Staying Motivated

Cystic fibrosis (CF) has a high burden of care and big expectations to remain motivated in the treatment regime. For many people with CF it’s very difficult to maintain what sometimes seems relentless treatment.

As children a lot of motivation comes from our parents, however at some stage it’s important to self-motivate; owning our own goals and desire to make things happen.

Here are some effective motivation strategies which can help us remain motivated, even when we are just “over it” and find it really difficult to stay on track.

Set Goals

Set goals that are important to you.  Sometimes things can feel too big or just overwhelming.  Setting goals will help break things down into manageable parts and assist in making things happen.

Start with a list of 5 things you enjoy. Identifying some of your key strengths will help you achieve your goals. Similarly, make a list of 5 things that you don’t want, turning them around to become goals e.g. “I don’t want to spend my days at home, not working” into “I want a good job that is flexible and that I enjoy” or if work is difficult at the moment “I want to do things that make me feel good about myself, such as…..”

The goal needs to be:

  • Realistic e.g. know your own body, its strengths and limits. Speak to your medical team if unsure and develop a plan
  • Specific e.g. “I aim to be my ideal weight which is…”
  • Time frame and end point e.g. “each day/week I will do… and at 3 months I will reach my goal”

Set Sub Goals

If it’s a larger goal such as saving money and staying healthy enough to travel, it’s important to break it up, having a plan of action to achieve the ultimate goal.  Celebrate small successes.

Make a Plan of Action

  • Write down your sub goals and keep them in a place where you can see them
  • Include a time frame for each small goal, including a deadline to prevent putting things off or forgetting your goal
  • Choose goals that interest you. Positive motivation is easier to work for when you genuinely want to achieve something
  • Reframe goals that don’t interest you and find a goal within something that does interest you. g. physio is really boring and time consuming, but it keeps me healthy and I need to be healthy to go on that great trip overseas.
  • Tell your friends, make your goals public. Then you’ve made a public promise to do something. You may also get support to achieve your goals
  • Track your progress. You can use a visual chart, diary, bank statement or something similar to help motivate you to achieve your goals
  • Break up your goals. It’s easier to start small and build up to bigger challenges. This also helps build your confidence for bigger tasks. E.g. if your big goal was to achieve a 10 km run you would definitely start small with a well thought out exercise plan
  • Reward yourself. Each small win should be celebrated
  • Get support. Get your friends and family involved, join a class, use apps, use a CFWA Home Care Worker, talk to your CF care team and make a plan.

Learn to Problem Solve

You have great goals but you’re not sure how to get there. Similarly to setting goals it’s useful to use a few strategies:

What’s the problem?

Separate out the issues, sometimes everything gets lumped together and seems overwhelming. By doing this you can focus on each issue separately and develop small steps or goals that are manageable to resolve an issue.

  • Brainstorm lots of different solutions. Be creative and come up with as many solutions as you can think of and then rule out any options that aren’t useful.
  • Use a pro/con list. Identifying all the benefits and negatives for each option, then choose the best options and make a plan.
  • Review and be flexible. All good plans can sometimes need adjusting.

Adult comment:
“I planned to do a 12km run and worked really hard to get fit, but got sick just before it, so I readjusted my plan and walked the 12kms instead. I still felt really proud that I was able to achieve this” (Female, 26).

Be Kind to Yourself

Having CF can be tiring and can sometimes get you down.  Try not to compare yourself to others and set your goals around what’s important to you.  Planning things and setting goals not only enhances motivation it has also been proven to improve mood.  When you are really struggling a plan can also help get you back into good routines.  The routine will help you get back your motivation.

If you are really struggling to get motivated or feel that your mood is getting in the way, Cystic Fibrosis WA can help with health coaching and motivation. Call Kathryn for further information servicesmanager@cfwa.org or 08 6457 7333.


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