I keep telling my patients, day in and day out, how it’s always about the little things – a.k.a the 10-minute exercise routine rather than an hour which feels like an impossible mountain after years of not having exercised; or one glass of water per meal rather than suddenly ten.
It’s always the little things, that’s a fact.
I’m now being reminded of it myself today when I think I want to write something important to share. Sometimes it takes more time and mental space to sit down and write, you know. But today after my last patient of the day, while sitting comfortably at me day job office, I’m reminded of the little things I can do as much as I tell them to do, so that we all can take first steps towards that which we want to make but we struggle to get started with.
My last patient today was key into my thoughts.
It all began during the general questionnaire when I asked her about her exercise habits. Behind some shy tears she tried to contain, multiples layers of chronic guilt and shame, and with a mildly broken voice she shared how she used to be a swimmer and now she’s swimming in obesity instead.
«The little things matter, I said. The brain knows and the body reacts nicely and quickly to your actions. It’s the little things today that will take you a long way.» Her shy tears tried to hide but they couldn’t. The could only poke out of one of her eyes, then the other…
Her voice broke but her will was stronger deep down. I just knew. My words came out quickly not only as encouragement but as a challenge for her, making her smile and laugh in surprise to my enthusiasm.
«That makes sense! Specially because I was reading about this topic just this week and how the body can start already changing even with small changes.» I absolutely agreed. Her gratitude towards those short 20 minutes of consultation made my day absolutely worth every second. If she took a smile and a piece of advice that feels doable starting today, then my job is done. And this is what I try to do and repeat every day with each person that comes across my door.
It’s all about the little things. And also about sticking to the present.
I used to write in this blog a lot about the difficult tasks, about the struggles, the pains of life, and it helped me but never enough to keep me going after a while. Because it’s always time to start focusing on the present and not on who you used to be or what you used to do. Like my patient who was sweating ex-swimmer shame with every word and every look.
Those words sit down heavily in the bottom of your soul as a heavy guilt layer more than anything. Yet guilt disappears the minute you start doing something about that thing, in the present.
My own words and work went out there and back, to remind me of the true power of the small things. Of words. Of encouragement and more. My enthusiasm for her, my teary patient, made her leave with a desire to make a change, to try something new so she could get different and better results. It took a few more minutes to make a difference, and to immediately make me want to come and write.
Oh the beauty of inspiring others and feeling inspired too. This must be the true reason behind this all: helping each other. If I was ever only born to become a doctor and writer for this one purpose, then be it.
And today, in this present, is when I chose to start. If words are the secret pill to my health recipes, then be it.
Today. And every day. Again and again.
(Image Credit: Google Images)