How to Develop Motivation to Start Eating Disorder Recovery Work
- Category: Self-Help
A woman in her mid forties wrote to me asking how she can motivate herself to do the eating disorder recovery exercises in my workbook. She's suffered with her eating disorder for 30 years. Today she has a good life that she can't fully enjoy because she suffers from bouts of despair as well as physical symptoms from her eating disorder like hair loss and yo yo weight gain and loss.
You may identify with her situation. You may also be asking, "How do I motivate myself to do my recovery work?"
First, you are asking the question. That's a good sign.
You most likely have a huge backlog of feelings behind your question and may feel hope and dismay at what you imagine will be the answer. You want years of psychological, emotional and physical suffering caused by your eating disorder to stop. You hope that this is possible. You feel dismay that the task is monumental and impossible.
It's likely that you can't get motivated because you are preparing to take on a job that is beyond your ability. You overwhelm yourself before you start and therefore don't start at all. We can change that.
Get yourself grounded by planting your feet firmly on the ground, be still and breathe. Just watch your breath as your breathe. Watch where it comes and goes. Watch how the air moves through your body. Be present for yourself as you are.
Now, with an attitude of kindness toward yourself, tell yourself you will begin where you need to begin. You will ease into your tasks gently.
Your first tasks may not be the exercises in my workbook. You may graduate to them sometime in the future. For now, as you are, look around your home. Do you have any tasks undone that you've been putting off? Most of us do. Make a check list and start completing some of those tasks.
Whatever those tasks are, do them. Here are some possible examples: clean out a closet, organize a cabinet or drawer, sort through your clothes discarding or recycling what you don't use, getting into that postponed gardening project, clear out items past their expiration date in the kitchen and bathroom.
As you get into the rhythm of tending to these tasks that probably have been gnawing at you for some time, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. You will become more confident that you can address a realistic and meaningful task in a pragmatic way and get it done. Doing this helps you develop trust that you can start other projects too, like keeping a journal or doing one exercise in my workbook.
Ease into your life improvement efforts gently and you will discover that, to your surprise, you are easing into your recovery work as well.
Good luck! Please write and let me know how you are doing.