By Rondi Bauer Olson
We write because we love words, stories, and touching people’s lives. We write because we can’t stop, and because it is God’s calling on our lives. Unfortunately, working as a writer can have some unhealthy side-effects. Vision problems and headaches from staring at a screen all day, carpel tunnel, and worst of all, for many of us, living a sedentary lifestyle. Behind in seat, right? That’s how you finish a book, but sitting all day is one of the highest risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Last year, my New Year’s goal was to increase my activity to at least 5,000 steps a day. Now, I am a registered nurse, and when I worked on the floor, I had no problem walking more than five miles a day, running up and down halls, but when I moved to a desk job, along with writing, I often logged in less than 3,000 steps a day. I was horrified my activity level had fallen from active to sedentary, but there were only so many hours in a day. I knew I had to get better at exercising, but somehow wasn’t able to do what I knew I should.
Ironically, my job as a chronic care nurse manager is to help people make healthy lifestyle changes. Watching my patients improve their health while not being able to make any changes myself was very frustrating, but the idea came to me that maybe I should use the same techniques I use at work on myself. So for 2019 I wrote myself a Self-Management Action Plan, using these steps:
- What change would you like to make?
For me it was increasing my activity to at least 5,000 steps a day.
- On a scale from 1-10, how confident are you that you will be able to achieve this goal?
I wasn’t very confident, only a 4, because last year I’d made the same goal and had largely failed.
- What are the challenges to achieving your goal?
Doing a desk job at work now, coming home and writing, which is also sedentary.
- What do you think you could do?
Well, I get a 15 minute break in the AM, a 30 minute lunch, and a 15 minute break in the afternoon. I could walk the halls at our office for the breaks, and when I get home, I could write an hour, then walk for 5 minutes, then write again.
- How confident are you that you could do that?
If you are confident at a 7 or higher, you are likely to actually be able to make that change. If you aren’t highly confident, readjust the goal until your confidence level is at least a 7, and more likely than not you will succeed.
So how has it worked for me? Fantastic! I have made my 5,000 step goal almost every day this month, and a pleasant side effect has been a little bit of weight loss.
One thing I have learned as a chronic care nurse manager is that while a few people need more information regarding their disease, most people are highly educated, and know more about their condition than I do. Like my patients, writers are smart people. We know what we should do to improve our health. Knowledge, however, often isn’t enough to help us make the necessary lifestyle changes. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to failure and discouragement. Making a Self-Management Action Plan can help by breaking larger goals into smaller pieces, and really works.
What does it mean to you to be healthy? How has working as a writer impacted your health? What steps could you take today to move towards a healthier lifestyle?How to meet your 2019 health goals as a writer @rondiolson #ACFWBlogs #amwriting #healthy #walking #writing Click To Tweet
Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader, writer, and animal wrangler from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her debut novel for young adults, All Things Now Living, was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest and is available at major online retailers. Find Rondi at website, www.rondiolson.com, on Facebook, www.facebook.com/rondibauerolsonauthor or Instagram, www.instagram.com/rondibauerolson.