Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Holiday Motivational Tale

It's interesting how your priorities and what you're grateful for can shift so suddenly.

One of the things you have to do after major surgery these days is get injections of Lovenox to prevent blood clots. (Nice topic, I know, but bear with me.) They send you home from the hospital with a box of ten which you have to give yourself in the stomach. Oh yeah - it sucks. They burn, you can't find a new place to stick one, and while I have plenty of meat on my other bones, I am really lean in my midsection which makes it even worse. I dreaded these damn things. I was so thrilled when I finished the box! Woohoo!

Things that seemed so important before the surgery (finding someone to date, getting more speaking engagements, etc.) are not so important now. Now all I want is to recover, to get back to where I was. To be able to do my five mile walk and drive my car.

What does this have to do with you?

Ah-ha! I am going to be the Ghost of Christmas past for you. Think of your past - what decisions did you make about your health (or relationships or finances or work - you can pick your problem area) that impacted your present? I'm going to use health for this example. Let's visit the past.

There you are standing at the holiday party drinking like a fish with one hand and eating like a mad person with the other. The next day it's cold and you have a hangover so you don't workout. It's cold for the next three months, so you quit working out entirely. You keep eating and drinking a lot because it's the holidays - Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, St. Patty's Day, Easter, your birthday...... (Remember insert any problem behavior - you keep spending because there are such good after Christmas sales, the new styles are coming out, you have to have it, etc. etc.)

Now we have the Ghost of Christmas Present. All your bad health decisions have caught up to you. You can't enjoy playing with the grandkids because you get winded after about three seconds. You don't feel like decorating because your back and knees hurt so much. After all, you haven't stretched in the past ten years. You don't want to go to any holiday parties because none of your clothes fit anymore. (Finances - you can't buy any presents because your credit cards are maxed out. You can't have the family over to your house for Christmas because you can't afford to. You can't buy a ticket to go see them for the same reason. You are celebrating without them. Maybe you have so much clutter you are embarrassed to invite anyone over.)

Ah - the horrifying Ghost of Christmas to Come. You are in the hospital and your family is in the waiting room. The Doctor comes out to talk with them. He says, "Things would have gone much better if your mother had been a little healthier. The high cholesterol, the diabetes, her lack of any type of physical activity made the procedure much more difficult. She's going to have a very long and painful recovery. I hope you all are up to it." You are in terrible pain and are now a burden on your family. Because you weren't exercising before you don't want to start now (it's a heck of a lot harder when you're in pain). You are dependent and crabby. Family visits less and less.

Play out your area of weakness - want to lose your home? Keep living beyond your means. Want your relationships to go south? Keep putting your family and friends last.

I'm not trying to depress you - I'm trying to wake you up!!! Everyday since the surgery I am so grateful I put in all those hours of exercise. I can tell how difficult this recovery would be for someone in poor health. Look at the recession - it hammered so many people because they had been living beyond their means for years. What do you want your Christmas to Come to be? Do you want to feel great? Do you want to be surrounded by friends and family? Do you want to head out to the tropics? Start making the changes that will have those results IMMEDIATELY. The future is a result of the actions we take today, and little actions today have a huge impact over time.

Guess that won't fit on the inside of a Dove wrapper. Martha's safe.


diane said...

actually it will... "what you do today, will shape your future!" but you gave enough examples to actually wake people up to DO something ;)

Denise Ryan said...

Diane - you are right! I'm waiting for the call from Dove - you are on the team when I get it! : )