Lucky Dip

This one was inspired by Rhinehart’s novel, The Dice Man. I didn’t quite get to the end of the novel – and I’ve a feeling the concept may have altered a little!! – but I did get thinking about control and chance.

In anorexia, there’s a lot of the former. In life, there’s a lot of the latter.

Plus, I reached a point where I knew that there were lots of things that I needed to start doing again and I wanted a safe way to start doing them. Don’t think too much about the control paradox there.

The unoriginally named ‘Lucky Dip’ is a bag of things that you want to do or try. The idea is simple: every morning, you take out a piece of paper and do what the piece of paper says.

My lucky dips helped me to do different things in different ways; and made trying new things a little less daunting and a little more do-able.

In true blue peter style, I’ll spell out the steps…starting with what you will need:

  1. Between 28 and 31 pieces of paper, depending on which month you’re about to be in.
  2. A bag / box / container suitable to hold between 28 and 31 pieces of paper.
  3. A pen.
  4. A bit of courage and a touch of imagination – or a couple of people that you can ask for inspiration.

When I first started using lucky dips, I was really stuck in two areas: what I could eat; and what I did. The former was linked to the eating disorder; the latter was linked to the fact that I’d got lost (metaphorically). My lucky dip bag reflected this.

On each piece of paper, write down something that you are going to do, related to the area you want to sort out. You can write down anything you want, providing that you stick to a few key principles:

  1. Only include nice things. No punishments, should dos, unhealthy behaviours, or things that people only do because everyone else does them.
  2. Only include things that you can determine. For example, there’s no point saying that you’re going to sunbathe because this is England, you can’t predict the weather. Similarly, going out for dinner might be nice but if you’re going out, you can only agree on your own behalf.
  3. Small achievable things. This is about making yourself feel better and getting back a little of that self belief. For example, don’t expect to be able to eat a pizza if you’re struggling with a piece of bread; cut cleaning that sink down from 15 to 12 times rather than 15 to 0. Be realistic!
  4. Have fun. This is your permission to yourself to do something different.
  5. If it starts to become an obsession in itself (yep, even my anti OCD treatment because OCDified at one point), stop for a while or have a break. Don’t defeat the purpose!
  6. If you’re trying to break a habit, it can be a good idea to write the same thing on multiple pieces of paper. Everything gets easier over time.

These are a few of the things that I tried if you’re still struggling around for ideas:

Food Related:

  1. Try one new food (always eating the same thing).
  2. Add one spoonful to your serving (not really eating enough).
  3. Have jelly and ice cream (suggested by a friend!).
  4. Have cereal for breakfast (stuck in a porridge rut).

Finding yourself related:

  1. Watch a different TV programme (learn to relax).
  2. Find something funny (learn to laugh).
  3. Read a different paper (explore new things).
  4. Call a friend (always helps).
  5. Buy yourself a present (because you’re worth it).

Habit breaking related

  1. Don’t check your handbrake before going to bed (replace handbrake with relevant obsession).
  2. Wear a different perfume (variety and the spice of life).

Simple! And the nice thing is, you can incorporate the new stuff into the real world and ditch the stuff you don’t like.

Lucky Dip isn’t about making new rules – it’s about opening doors and taking chances.


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