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...Let's Talk Possibility!

August 9th, 2012 |
Health & Fitness, Emotional Support, Survivorship

by tambre | Supporter: Hodgkin's Lymphoma    Connect

Given everything you've gone through and the challenges that have come from your experience with cancer, do you know what's possible for you right now? Read on to find out what small changes you could make to feel less stressed and more energized.

First, a brief lesson in chemistry. When you combine different substances, they react to create an outcome. But if you alter just one part of the equation in the tiniest way, the outcome will be different. A change in one area creates a ripple effect, which facilitates changes in other areas. So, what does this mean for you? It means that you should never underestimate the power of making a single small change in one area of your life.

One small step can make big changes.

For example, adding in regular exercise can improve mood, sleep, nutrition, self-confidence and more. I have found that when my coaching clients make manageable changes in areas that stress them out, they experience many changes, including:

  • Having more physical energy
  • Feeling more peaceful
  • Being more patient in relationships
  • Quieting the inner critic
  • Sleeping better
  • Making more conscious choices
  • Having more fun in life

Figuring out which change to make first is often easier said than done, so I am here to help you decide where to start!

5 Steps to Help Create Your Possibility

1. Make Your Top 10 List. Start by writing down a list of your top ten wellness and survivorship goals. It may help to think of the different aspects of your life, for example:

  • Physical & Emotional Wellbeing
  • Work/Career
  • Social
  • Family
  • Fun & Enjoyment
  • Finances

2. Baby Steps to Sustainable Change. Now, review your list from Step #1. Let's start with just one of these goals. What is the one goal you know would reduce your stress and give you more energy? Write it down. For example, I know that if I start to add exercise into my routine, it would be possible to have more peace knowing I'm working toward improving my health to the best of my possibility

3. From "Should Do" to "Choose To." There is often an expectation your life should return to normal when treatment ends (as I wrote about in my last post, "Screw Hope"). Often survivorship care plans given out by oncology teams include a lot of "should"s - you should exercise, you should eat better, you should focus on the positive, and so on. But "should"s are not inspiring.

Since you know including regular exercise* would be beneficial for you, find a way to incorporate it so it is fun, engaging and something you can choose to do instead of forcing yourself. Rewrite your goal using the following sentence construction: "I choose to ____________________." It's good to be specific, so include measurable results, such as number of times per week.

4. It's a marathon, not a sprint. When changing a behavior or beginning a new routine, start with more reasonable goals and complete them consistently over time. For example, choosing to walk for twenty minutes a day every other day, rather than planning to work out at the gym two hours a day as if you were training for the big game, is more sustainable.

5. Get Support. Having someone you can check in with regularly helps to keep you on track. Find someone who will take a walk with you, or remind you to do so. Set up a system that works for both of you- either regular phone calls, emails or texts stating what your commitment is and checking in when it's done.

Now start asking the right questions.

If you combine the right substances and follow those steps, you'll be on your way to create the outcome that you want -- and you'll be the chemist of your own life! So, "screw hope" and consider what's possible. I invite you to answer two questions in the comments below:

1. Where in your life can you create a new possibility right now?
2. What is the first step that will you take?

I'll be checking in to answer questions or share coaching tools to help if you get stuck, because I believe in the power of possibility!

*as always, check first with your physician before beginning an exercise program and consult an exercise specialist to design something that is right for where you are right now.

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tambre's picture
Tambre Leighn, MA, CPC, ELI-MP is a certified professional coach and founder of Well Beyond Ordinary, who helps cancer survivors and caregivers find the energy to go from surviving to thriving and beyond. Her personal experience caregiving for her late husband inspired Tambre to become a coach, a Stakeholder for the American Cancer Society’s Peer Grant Review Committee, a leading health advocate and blogger, and to co-create Well Beyond This, a coaching based online program for cancer survivors to help them thrive with, through, and beyond cancer. Read more about her story here.