The Health Responsibility Jar

When your health is optimal, life is VERY good!

For most of us, being able to jump in the air like the young lady in the picture makes us cringe a bit inwardly, doesn’t it?

She looks way too happy, too flexible and frankly, my recovering rotator cuff (I named it ‘Bertha’) is making weird twinges of achiness in my right shoulder. Pure, old-fashioned jealousy.

That familiar phrase, Your health is your wealth pretty much sums up what we all know but not many of us follow through on it. Why is that?

There are a lot of reasons: We’re too busy. We’re too tired. We’re too lazy. We’re too ill. We’re too overwhelmed with other responsibilities.

I recently learned from a highly successful online entrepreneur that an excuse is equivalent to being a well-planned lie. When I heard that I thought, “Wow, this guy’s pretty blunt.” But then i began looking at my own life and how since childhood, I have always struggled with the ongoing siege of childhood obesity. It lead to yo-yoing between the latest diet fads, then back to regular diet and exercise, then not eating healthy at all and then sometimes eating better with some physical activity.

Still, the weight fluctuated. Sometimes I lost and sometimes I gained. It got worse when I had surgery and took 2 months off work to recover. I gained ALOT of weight. And mind you, I had lost close to 50 pounds about 4 years ago when my fiance and I (now husband) traveled back to Hawaii to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.


What the heck was wrong with me?

I had other chronic conditions on top of my weight struggles: diabetes and high-blood pressure. I also had aches and pains, less mobility and flexibility. Yeah, I was a basic hot mess.

But I knew how important it was to stop hiding behind the excuses if I wanted results. But first thing had to learn was PATIENCE with myself. I was recovering from shoulder surgery. I was told even before I went in the procedure the post-op would be a long, at times painful road to recovery.

I had to PREPARE myself mentally. Nothing like actually going thru something to test your mental preparation. It was all true: after the nerve-block anesthesia wore off, Bertha hated me and reminded every day with her pain. I had to ice that shoulder 24-7. I had to sleep in a recliner. I couldn’t bathe until after 72 hours but I was in such pain, I remained smelly and stinky for the first week before I could even get into the tub.

I had to use a shower chair. I had to rely on my husband to be my care-giver to clean me up and dress me all the while moving that right arm hurt like hell and I hated it every minute of it. Even though my husband was patient, loving and gentle and supportive. I hated relying on him. I hated not depending on myself. I hated being limited.

I wanted better results YESTERDAY. However, just like dealing with my weight issues, results take time but they don’t happen if there’s no plan. I had no strategy to bring about those results except I knew physical therapy would be involved. I had to figure out a plan I was willing to commit to and work that plan consistently for however long it took.

This guy makes it look easy but these are some of the exercises I am now doing being over 5 months out from surgery. But I use resistant bands. I also use weights of not more than 3# to strengthen my shoulder muscles. I also do a lot of stretches, push-ups against the walls and these cat-cow stretches to maximize improving the strength in my back muscles.

Overall, I am doing much better. I am about 75% overall recovery but I have ONE major challenge left: getting my shoulder rotation so i can reach behind my back. That is my obstacle right now. I can barely reach the backside of my hip.

But I am determined because I’m not alone in this: I have the support of my physical therapists; I am committed to do my home physical therapy exercises they teach me when I’m not at the clinic and I’ll be damned if Bertha is going to get the better of me because physically, I still have limits on that shoulder.

My decisions, not the conditions, will determine my destiny. In this case, my decisions will determine how my health is optimized.

One thing I have recently added was to acknowledge that the way I look and feel today physically were the results of many decisions I made a year ago, two years ago, a decade ago. If I wanted to change that, I needed to change how I made my decisions. I needed to create small, bite-able action steps that would support those decisions to bring about a different outcome.

Enter the Health Responsibility Jar.

It actually was created from a homework assignment on a 28-day online course developed by motivational coach Lisa Nichols. One of the areas I wanted to improve on, obviously, was my health.

So the Health Responsibility Jar came out of a need for me to make a change in what I am doing so I can get exercise daily and be accountable for it. Since my shoulder has been improving, my strength has been coming back and I have been able to walk at least 5,000 steps or more using my pedometer as a guide.

What I learned was that I didn’t always hit the 5,000 steps and during really hectic days at work, I could easily reach 10,000 steps or more which is about 5 miles. I also noticed that I could hit 10,000 steps or more at least 3-4 times a week. Not bad, right?

So why not try to aim for it DAILY? Crazy thought, but hey, I don’t think average thoughts. In fact, sometimes I didn’t like the way my thoughts would take me to some far-fetched goal that is probably doable but in my undisciplined mind, I put it out of the way so I could avoid reaching for greatness. It was too hard.

But my desire to overcome my life-long battle with weight struggles overrode the side of me that didn’t want to put forth the effort. Just like how I am determined to not let Bertha be a mediocre, half-lame shoulder.

So yesterday, I took an unused, pretty, blue ceramic jar and dubbed it my Health Responsibility Jar. The goal is to walk 10,000 steps minimum each day. If I do not hit that goal, I put a $1 to the jar. My husband thinks its a good idea but will I stick to it? He knows my track record is famous for starting and quitting projects or goals when it gets too tough.

So accountability comes into play. Do I have what it takes to see this thru the next 28 days?

I will let you know when I blog about it here on May 4th!