Small changes eventually turn into big changes. 5 years ago I was over 300lbs and wondering if I would ever function normally again. In two week's time, two massive diverticulitis flares perforated my colon to the point of nearly rupturing. This was a direct result of nearly a decade of poor choices in habits (sleep, nutrition, attitude, and lack of stress management). It has now been 5 years after that event. Currently, I am under 200lbs, my vitals (blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose levels) are the lowest they have been in 15 years. In January of this year, I finished my 3rd half marathon with my best time ever.
It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."
- Coach John Wooden
This is not meant to be a boast in accomplishment. It is an example to demonstrate 5 years of "small things" that eventually created these larger milestones. To overcome and improve, it took a decision to change, followed by plotting small goals to get to the larger one.
To be specific, these are the top 3 steps I used to make the change. I still use these to date,
1. DECIDE TO CHANGE - Nothing changes until you do. Intrinsic (self) motivation is the most effective type there is. When the doctors told me I needed to make changes or my health and quality of life were going to be in jeopardy, it got my attention. I found out right then there how much I wanted to have a quality life. That shifted my mindset right then.
2. PLOT THE COURSE - once the decision is made, write down a plan. It is important to write it down so you do not stray off course. This occurred in 3 stages for me. In the beginning, the goal was to heal the gut. As health improved, the goal became to shed more weight off to bring vitals (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc) out of an at-risk for disease level. The last goal was to sustain the good health that was restored. Once the goals were established, mini-goals were plotted. The mini goals will be explained in step #3.
3. TAKE ACTION - Actions display priority. For a nearly a year, my diet was very strict in order to promote healing. Smooth foods (easily digestible) with no added sodium or sugars were consumed. Homemade soups and freshly juiced fruits and vegetables were staples . As my gut began to heal, I was able to return to more solid foods.
Sleep and rest became priorities. Anything not deemed, "priority", such as work, was eliminated from the schedule. Sleep and rest were key pieces to healing and that took priority. Prior to the incident I would consume up to three 16oz. "energy drinks" a day. Caffeine was dropped completely for a year. After pinpointing it, one of the most surprising contributors to elevated stress (and potential diver flares) was sources of negativity. These sources can be places and people's attitude. If an environment was a constant source of negativity, I found it best for my motivation and physical health to remove myself from those areas. I still do that to do this day and my overall health has flourished for it.
In terms of physical activity, there was very little I could do in the beginning. Low impact exercise 1-2 times a week was all that I could physically do at first. Walking a treadmill at 1.0 speed for 10 minutes was it. Even doing that, it was quite painful due to breaking up abdominal scar tissue. However, something was better than nothing. I was not going to get any better lying in bed all the time. It was a stress reliever and eventually, with the rest and nutritional focus combined, the capacity to do more exercise came.
Consistency was the key. Consistency in all phases, nutrition, rest, activity, and stress management is what made the continual progression occur. Eventually, all of my goals were accomplished
How Can This Apply To You?
These steps can be applied to nearly any situation. In the work setting, make a goal to be better at
Once you have decided to truly set your mind and keep it set, you can overcome and accomplish any challenge. You must first CHOOSE to.