After my heart surgery, I committed, with the obvious wake-up call, to changing my unhealthy lifestyle. I didnt drink or smoke and I did ocassionally exercise prior to the event. But, according to the doctors, the two biggest contributors to the problem were the stress in my life from my career and the fact that I was not controlling my Diabetes.
I knew I could not remove the stress of my career choice but I could practice better self care. As to my Diabetes, the two variables I had complete control over were my diet and my lack of consistent exercise. I knew in my heart I could improve those variables. No one else could decide that or do that for me.
The warning that sounded, in the form of quadruple by-pass surgery, startled me out of a complacency that had been riddled with vague promises of “getting back into shape one day”.
Therefore, I set my goal at 30 minutes of walking every day. Because of the healing process of my chest, I could not do much else. So walking became my ritual. Interestingly enough, the regular walking also reduced some of my stress.
Insomnia, which had plagued me for years as I fretted over cases or devised solutions to the world’s problems, became a rare (rather than nightly) concern. My resting heart rate became lower. Chronic heartburn and reflux disappeared and I felt calmer.
After several months, I started adding more cardio with adding intervals of speed walking with my regular pace. When I found myself becoming winded, I would slow down. But the boulder, sitting squarely in my path to accomplishment, was my inability to work up to a consistent jog. I became discouraged ,when after a minute of jogging or speed walking, fatigue ordered me to stop. My mind tried to tell me to give up.
“Not everyone can jog,” the mean voice would try as a motivation killer.
But, determined to press on, I would tell myself,
” Just one more minute”.
“Just one more minute, you will be fine and you can stop”
So I would push on, and I found I could extend my speed walking/jogging time. My limitations were controlled by my mind. By focusing on such a small goal, my mind did not protest, even when I extended it again. I still don’t jog more than 3 minutes at a time, but I congratulate myself upon each little goal met.
So many things in our lives seem to be difficult. It is human nature to stop short when a felled tree blocks the path on which we are walking. All we see is the barrier, not the path beyond.
Those who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others find barriers, setbacks and difficulties are often thrown across their path. Over and over they make adjustments to not just keep going but also to keep positive change going. How many times have I faced a giant, seemingly impassable, barrier blocking every route? There have been nights when I fell exhausted into bed declaring that I could not keep going one more day.
Have you ever felt like that?
I would tell myself, before the nightly struggle for sleep, that if I can make it through one more day… then I can quit. Amazingly, somehow, the next day the boulder didnt seem so big. Or I got help and support from team mates to find my way around it. I never quit.
Whether it’s one more minute…or one more day…the challenge is to keep walking, keep reaching, keep trying. Dont let your mind fool you into believing the goal or your journey is hopeless.
You are only limited by the belief you have in yourself. The path you chose to walk is your journey: no one elses.
When you feel like giving up, utter the cchallenge to yourself…
One more minute…One more hour…One more day…One more client..One more decision…One more session… whatever it is that is blocking your way. Cheer yourself on. Give yourself permission to fail…as long as you get back up again.