Last year at this time, I was preparing to undergo a full hysterectomy. I came through the surgery beautifully, and thought I would share some of what helped make that challenge such a wonderful opportunity.
I was thinking this morning about what it will take for me to rebound from my surgery next week.
What it boils down to is Persistence, Practice, and Patience.
These 3 P’s of Change are true regardless of whether you’re recovering from surgery or illness, working to lose weight, or making some other life change.
When you’re finally ready to make a change, you may want it to happen right now.
That impatience makes the process very frustrating and fraught with ups and downs. At the very least, this can make the journey unpleasant, and worse can cause you to get so discouraged that you give up on achieving your goal.
Being Persistent is key.
Persistence is mostly a mind thing. It’s being determined in the moment to make the decision that will move you towards your goal, rather than choosing the option that will maintain you where you are, or even set you back.
After my surgery, I will need to consistently make the decision to eat healthy foods to give my body the nutrients it needs to heal and recover—and not fall into comforting myself with holiday treats. And I will need to move as much as I can. Not only does the doctor say that walking will speed my recovery, but consistently doing what I can will help keep me in the exercise habit so as I am feeling better it will be easier to motivate myself to get moving.
There are typically some routine actions that have to be Practiced consistently to facilitate making a change.
For instance, if you’re losing weight, you have to practice eating healthy foods in moderate amounts and moving your body.
There are things you can do to facilitate these regular practices.
If you’re dieting, you can plan your meals for the week so that you have the right food on hand, stick to a schedule of regular eating, and stay on track with calories.
The actions that I want to practice to facilitate my recovery include meditating, eating nutritious meals, walking, and resting.
To facilitate these, I intend to maintain my practice of meditating upon waking. For the past several weeks, my husband and I have made big batches of healthy soups and frozen much of it so that we’ll have easy, nutritious meals on hand. This weekend I also plan to lay in lots of fruit, fat-free Greek yogurt, and other healthy snacks that don’t require any preparation.
Apparently they will get me up for my first walk while I am in the hospital, so I have set some minimum goals for myself for walking on the treadmill when I get home. And certainly I plan to enjoy a lot of naps, reading, and movies.
The biggest gift you can give yourself when making changes is Patience.
You need to make peace with the fact that change will not happen overnight. And you may make decisions in the moment that aren’t the best, or you may miss an opportunity to practice some of the actions you set for yourself.
This is normal!
Change is about consistency, not being perfect. The quicker you can forgive yourself, the faster you can get back on track.
There are a lot of unknowns about how I’m going to feel after my surgery next Wednesday. Perhaps Thursday I’ll need to sleep all day and I won’t get my planned walk in, or the only thing I’ll feel like eating is toast. That’s OK. While I want to push myself to do those things that will help me recovery quickly, I’m also going to be sensible about it and listen to my body.
Over the weeks of my recovery, I plan to eat some of the lasagna a friend has promised to bring over and I will allow myself to enjoy some holiday treats—in moderation—and I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I am going to strive for consistency, not perfection. By not holding myself to an impossible standard, I’m much more likely to be successful in the long run.
Where could the changes you’re making—or plan to make—stand to have some Persistence, Practice, or Patience?
How could using the three P’s make a difference in your success?
Together we can do it!