The beginning of May I participated in the Change Your Life Challenge hosted by my friend Gina Hunt. She is the brains behind Finally Make the Change. Gina was a corporate trainer for years and on the side self-studied psychology, specifically the psychology of change.
All challengers met as a group each day of the challenge to discuss the topic du jour. Every day was focused on a new nugget of knowledge that we could use to strengthen our resolve to achieve a goal.
Going into the challenge I knew I wanted to do something with fitness with a focus on my walk, but I was not sure what. It turns out that was perfectly fine because day one was all about defining your WHAT. Gina gave us questions to ask ourselves to help us define our goal. Ultimately I decided that my goal would be to do 20 minutes of PT a day for the rest of May.
Doing PT has been a perpetual challenge to me ever since I got misdiagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 12. I know I need to do my PT and I know it is the building block for me to do all other exercise I actually enjoy doing- BUT- I hate doing PT! There is nothing enjoyable or rewarding about it. I feel no level of achievement when I am done. There is nothing to brag about either. There is no accumulation of sweat, significant burning of calories, or bulging of muscles that comes from doing PT exercises- at least not the ones I have been assigned over the years. Usually after doing my PT I feel mentally exhausted with a deflation to my confidence. When your PT includes things like standing on two feet with your eyes closed for two minutes and you cannot manage 10 seconds without touching something, or doing ankle circles and try as you might your foot just cannot get around 3 o’clock, you feel a bit demoralized in the end.
Regardless of how doing PT makes me feel I need to do it. What better time to start than with this challenge?! With Gina’s help I was able to reflect on myself and examine what I need to focus on to achieve not only this goal, but ANY goal I set my mind to. Two of the biggest things that helped me were focusing on my WHY and both writing down when I did my work and when I did not and why I did not. Reflecting on why I failed helped me so that the next day I don’t repeat my behavior.
My why’s included:
You need to do everything in your power to prevent your gait worsening.
You do not want to look back on this time and regret NOT doing this work
When I shared my why’s with Gina she let me know that it is good to use your FEAR as motivation. For the most part I stayed on top of my goal and I did not tap into my fear for motivation, but I think I need to explore what I fear about my disease, how it affects me now, and how it could affect me in the future. I have come to a place of acceptance and I cannot let it become one of complacence.
My month went OK. It was not perfect, but most days I got my 20 minutes in, and sometimes more, marked my calendar, and detailed my activity. On days I missed the next day I wrote why. there was one week I missed three days. That same week I was up past midnight working most days of the week. Does that mean I was glued to my laptop for 16 hours each day? No. I made choices during the day that forced me to have to stay up late to finish my work. I could have made my 20 minutes happen, but I did not.
Doing different PT exercises each day also allowed me to reflect on which exercises seem to offer the most benefit. Granted, I know that accumulation of work is beneficial, but I think as I continue this work I will have a better understanding of which combination of exercises I benefit from the most.
There is one thing Gina taught me that I have yet to put into practice: reward yourself. Gina recommended that for every seven days you meet your goal to treat yourself to something that you find rewarding. Finally my last week of my challenge I managed to stick it out for all seven days in a row without skipping. I have earned a reward… now just to define my what!