Put Down the Little Debbie

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on December 15, 2021 # Lifestyle

Kristin wearing a colorful dress and holding her dog. She is smiling and using a wheelchair. When I was first in a Jet Ski accident that left me paralyzed and in a wheelchair as a young adult, it was hard to hope for my future.

When I started my years-long string of wounds on my lower, paralyzed body due to my inability to feel pain sensation, it was hard to hope for my skin health.

When I started college and had trouble making friends and finding my community, it was hard to hope for my social life.

When my friends started dating and getting married when I was still so, very single, it was hard to hope for my boyfriend/fiancé.

But, you know what I did; I still hoped for all of those things, regardless of how impossible they felt. It’s not enough just to hope for something then sit on it, though. When you want something, you need to remind yourself of the things, then figure out how to make them happen.

  1. Make a plan. You’re not going to accomplish much by sitting in front of the television eating Little Debbies. The first step toward your goals is to think hard about where you want to be, and what it’s going to take to get you there. Break your journey into mini-milestones, and plan your path to each one. What do you need to do to reach first base? What about second? Break it up as much as you can; the easier your milestones are to reach, the better your esteem will be.
  2. Write it out. Write those milestones down on paper because it helps to have a visual reminder of what you want your future to look like, and why you’re working so hard. Post that paper somewhere you frequent. If you’re very tech-savvy and your goals are recurring, set reminder alarms on your phone to keep you on track. Those visual indications will help make obvious the steps you need to take to reach your objective.
  3. Call your army. Surround yourself with people who love you or, at the very least, care enough to sit and listen. We weren’t made to live life alone, and having people around you can be a miracle for your self-drive. People generally want to help and, if you put yourself out there, it’s not too hard to find those people. Find yourself the people who will [figuratively, or literally] huddle around you, and reach for the next milestone.
  4. Reflect, then learn your dang lesson. Don’t make the same mistakes over again, and use your blunders to your advantage. Applying our hindsight to your past will help you to see clearly what works and how you need to change. It’ll also probably help solidify your desire for change.
  5. Be grateful. A few of my friends have a practice of writing what they’re grateful for in a journal every morning, but I’ve never been that put-together; by the time I get my notebook out and reflected on my glories, I’ve missed my window for breakfast, my dog has peed on the floor, and I’m late to work. All my love to people who maintain that habit, but I just can’t – for me, mental recognition or a quick note on my phone does the job. The benefit lies in your acknowledgment of the things you’re grateful for, more than the legible evidence. Whenever kind of person you are (someone who has time for things in the morning, or a basket case like me), give some attention to the things you’re grateful for at the beginning of the day. It sets your mind up for humility before your craziness begins.
  6. Think positive, ignore the negative. This is another mindset hack: optimism puts rose-colored glasses over your day, and it helps you to focus on your goals without the commotion of your and other people’s negativity. You may have to squint, but try to look at the positive side of your problems.

Those are some solid tips to hold onto your hope, and now you have to do the work; remember that you can’t just sit on your hope. That won’t accomplish anything, believe me. I’ve tried it.

Do something: if your goal is to finish your first marathon next year, get up and run some miles. If your goal is to lower your cholesterol, put down the salt chips. If your goal is to not overeat this holiday, brush your teeth after [a small] dessert. If you’re not willing to make some sacrifices to reach your goals, you’re much less likely to touch them.

Holding hope for big or good things to happen in your life is important for your healthy mind and lifestyle; if we didn’t hope for things, we wouldn’t be motivated to get off our butts and make them happen. See how that works? What do you hope for, and how are you working toward it?

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, and a comic book, Date Me. Check them out and read an excerpt at https://www.kristinbeale.com/. Her comics can be found on Instagram @Greater.Things.Comics.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.