I write a lot of lists. I make a lot of charts. I theoretically plan my life and times quite some bit. Often through the year, I will undergo a fit of zeal for change that the typical human only feels in the final days of December.
Sometimes these plans work. Little plans such as writing more often, practising piano and studying usually work flawlessly. Big life changing spiels, which are all too usually the basis of what I want to achieve, don’t tend to go so well. And because my mind tends to separate things firmly into black and white, the subsequent perceived failure tends to demotivate me even further.
This, I tell myself, is why I have gained 4 stone in one year, why I still do not have my teaching diploma, why I do not have a steady income and why my moods tend to become erratic when stressed. This is the mind frame of a demotivated little girl, who days from this realisation will start in on a brand new plan to: get a job, lose weight and become a happy little bunny.
As a triumphant finish on my immaculate new set of goals for the year, I present this final set of tips.
Working through Demotivation
Difficulty – 3
Thinking you’ve failed can be mind blowingly difficult and a bad reaction can cause even further setbacks. Even 16 months into eating disorder recovery, I regularly find myself engaging in compulsive overeating, the creation of unrealistic starvation plans and lusting for the days when I was so meagre I would regularly collapse into the arms of my then-boyfriend. Moments life these make you sting and smart, begging for a reason as to why you have put yourself through all this distress if your life is seemingly still dictated by such a heinous habit.
For the following steps, do as I say, not as I do. Although I pride myself as being a logical person, when it comes to my addictive nature, I am painfully dictated by my own emotions and have an extremely low tolerance for unpleasant thoughts in my head. So as part of my own goals, I hope to follow these steps as well as I can myself.
- On the third day, do it – no matter how inconvenient. You may recognise this as one of my commandments and it comes courtesy of Gretchen of the Happiness Project. Basically, whatever your goal is, do not let yourself avoid it for more than two days. If I work out on Monday, and I skip Tuesday and Wednesday, I am getting myself out for a run on Thursday. If I spend two days binge eating, the third day should absolutely be an effort towards normal eating. This way you can avoid a week of something that you know will upset you in the long term.
- Reassess, change, reassess – Okay, so your attempt at running everyday didn’t work out. But what did you achieve, two runs and a yoga session. Maybe your original goal just wasn’t realistic. Reassess and start again – with the confidence that you are learning with every mistake and that permanent change takes time.
- Take note of the little changes – Lets be honest, I can’t just bang out a five mile run any more. I can’t squat 80kg any more. But does that mean my new attempt at renewing my fitness routine is an utter failure? No. It means I’m back at the beginning. It should be humbling, not depressing. I’ve been in recovery for quite a while now and am still not “better.” Have I failed, should I return to my cycle of binge/starve again, should I go back to wanting to die every time the scale went a pound up? No. Because I have made progress. My moods have become more stable, my normal bodily functions have returned, I am more social and outgoing, my binging has decreased in severity and my compensatory starving has pretty much disappeared. I would even go so far as to say my initial self hatred has gone – of course, everyone has their off days – and that I am truly enjoying my life. So no, now is not the time to give up.
And that, kids, is it for this years edition of setting a load of goals to change my life. I hope 2012 treats you well and I’ll be back soon to talk about something completely different.