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5 Habits That Helped Me Work Towards Becoming My 'Best' Self With Illness

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Here’s the deal: I know having a chronic condition can be tough. Not only do you have to manage your health and symptoms, you also have to manage your expectations when things aren’t going the way you wanted. Sometimes the thought of getting through it all is exhausting in itself. I think our everyday habits can make or break our quality of life. For me, trying to change my habits helped change my life, and allowed me to find a fulfilling relationship.

There are certain habits to try and cultivate that can change the vibe you are putting out there. And from my experience, the better vibe you have, the more likely you’ll be able to attract the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. What are the habits of those who have health conditions and seem to “have it all?” And more so, what habits can you create to become the very best version of yourself?

I believe if you can see it in your mind, you can create it in your life. Here are five habits for success I’ve set for myself, and ones you may want to try too.

1. Ask yourself the “big” questions, such as:

What do I want my life to be like?
What do I want my life to feel like?
Who do I want to surround myself with?
What do I want to learn?

Take some time to explore these questions, jotting down what comes to you. Don’t overthink it. Just focus on what feels right for you. Create attractive habits for yourself.

2. Take daily action.
The women who seem to “have it all” tend to take action towards the futures they want. The steps don’t have to be big or outlandish. For me, it comes down to doing small things every day, consistently, en route to my goals. For example, when you wake up for the day, ask yourself what you want to accomplish by the time you go back to bed. And then try and take steps to achieve it.

If it takes you longer because you have a bad health day, that’s OK. Focus on progress, not perfection.

3. Stay committed to your own growth.

Take the time to commit to creating new habits and behaviors that bring you closer to your goals. Life is a journey. You will never have it all figured out; there will always be setbacks or things that change. The thing is, this should be comforting because none of us have it figured out. I’m learning as I go and I’m OK with that. Be wary of anyone trying to sell you anything or convince you of anything by sharing they know it “all.” They don’t.

Listen to music, read books, attend seminars, play podcasts, and follow only those people and programs that inspire you and empower you.

If it doesn’t help you grow or bring you peace, don’t pay it much attention.

4. Stay connected to a supportive group of people.

The most successful spoonies I know proactively identify the people they want to connect with. Personally, every year I create a list of 52 names of influencers, advisors, and inspirational people I want to get to know. And once a week, I pick a name on that list and reach out via social media or through email. Sure, they don’t always respond. Many times, they do. My book became an international best seller because of this strategy.

I was spending months out of the year in the hospital, and rather than watching television, I decided to get on LinkedIn and learn from people I wanted to emulate. After dozens of interviews, I looked at the information and decided it needed to be a book. I didn’t have the budget, the writing ability, or the structure. Step by step though, I figured out what to do. And if it weren’t for my dream list of connections, you wouldn’t be reading this today.

Try to create a list of people (however many you’d like) in the next few weeks you want to reach out to and get to know better. First, write your plan. Then work your plan. Habits for success include intentionally finding your plan and then working your plan daily. Part of that, for me, is writing out my intentions.

5. Be in service.
If you can, volunteer in your community for charities or programs that reinforce your values. Look for ways to give back. They can be as simple as complimenting a stranger, sharing love, or practicing self-love.

Try to make it a point to align yourself with a charity or cause that inspires you and gives you hope during the tough and challenging days. Some of my favorite charities include The Front Row Foundation, which is on a mission to help those facing life-threatening conditions by creating uplifting and life-giving moments through once-in-a-lifetime experiences at home.

Another favorite of mine is the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation, which gifts athletic grants to those with cystic fibrosis to pursue any activity they choose.

Try and pick up one of these habits for success and integrate it into your life for 21 days. For me, the “trick” to dating and living a fulfilling life with chronic illness is to work towards being the best version of yourself. It’s not easy. I know from experience. It wasn’t until I did the work on myself, that I met my fiancé. I’m still working on myself and of course, always will be.

This story originally appeared on Sickly Confidential

Originally published: October 27, 2020
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