When I graduated from college (the first time) my first grown up job was working for a Boiler Room type call center. It was a realtor self-improvement seminar company. They would go from city to city teaching Realtors how to improve their sales. My job was to cold call realtors and put butts in seminar seats. It was as bad as it sounds. 

However, once you washed away all the unsavory elements of the job, the tried and true self-improvement principles were all there: goal setting, positive mindset, networking, mentoring, self-motivation, etc.

What I quickly learned was that hardly anyone outside of my job was supportive of the idea. What was so wrong about wanting to improve my quality of life? Even my own parents chalked it up to me being full of piss and vinegar of youth (my words, not theirs). Needless to say, I was more than a little disheartened by the reactions I received.

As an RN clinical care manager, I run into people every day that desire to improve some aspect of their life. Their support systems are almost non-existent. What’s worse, they have friends and family actively reinforcing self-destructive behaviors.

You can start your diet tomorrow.

We’re going to out now, you’ll have to work out later.

That’s a stupid idea, you’ll never succeed.

Almost immediately, the moment we decide to make positive changes, we can be bombarded with negativity from all sides. It’s no shock many people don’t reach their goals in this type of environment. What other options are there?

If you routinely keep in touch with your PCP’s office, you may already have a cheerleader with a medical background that can help guide and encourage positive life changes. Your PCP’s office has a vested interest in improving you. Want to lose weight? That’s going to positively affect several areas of your health. Want to address some negative behaviors and learn effective ways of coping? That’s going to improve your mentation, depression, and anxiety. Want to finally get a hold of your (enter diagnosis here)? Again, that’s going to improve your health and future quality of life. The sooner these things are done, the better the quality of life is on the back end. All of these improvements reduce health care costs.

The lingering challenge people looking to make positive changes experience are when they don’t eliminate some of the negative elements in their life. This can be friends (frenemies?), family, poor diet, negative affirmations, lack of physical activity, dead end jobs, and so on. If they are unwilling to have a candid discussion about eliminating these negative influences, the next best thing is to minimize them.

Some ideas:

  • Utilize your PCP’s clinical care manager to increase your awareness and access to community resources
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Engage in fulfilling activities of interest, preferably with other people who are in your position or have succeeded in reaching their goals that can help/encourage you
  • Simple meditation to give yourself the clarity you need to systematically address your life challenges
  • Eat more nutritious plant-based, whole-foods (avoid processed foods and foods high in saturated/trans fats)
  • Increase physical activity

If you do one or all of these things, there will be a noticeable improvement in how you feel. Once you get that ball rolling, each successive challenge becomes easier to overcome. You will start attracting other positive people and that loneliness will begin to fade.

-Nurse David