The Three P’s of Change

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.

Persistence

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.

Practice 

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.

Patience

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!

One of Bill Phillips’ mantras in his book, “Transformation,” is “progress not perfection.”

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!

 

Receive the Gifts in Every Experience

I am learning to embrace situations and experiences that I used to judge as things to be dreaded and endured. Shifting my perspective doesn’t change the situation, but it does change how I experience it.

The surgery that I underwent in December was one of those times. Last week, I had my final post-surgery doctor’s appointment were my stellar recovery was confirmed. I am so grateful for this step on my wellness journey. Truly, everything about that experience has enriched my life.

Heading to traffic court today is another example. I think I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I was getting some obvious bonks on the head by the Universe reminding me to be present. Getting a speeding ticket a couple of weeks ago as I headed to coach training was one of those jolts back to reality.

I had set my cruise control to ensure I would stay within a reasonable speed . . . and then my brain checked out. When the officer brought me back to reality, I was no longer going a reasonable speed since it had changed twice without my notice. I thanked him for bringing me back to consciousness and was a much more present driver the rest of the trip. And have been much more conscious of being present since.

So today, I get to take the afternoon off from work, drive an hour there and back through our beautiful mountains on what is supposed to be a sun-soaked day, encounter people that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to meet, and look for the gifts in this experience. Because they are there if I will just open my eyes and my heart and look for them.

I expect to see those gifts and am looking for ways to be present and conscious enough to fully receive them.

When we stop fighting experiences and judging them as bad, and instead open our eyes and hearts to the gifts that are in every moment, we finally begin to receive them.

As Jerry Hicks used to say, “Everything is always working out for me.” No matter what, no matter who, no matter where, Source (God, the Universe, All That Is, Higher coach—whatever works for you) is always on our side providing the experiences that are unfolding perfectly for my—and your—expansion.

No matter what you are facing today, it is up to you to take this moment and consciously choose your focus and decide how you want to feel. You can endure it, let it crush you, or decide to thrive.

The experience will not change, but you change your experience of it.

Together we can do it!

Photo by bigjom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Accountability

Aside

Accountability for December 30, 2011

After falling into the cookies, on December 20, I committed to being accountable through the New Year to you Fabulous Readers about my diet and exercise as I recover from surgery.

 

Weighed this morning and I have maintained over the holidays, surgery, and recovery. Woo hoo! It’s clear I will meet my goals of maintaining my weight and feeling great on January 2.

In addition to 20 minutes of walk/jog intervals, I got in two short walks yesterday. Also ate well with the only splurges at dinner out with friends being half a cocktail, two bites of apple cobbler, and two peppermint hard candies. I’ll take it!

Today I will do a low-weight upper body workout and will get in at least one short walk. Tonight’s New Year’s celebration with friends will be my free meal for the week, and I will be back on track tomorrow with our area’s traditional New Year’s day meal of collard greens and black-eyed peas.

Thank you Fabulous Readers for helping me meet my post-surgery diet and exercise goals!

 

Are you making New Year’s Resolutions and have a goal on which you would like to be held accountable? Feel free to use the comment space on each of my accountability blogs, and I will cheer you on. Just let me know what your goal is, what you will be doing to meet it, and how often you will be reporting in.

 

Accountability

Aside

Accountability for December 29, 2011

After falling into the cookies, on December 20, I committed to being accountable through the New Year to you Fabulous Readers about my diet and exercise as I recover from surgery.

With my doctor’s OK to slowly go back to my regular workouts, yesterday I did a low-weight lower body workout and it felt awesome! Also go in a nice walk with the dogs. Am a little sore this morning, which lets me know I hit the intensity level just right for where I am in my recovery.

This morning I did 20 minutes of walk/jog intervals and I plan to get a walk or two in, as well.

Eating was pretty clean yesterday. Only thing off plan was two peppermint hard candies to satisfy my post-dinner sweet-tooth. We are going out to dinner tonight with friends, so will do my best to stay on track.

Definite progress!

Are you making New Year’s Resolutions and have a goal on which you would like to be held accountable? Feel free to use the comment space on each of my accountability blogs, and I will cheer you on. Just let me know what your goal is, what you will be doing to meet it, and how often you will be reporting in.

Look for an Excuse to Workout

I had my first post-surgery appointment with the doctor yesterday and he confirmed that I am recovering remarkably well. He gave me permission to slowly go back to my regular workouts, and assured me that my body will let me know if I am doing too much.

It’s gratifying to me that I have missed my workouts for the past two weeks, and am looking forward to getting back to them.

In the past when life got stressful, the first thing to go would be my energy for workouts. That would be closely tied with my eating for comfort rather than wellness. Pretty quickly, even the idea of working out would be emotionally and physically draining. This would often be the beginning of my wellness spinning out of control, resulting in my regaining the weight I had recently lost—and then some.

The first time I really saw this change was in the summer of 2010 when my husband was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was an incredibly scary time when my vibrant and active husband suddenly became so pain-ridden he couldn’t get out of bed without assistance. It was several weeks before we got a diagnosis, and several more before treatment gave him some pain relief.

Instead of using that incredibly stressful time as an excuse to stop my personal care, if anything it motivated me to take care of myself even more because I knew if I wasn’t feeling good, I wouldn’t be able to take care of David. The best way I could help him, was to take care of myself.

That doesn’t mean it was easy. There were days I had to make myself go workout, even if it was for 10 minutes. Fortunately, getting started was often the hardest part and once I did my 10 minutes, I usually was able to keep going and get in my full workout.

And I reached out for a lot of support. Not only were my friends and family incredible during this time, but I also leaned on the transformation.com community—a free on-line support site focused on physical, mental, and emotional fitness. (I still participate in the Fabulous Friends accountability group, and would love to have you join us if you are looking for support in meeting your wellness goals.)

As a result, I not only survived this extremely stressful situation, but I thrived and used that time as an opportunity to move towards who I am truly meant to be.

This time, it was me who was facing the medical challenge—fortunately a much-less serious one than my husband continues to face with remarkable aplomb. In addition, because it was happening to me, I found it much easier because I was more in control and could tap into my inner confidence in my personal wellness and wellbeing. It was easier to be focused on what I could do to speed my recovery—following the doctor’s orders to take it easy, and getting in four walks a day and drinking lots of water. I also know the benefit of eating healthy foods and the impact that has on how I feel.

I also have the personal experience that exercise relieves stress, and now I use stress as an excuse to workout rather than a reason to avoid it.

While it may feel like the very last thing you want to do, focus on the stress-relieving benefits of exercise and how much better you’ll feel afterwards. And when you do the workout and are in that better-feeling place, notice it, focus on it, and celebrate it so that you can remember it the next time you are trying to convince yourself to go workout.

Figure out the minimum that you can do that will make you feel like you’re making progress. Even a walk around the block has benefits and will help clear your mind, and it’s a lot easier to convince yourself to at least get that walk in. And if you really can’t motivate yourself to get a workout in today, forgive yourself and focus on doing what you can do to take care of you, even if it’s putting away the bag of potato chips, or saying “No” to the cookies.

The results will be worth it.

Together we can do it!

 

Photo by Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Accountability

Accountability for December 28, 2011

After falling into the cookies, on December 20, I committed to being accountable through the New Year to you Fabulous Readers about my diet and exercise as I recover from surgery.

Had my first post-surgery appointment with the doctor yesterday and he confirmed that I am recovering remarkably well. He even expressed surprise at how well I’m doing! I attribute this to the power of a positive mind-set, minding the doctor’s instructions to walk and drink lots of water, and eating well most of the time. As my accountability posts attest, perfection is not required for fabulous results!

I have permission to slowly go back to my regular workouts. My body will let me know if I am doing too much.

Did get in all my walks yesterday, and ate clean until we joined friends for dinner and drinks. I splurged a bit on two drinks, a few bites of my husband’s French fries (they were worthy!), a couple of bites of the macaroni and cheese appetizer, and a bite of peanut butter pie. All in all, I think I did pretty darn well.

Did stay up probably a little too late (thus the tardiness of my posts this morning), which I think contributed to the headache I went to bed with last night, but I feel great this morning!

Looking forward to getting a gentle workout in today, as well as a couple of walks!

 

Are you making New Year’s Resolutions and have a goal on which you would like to be held accountable? Feel free to use the comment space on each of my accountability blogs, and I will cheer you on. Just let me know what your goal is, what you will be doing to meet it, and how often you will be reporting in.

 

Accountability

Aside

Accountability for December 27, 2011

After falling into the cookies, on December 20, I committed to being accountable through the New Year to you Fabulous Readers about my diet and exercise as I recover from surgery.

Was another day of eating clean. Only splurge was a tiny bite of a homemade peanut butter cookie that a merchant gave us. But I let my husband have the rest. Win! Also got in all four-doctor-prescribed walks, and upped my time and distance.

I go to the doctor today for my follow-up appointment. My expectation is to be able to report tomorrow that I am back to normal activities, or close to it!

 

Have a goal on which you would like to be held accountable? Feel free to use the comment space on each of my accountability blogs, and I will cheer you on. Just let me know what your goal is, what you will be doing to meet it, and how often you will be reporting in.