I keep a small dry erase board in the bathroom; it has small sections for the days of the week and a magnet that can be moved as each day passes. This is my goal chart.

On it, I chart four things: exercise, daily step goals, self-care, and work. I keep a few little notes on the bottom of each day to remind me what I want to work on over and above these things. I work from home, and I wanted to put these things in a place where my mind would be on them. I know if I complete these four tasks each weekday, I can go to sleep at night happy with what I’ve accomplished during the course of the day.

My exercise includes stretches and leg-strengthening; these not only help me work on keeping my flexibility in my nifty new wish-it-was-bionic knee joint, but prepares the other knee for replacement. The step goals help me with endurance and walking a bit further each week. Self-care includes my practice time for orchestra as well as reading; things that restore me. And, of course, work is work — I have clients and projects to move forward.


Every single one of these goals is an investment in the future. I do them on faith; I trust that they move me toward something better every single time I undertake them. I do them because I have the desire to be better than I am in this moment.

But I also do them because they’re each a celebration of the effort I’ve put in, to this point.

Every step, every stretch of a muscle or ligament, is a reminder that not so long ago, these things weren’t possible. Just last week, I answered questions online about visiting a resort in Mexico when I was in a wheelchair; while I could walk very short distances with a cane, the visit was a challenge because the resort’s wheelchair ramps were not exactly ADA-compliant. (She says, with a bit of a wink.) Walking with no assistance is a gift, and my continued use of that gift only improves as time goes on.

The same holds true for just about everything in my life, these days; yes, I know I’ve beaten the things-are-so-much-better-now topic to death, but they really are. Every single thing in my life has benefited from the core desire to improve my health. Things you wouldn’t think about, like feeling more focused when working. Or having better lung capacity when playing an instrument.

It’s a package deal, and just like a bank account, the more I put into it, the more I get out of it. In the occasional small moments, I still would rather just sit around and do nothing for a while; and sure, we all need these moments of restoration, but these days, that’s just a small part of the package deal, rather than pulling back from doing things because they’re difficult or painful.

This gift means I can look forward to things I thought were lost to me; hiking, occasionally dancing, looking forward to things like riding a bike again, scuba diving, or riding a spinnaker sail. The lower in weight you are, the more you’re likely to fly! I no longer see these things as something to just get through — not when they allow me to participate instead of sitting on the sidelines and envying those who can do them.


(I took the video, below, while sailing in Mexico. That is NOT ME flipping off that spinnaker!)


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