Thursday, September 11, 2014

What motivates me?

I have been asked multiple times how I stay on track and compliant. What is my biggest motivation? How do I talk myself into doing the breathing treatments and workouts? What gets me going everyday? So I have decided to take those questions and use them to fuel a post.

As many of you know, I have really struggled with being compliant with my treatments in the past. It has truly been one of my biggest obstacles when it comes to taking care of myself. I always hated them as I was growing up... so much so that when I moved away for college, I pretty much stopped doing them altogether. That took a huge toll on me. It hurt my lungs and lung function, but it also made it that much easier for me to talk myself out of doing treatments. It has been quite the uphill battle ever since.

I started trying to be 100% compliant on multiple occasions only to fail after 20, 30, or 50 days. When I set my resolution this year to be 100% compliant in 2014, I knew this attempt would be different. I was going to be successful, and so far, I have been. I am on day 254, which means that I have not missed a treatment since before January 1, 2014.

So what was the difference this time? People have always told me that you have to work towards your goals for yourself or it won't work. If you don't do it for yourself, you will never be able to maintain your goals. The problem was that this never seemed to work for me. For some reason, thinking of myself just really was not enough motivation for me to stay compliant with something that I really hate doing. I had to change my thinking to make this work.

I changed my approach. I started thinking about the people I love that would be affected by my health declining. I thought of my husband, my parents, my sister, my in-laws, and all of my friends who support me in every attempt I make at keeping my health up. I have seen so many people deal with the loss of a loved one, and I just couldn't bare the thought of causing that pain because of not trying.

I thought about the idea of starting a family in the future be that biologically or through adoption. For both of those to be a possibility, I have to be healthy. If I were to become a mom, I would definitely want to make sure to stick around as long as possible, and I can only do that by taking care of myself.

Thinking about others is how I got over the initial hump of being compliant. I struggled ever day to make myself get up early and do my morning treatments. I came home from a long day of teaching and made myself do that evening treatments. I had to remind myself daily why I was doing this. Who was I fighting for? Why was it so important? Why did I want to be miserable doing treatments?

After awhile, it started to take a turn... I have started doing it more for myself. I feel better than I have in a long time. A couple of weeks ago, I didn't get my morning treatment in until 11:00 am due to lack of time that morning when I had been used to getting it done at 5:00 am. I was blown away by the difference it made. I felt more congested and tired when I didn't get that treatment in first thing in the morning. These treatments open my lungs and get me ready for the day. I don't want to skip them anymore. (Of course, there are still days where I really struggle making myself start the treatment, but I am always glad I did it.) I still don't enjoy the time I spend doing my treatments, but I love the outcome.

Once I got the treatments under control, I really began focusing on the workout part of staying healthy. I began working with my trainer at the end of June. It was much easier motivating myself to go to the gym to kick some butt each time. I really enjoy working out, and I enjoy the results even more! Of course, it doesn't hurt that my trainer is great at motivating me to keep going even when I feel my lungs are closing up on me.

The key to becoming successful is to really find out what will motivate you, and take it one day at a time. It does eventually get easier. I still have to tell myself why I'm doing it, but it is not as hard to make myself start each treatment. The results of being compliant and working out are undeniable. In May, my FEV1 was 43%. In August, it was up to 47%! That in itself, is huge motivation to keep it up!