When people are starting something new, or something scary, or something important, they often feel they need to have the right amount of motivation before getting started. This is particularly true when they are considering pursuing recovery. And that motivation is likely tied to the “perfect” circumstances – I’ll start when I’m not in such a low mood, when I have more money, when I have the energy, when I feel like it, when my eating starts to get better. The problem with using these conditions is that they are not always in our control, and may even be impossible if the eating disorder is getting in the way. Waiting for the perfect time to start means you may be waiting forever!
Finding motivation has more to do with looking inside ourselves, and identifying a purpose, or figuring out what you are wanting to work toward. A pros and cons list can be a helpful tool for gaining some understanding about both sides of the coin – what does the eating disorder give you, and what does it take from you? What might be scary about recovery, and why do you want to pursue a life without the eating disorder? Creating a purpose or goal that will lead you to a fulfilling and satisfying life, and then setting a commitment to pursuing that goal regardless of what might be scary or hard, is how you find motivation.
Feeling motivated to get started doesn’t always mean that you will feel motivated every single day of your recovery. One day you might feel very motivated, the next you’re not. However, this doesn’t mean that one day you do recovery and the next you don’t – rather, it’s important to recognize that you get to choose to pursue your goal and your purpose every day, regardless of what your mind is telling you. We know that our thoughts, feelings, and sensations are not in our control – but our purpose is in our control, and it is constant. Continuing to feel motivated in recovery involves reminding yourself of your commitment to pursuing a life worth being present in, and acting for that purpose.
If you find your motivation to recovery waning, go back to your pros and cons list, or create a new one. Revisit your goal, and reset your commitment, even in a small way. Recovery isn’t meant to be easy, but if your purpose is to create meaning and fulfillment in your life, it will be worth it.