Friday, January 27, 2012

Life Happens

I always intend to keep the blog updated regularly with news from WISEWOMAN, but something always seems to get in the way. For the last month, I have been working on our annual report and reapplication for funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Before that there was always another deadline or commitment.

As I sat down to write this blog post, it hit me. I have trouble finding time to write this blog, the same way our WISEWOMAN participants have trouble finding time to be healthy.

You know how it goes. When she is in your office, she has great intentions. She sets her goal, and she walks out the door ready to make it happen. Then, as the saying goes, “life happens.”

The car breaks down, so she can’t get to the store to buy healthy foods. Once the car is fixed, she doesn't have the money to buy the healthy foods.

She has to take care of her sick granddaughter, so she can’t get out and walk every day like she planned.

Her spouse gets laid off at work, and the added stress makes it too difficult to quit smoking.

How do you react when she tells you? Do you start offering suggestions of ways she could work on her goal in spite of her difficulties? Or, do you empathize with her, and validate how difficult her situation is?

What about your own life and all those good intentions you have that get pushed aside because “life happens?” Think about your own good intentions when you are talking to your WISEWOMAN participants. When she tells you about everything that gets in the way of meeting her goal, use it as an opportunity to express empathy, and then help support her self efficacy by being positive and encouraging her to keep trying. 

Remember, progress not perfection!