Progress happens every day but we don’t always see it till much further down the line. This can be frustrating when we’re ill. When we get newly diagnosed with a chronic illness, even if we’ve been having symptoms for a while, there’s a period of adjustment. This may include not being able to do things at the same level as before or having to work back up to them.
People always say take it one step at a time, but figuring out what that means to you will help. For some of us, it means setting realistic expectations and goals and a time limit to achieve them. Some work best with a more emotional approach if it feels good, do it, if it doesn’t, don’t. Some rely on outside recommendations from doctors of what’s achievable.
When you try to change too many things at once the rate of success decreases. This is the main reason crash or fad diets tend to leave people backsliding within a few weeks or months. Taking things one step at a time and forming new routines and habits is a process, but one that will be more likely to stick.
Start down by breaking down your morning routine. Set an alarm to wake up at the same time every day and get into the habit of not hitting snooze and putting your feet on the floor before you turn it off. That in itself is a step. Do that for 3 days in a row before you move onto your next step, whatever that may be. Do stretches in the morning, take your medication, shower each day, eat breakfast before you leave or get sucked into social media or work emails. Doing each thing consistently for a few days before adding something new is how your brain comes to form a routine. It also helps you figure out what beneficial and what’s not possible with your illness. Once your morning is solid move on to other habits you’d like to incorporate throughout your day; Going to therapy, going to the gym, taking a moment to meditate, leaving work tasks at work, etc.
Remember that seeing progress takes time, but making progress happens every day.