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Although I don’t generally set explicit goals for myself yet do okay, that’s not the case for everyone. Disregulated eaters especially often have difficulty setting and achieving goals especially related to food and fitness. If you have difficulty achieving success, here’s a book that is definitely for you—MOVE! HOW WOMEN CAN ACHIEVE ATHLETIC GOALS AT ANY AGE by Catharine Utzschneider, Ed.D. who happens to be a colleague of mine from (when I lived in) Massachusetts.
MOVE! Is written for athletes and non-athletes alike. Cathy understands that you have a busy life and that you’ve failed at achieving goals before and might be a bit gun shy of a repeat performance. But this doesn’t faze her in the least. As an athletic coach, athlete, and a mom, she knows what it takes to keep stretching yourself. In what she calls “deliberate practice,” this is exactly what you do—set and achieve a goal, then push just a little harder to set and achieve the next one. For example, you could set a goal to eat “normally” twice a week, then up it to three days, four, and eventually reach seven.
A key concept in MOVE is the need for structure. This means not simply having general goals such as not overeating or not noshing when you’re not hungry but having a path to get there. Structure is the vehicle that gets you to your goals much like a ladder helps you move upward. MOVE’S underlying guidelines include 1) seeing the whole picture, 2) allowing yourself to be a beginner, 3) getting support, 4) using focused practice, and 5) remembering that mastery takes time. For example, you could make “normal” eating a lifetime goal or you could decide that you want to achieve it in a realistic amount of time, say, nine months to two or three years. Another important point that Cathy makes is that to achieve success, you must transform the fears that are wrapped up in irrational thinking into rational beliefs. Now, where have you heard that before?
MOVE lays out the skills you learn from setting and achieving goals: patience, self-respect, and self-discipline (the ability to control unwanted impulses). These are exactly the traits that many disregulated eaters lack. Patience is valuable no matter what task is at hand—eating, raising children, sports, work. Self-respect comes from seeing yourself achieve what you never would have believed you could. Learning and practicing self-discipline in one area generally spills over into other facets of your life. Especially if you’re looking to become more physically active, MOVE! is a great book to help you prepare for your success and guide you gently along the way until you achieve it.
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