I use recovering from a broken neck as an example of how to set a life goal to get through crisis or change.
In my last blog, I explained how to make an IMPACT goal Positive even when facing many fears.
It felt important to make the goal Action-focused, even though I spent a lot of time resting in order to heal.
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Is rest action?
Top of my list of actions was… ironically… rest!
Making my IMPACT Goal action-focused might seem contrary to the advice I received to rest.
In fact, rest was really the best really the best action that I could take.
Rather than procrastinating by resting, I was recovering and healing.
Being Forest Gump
One activity I could do was walk.
And boy, did I walk!
I felt like Forest Gump!
There’s a promenade near where I live where people congregate to walk by the sea – its flat and easy to walk on.
When I first got out of hospital, I walked slowly and tentatively.
I couldn’t see my feet because of my neck brace.
Gradually as I recovered, I picked up speed.
My dog, Luna, kept me company.
She would get me out three times a day.
I learnt that being mobile is a cornerstone to physical recovery.
It’s almost as though the body lubricates itself through movement.
And the release of endorphins and being out in the fresh air really helped me convalesce.
I decided early on that I would play detective and find as much about getting over my injury as possible.
I wasn’t going to lie back and let it dominate my life – I was going to dominate it!
One thing that recovering from a broken neck gave me was time to contact people.
I contacted medical friends, neurosurgeons, osteopaths, nutritionist, physios – literally any field that I felt could help.
Also, other people who experienced a similar injury, hoping to learn from their experience.
I wanted to recover and to find the best way to do do.
Some wonderful people helped me:
- Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, put me in touch with his Head Physio within a couple of hours of me contacting him unsolicited. It’s no wonder that his team is so devoted to him!
- Great Britain rugby league player, Alex Walmesley, is one big beefy guy. Scarily strong. Yet he provided my with the simplest and most useful advice: Rest, and your body will take care of the rest.
- Sherylle Calder, who helped coach England to their rugby world cup victory in 2003 gave me free access to her EyeGym application. It became a habit every day.
OK, so there’s a theme: many of these people are from rugby, both union and league.
It wasn’t the only sport that I contacted, but I think that rugby is a family – they welcome people in and look after them.
I knew that boredom was a risk.
And if I became bored, then I would become irritable, which is not ideal when I’m stuck at home alone in a neck brace.
The situation would make me want to scream!
By being Action-focused I could alleviate my boredom, because I set myself things to do.
For instance, I explored a new galaxy, working through the whole of the Star Wars saga!
Accepting the situation that I was in and allowing my mind to switch off helped.
I wasn’t allowed to work – my company had a duty of care and wouldn’t let me – so I accepted this and entered a kind of comatose state.
I accepted that what would be would be and that I would face the world once I was out of my neck brace.
In my next blog, I will share the how my IMPACT Goal was “Challenging”.
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