I use recovering from a broken neck as an example of how to set a life goal to get through crisis or change.
As well as being Challenging, you should set a Time-focused goal.
But what happens when you’ve got a medical issue that is open ended?
If you would like to discuss your own goals, then get in contact with me:Contact us
“Be a patient patient”
One of my best friends, a surgeon, told me to “be a patient patient”.
That’s hard in this world of quick fixes and fast fulfilment.
I had to take a step back and accept my situation.
Interestingly this has been made a bit harder by people tell me that I must be frustrated, or it must be so difficult.
Sometimes, when in a crisis, it’s easier to just accept the situation and go with the flow.
This is the right way to make this a Time-focused goal, since I could not guarantee that my recovery would take place by a defined time.
A step back
I had a blow at my six-week appointment with my neurosurgeon.
I hoped he would say that my neck brace could come off after eight weeks.
Instead, he emphasised how serious my injury was and said that he would look at it again after ten to twelve weeks.
He didn’t rule out surgery which frightened me.
When setting a Time-focused goal, you need to be flexible to take into account changes and steps back.
Accidents happen…so take time to be prepared.
What most surprised me about my accident was when the man who I asked to call an ambulance replied, “What’s the number?”
In the UK, the emergency number is well known – 999 – yet both he and the next person I spoke to didn’t know it.
It’s become the punchline to the story that I tell, yet underneath it there’s an important message about us all knowing what to do in an emergency.
The people who helped me as I waited for the ambulance didn’t know that the most important thing with a neck injury is to keep still.
They kept encouraging me to move, even if that was to sit down.
Am I sure I would act differently if the circumstances were reversed?
To make myself better prepared, I took time to learn about more about emergency response and first aid.
Here’s a start:
Take time to be visible
I swim in the open sea regularly and assumed that if someone saw me waving from the water that they would know that I was in distress.
I was not far into the sea on a crowded beach, yet when I waved for help, no one came.
This is a lesson for me and will help me take time to make precautions when sea swimming.
Basic things like swimming with others, increasing my visibility and letting people know where I am swimming increase my safety.
Use recovery to connect, reflect and relax
I am an active and driven person.
Before my accident, I was swimming a mile in the sea each day and playing tennis several times a week.
Then, bang, everything changed.
After my accident, I needed to stop and take stock.
This meant a lot of time to reflect.
And with reflection came humility.
I went from having no time to having as much time as I wanted.
At the same time, what I could do was limited, so I focused on connecting, reflecting and relaxing.
I was told to “get out of the way of my body recovering” and to stop if I felt pain.
Initially, I slept a lot.
Then I started to read.
Then I started to spend time learning.
At each stage there was plenty of time to reflect.
And to connect with people.
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