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Posted Jan 04 2010 8:55am

We’re day four of the New Year and already my resolutions are going by the wayside. I was supposed to be up early this morning so I could work to declutter a corner of the house, spend an hour writing, maybe walk the dogs…etc. Can anyone guess what happened? I had a hard time leaving my warm bed. I had a harder time thinking about going out in the gusting wind. I’m writing now, but I still need to carve out time to do my fiction work.

So what should I determine from this? Should I see this as a complete and utter failure and then expand it even more to determine that I am a failure? I think you know the answer. NO! But would you give the same answer to yourself?

Recently someone in my writing community forwarded a link to a blog discussing how to get back into the habit of writing. In the discussion was the sense that it takes 32 days of doing something to make it a habit. If you have been doing the opposite for more than 32 days that is your currently ingrained habit. It is harder to break a habit and replace it with a new one. But it is not impossible.

However it is important to remember during this time. If you or I or anyone has slips in this new routine, we shouldn’t see it as more than that. It is a slip—a blip in the development of a new habit. It is not a total failure. And those blips don’t make any of us total failures.


  • What new resolutions are you making for yourself? Hint—it should relate to recovery from your eating disorder or discovering your inner voice. This is not a time to try setting more perfectionistic expectations! Journal about where you would like your life to head. Focus on inner goals and dreams. What do you love? What puts a smile on your face and makes you feel alive? Realize that it might be something that is not always easy—but that overall gives you a sense of your real self. For me, it is writing, which is often hard, but many other times invigorating.
  • Journal about any over-arching views you develop about yourself when you don’t completely follow through. Do you see it as more than just a blip? You need to look at the thoughts your inner critic tells you and challenge them. Would you say those things to your best friend? Would you believe them? If not, then why should you say that about yourself?
  • Journal an inspiration or affirmation and remind yourself of it each and every morning so that it can help fuel you on. I saw an “affirmation” quilt this weekend that had all sorts of inspirational messages. One of my favorites, which I need to keep remembering, is that “Well-behaved women rarely make history”. So if I want to change my life and change the world—I may need to ruffle a few feathers. That doesn’t mean I’m going out of my way to ruffle feathers, but I will pursue what I think is important even if it sometimes upsets someone. I see that quote as empowering. That’s what I need right now to invigorate my life and get me typing. What quote do you need? Find what motivates you and remind yourself of it every day. Make sure it speaks to your inner voice—the real you. Don’t let your eating disorder pick the quote. That ED is the habit that you need to break. Recovery is the habit that you need to encourage.

 Work on that and Write On!

Martha Peaslee Levine, MD

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