How Ready for Change are You?
I’ve had asthma since early elementary school and, in a lot of ways, it has made my life challenging and frustrating. Asthma attacks during sporting events, asthma attacks while on outdoor runs, and bad respiratory illnesses that were triggered and exasperated by asthma. It’s pretty annoying and something I have resisted accepting.
As an adult I have gotten really sick every winter (in the last 5 years I have had pneumonia twice, influenza A and strep throat), always needing to use my rescue inhaler and be put on steroid medications to help with my breathing. I honestly have been in denial (that’s a long time to be in denial, right?) about how taxing asthma has been and still is on my body. I’ve half-heartedly tried natural ways of treating it and have been inconsistent with the asthma maintenance program my doctor prescribed.
When I objectively look at how I have handled my asthma, I can see that I was doing a lot of, what we as Health Coaches call, “Sustain Talk.” I would pose a problem, something I was unhappy about, something I knew needed to change, but then would verbalize reasons why change wasn’t possible. For example, “As an asthmatic my lungs need additional support in order to fight off viruses that wouldn’t affect most people’s lungs the way they affect mine. But… I can’t even remember to drink water consistently throughout the day, let alone proactively treat my breathing to help me in the future if I get sick.” Sustain talk can also be described as ambivalence. I wanted a change, but not really. I wanted to get through a winter without contracting pneumonia or bronchitis, but not enough to REALLY do the work to care for my lungs to keep them strong and healthy when illness hit.
Thankfully, after a second bout with pneumonia, I had an honest conversation with myself (which was a long time coming). I contemplated what I value in life and how, if left untended, would my asthma negatively impact that? From there, I identified my obstacles (in my case, remembering to care for myself and being disciplined about my care), and I developed and implemented a plan to consistently, daily care for my lungs and keep them strong BEFORE illness strikes.
When it comes real, lasting, healthy change, a person has to want it AND be ready to put in the work. Change is not easy! It requires taking an honest look at where you are now and where you need or want to be. It requires courage and vulnerability. I will be the first to admit that it’s not fun to evaluate needed areas of growth…feelings of insecurity and being overwhelmed are often times huge obstacles that are hard, but necessary to overcome (that’s where the courage comes in).
However, once we have gained the courage to be brutally honest about our reality, we are able take control over our life and discover that we have, within us, the power to implement CHANGE! This first step is monumental and is a catalyst that sparks forward motion and growth. It is something to be proud of and celebrate.
Let’s Get Started!
My hope is that as you read this blog you are inspired to take an inventory of “where you are and where you want to be.” If you have already done that, I hope you take a second to acknowledge the courage and hard work that step took…and be proud of yourself!
Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” So, friends, let’s be courageous, vulnerable and honest and let’s GET STARTED!!!