marketing Maven
- Goal Setting by Psych Meds and Petrichor