I don’t know if the video we made with Zlatin for the Bucket list challenge or 2020 in general, which was and continues to be a different year, made me write about it. However, I strongly believe that whether you have an eating disorder or not, you need to set a list of goals. I challenge anyone reading this to take 30 minutes to do the below exercise. I promise that it will make you feel better, more alive, and will charge you positively.
How does this list of goals help us overcome eating disorders?
With the eating disorder very often my thoughts, desires, and fears were mainly about food. What will I eat, when will I eat, how much will I eat or what did I eat today … things like that. The rest of the time I was making plans on how to lose weight. I didn’t think I could dream of anything else. I didn’t believe that there are more important things in life than how I look. Well, I actually did, but they had to wait, I needed to lose weight first. However, if you stop waiting and try to come up with a list of goals that excite you, different from a slim waist and smaller ass, you will open your mind to a new and wonderful world. This helped me a lot to change my focus and shake off the vicious circle of bulimia.
I personally created my list of goals based on an idea by Tony Robbins. His book Awaken the Giant Within inspired me and I am infinitely grateful that I took the time and energy to do it. Now I review the list and update it from time to time. I have to tell you that the feeling of knowing what you want is phenomenal.
The only requirement in this exercise is to go beyond any framework. Imagine that everything is possible and think out of the box. Don’t think about how you are going to achieve it. That is not important now. The most important is what you want. If your dream is to live on Mars – no problem, who knows, it may happen one day, the important thing is to know that you want it.
The template is divided into 4 parts and includes:
1. Personal development
This includes everything we want to improve in our lives related to our personal growth. To learn a new language, to acquire a new skill, or to improve an existing one. Learning to play a piano, surf, and be able to walk a tightrope are some of mine. Also here is the place for new desired habits like getting up early, doing yoga 3 times a week, reading 2 books a month. This column also includes things about our character and our personal attitude that we want to change. For example to become more generous and think positively, to love ourselves more, to overcome the ego, etc. In general, we include everything we want to achieve to become a better version of ourselves.
2. Career or business goals
No matter how amazing we are, we still have to make money to live. And the best way for that is to do something we love to do. Something that gives us pleasure or at least doesn’t make us feel bad. Write down anything you want for your career, business, or financial life. It might be changing the position, promotion, or starting your own business. Or why not both. In this column are all our professional goals. I remind you once again that while doing this exercise not to think about how will achieve the goal, but only what the goal is.
3. Toys and adventures
This is the funniest column and is my favorite. The imagination must work at max. All the things you want to buy – from a dream bag to a house with a large wardrobe, car, plane, train. Also here we include trips to various dream places around the world, as well as adventures. To swim with whale sharks, to fly a balloon, to skydive, to take my parents on a trip abroad, etc. Interestingly, although here are the things that make me love life and smile, I have never made a list of them before. And when I did, I realized how many possibilities there are waiting for me out there to warm my heart and make me smile.
4. Contribution goals
Have you heard that the secret of happiness is helping others? So, in this part, we are writing down all the contribution goals that we have. To help children with disabilities, to help people with eating disorders, to volunteer once a year, or just to stop using plastic bags for the bananas. Anything that will create a difference in people’s life.
It is a bit difficult in the beginning, but at the moment your brain starts working in a creative mode, it will become easier. When you are ready with the list of goals you should set an approximate timeline for each of them. Put a 1, if it’s one year or less, a 2, if it’s two years, a 3 if it’s three years, etc. When you are done with prioritization, choose your most important one-year goals and write a paragraph about each of them. You’ll need more time to review them, so you don’t push yourself to do everything at once. You will see that when you break down a big and complex goal into smaller and simple tasks, the goal starts looking much more manageable and achievable.
Here you can download a sample template for the list of goals I have prepared to make it easier: Goals
When we are struggling with a mental illness such as an eating disorder or depression, an exercise like this can be the beginning of a better and happier life. It helps us remember where we are going and what we still have to achieve. This is how we focus on the things that give us purpose and fill our days with the emotions that are worth living for.
Give yourself this half-hour, accept it as part of the recovery process. The world is full of opportunities, and we owe it to ourselves to think about exactly those opportunities that we would like to take advantage of.