Walk Without A Limp

It’s mid-January – how are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions?  Oh, you say you don’t even bother making them anymore because you can never keep them? Well, you’re not alone.  That was my excuse for many years.  I would declare familiar goals:  “No more sugar for me!”  “I don’t want to limp any more.”  “I’m finishing my book this year!”  “I’m going to be debt free!”

You get the picture – but invariably, I’d be successful for a few days, sometimes even a few weeks (although that was rare!), then I’d be attracted to a chocolate bar, an opportunity to spend my savings or get too busy to complete projects.  As I caved to temptation and reverted back to my pre-New Year’s status, an accompanying thought was there:  “you can’t do it; why try?”  That thought led to the behavior – I gave up.

Then I discovered the miracle of SPAM – yes, that maligned can of potted meat actually can help get past homeostasis – our body and mind’s natural bent to return to what is known, what is familiar.

Before you barf on the page, don’t worry – you don’t eat the stuff!  You use the letters on the can as a reminder of four steps to set and meet your goals.

                                                        S = Small and Specific

                                                        P = Practical

                                                        A = Achievable

                                                        M = Measurable

Let me show you how this can work.  I’ve had 10 surgeries on my right foot and leg to remove recurring tumors.  In the process, muscles and tendons were removed, nerves cut and a lot of scar tissue appeared where there used to be normal flesh and bone.  As a result, I walked with a pretty pronounced limp.

That was something I desperately wanted to change – I wanted to wear high heels again and walk normally – without a limp!

Enter my new found friend – SPAM!

The first letter, S, reminded me to set a small and specific daily goal.  Too often, my goal was too vague or too big, with the resulting try-fail cycle which led to giving up.179019600

My “S” goal?  Stretch my foot and leg each day.

Next I used the “P = Practical” to break it down a bit more.  If you think of the four W’s – who, what, where, when and add a “how” you begin to practically think through each step.

Who?  Just me

What?  Stretch for 10-15 minutes

When?  In the morning

Where?  In the living room

How?  This is where I used the “Pavlog’s dog” method – My “normal” routine was to get a cup of coffee and read the paper first thing each morning.  My new SPAM “reward” system went like this:  “While the coffee is brewing, you do your stretches, then you have a reward of sitting down with the coffee and paper.”

A = Achievable – Is this goal realistic, knowing yourself the way you do?  I look at the elements – I’m a morning person, so it’s better to bring in a change in the a.m.  I do like being rewarded for my “hard work,” so I think the delay of gratification will work for me.  It’s important, however, for each person to do what works best for them.

M = Measurable – I needed to set a time frame in which to look back over my progress.  Again, I look at what’s workable for me.  I decided if I stretched 5 days a week, then took a break over the weekend, I’d be ready to do it again the following week.

I’m very happy to report that I’m walking without a limp!  This didn’t happen overnight or even after a few weeks, but with the consistent use of SPAM goals, the activity began to change from “this is hard work” to “this feels good!”

You can do it too – just buy a can of SPAM, place it in a conspicuous place and start meeting your goals, one small and specific, practical, achievable and measurable step at a time!


10 thoughts on “Walk Without A Limp

  1. This is a wonderful bit of wisdom and advice for me, as you know I’m limping quite a bit these days – and I can use this testimony and example as a goal for myself in 2015 – thanks – as always love your blogs

  2. I remember that SPAM can prominently displayed in your lovely office the first time I met you over 8 years ago. Your little tool from your wonderful tool box has served you so very well. Praise God! I remember that limp; and to realize how the SPAM goals helped to remove it amazes me. I’ve used your zero-plus-one many many times and that one has jump started me out of some difficult spots too. Thank you. On Jan. 1st, 2014 I asked God to show me His Holy light every day in 2014. It was a New Year’s resolution in the form of a little prayer that has brought a wonderful journey into my life. 2014 still had its lumps and bumps but that year will stay with me as a “bright” time in my life with the little mercies, grace, and wonders God blessed me with all year long. This year’s resolution prayer has been to ask God to show me His joyous love. It is barely March and oh my how it has changed my life all ready! Praise, Praise, Praise our Wonderful, Dear God. The most incredible gift has been to learn that God’s love for me is a huge space and that space does not take away from the love He has for anyone else. I’m amazed and overwhelmed with His joyous love and I can’t contain it within my heart…it is constantly flowing outward to people and circling back to me. Amazing God! I realize I’ve written a lot here but God is doing an exuberant work here…God changes lives in amazing ways…I now love New Year’s Resolutions. A new year is such a precious gift from our Wonderful Lord! Thank you for this blog Barbra. Bless you! (-: Polly

    • Paula – How awesome to hear from you — and that your tool box keeps growing! I love your New Year’s Resolutions — how awesome! Sometimes to fully appreciate God’s goodness to us we need to be very intentional and specific about our desires, then we begin to look for the answers — lo and behold! They show up (actually we know God’s always there; it’s us who start changing!). God bless you abundantly in this, your year of looking for joy! Barbra

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