“ My doctor is recommending changes in my lifestyle. How can I find the motivation for these? ”
Quit smoking, exercise, follow a special diet, take your medicine: such recommendations are often hard to implement in the long term, despite their justification and your doctor’s insistence. To summon up the will to act, you need to be convinced, believe you can do it, and receive support. Relations with your doctor play a big role in your ability to change.
- Check with your doctor that you have correctly understood the issues relating to your treatment and their repercussions on your daily life. Your doctor may explore where you stand in relation to them and take a close interest in your history: have you any next of kin who can help? What are the implications of your illness for you? What are your beliefs about it? The aim is that you should feel confident to express your doubts and fears and talk about your successes and setbacks.
- If you feel the need, discuss with your doctor the possibility of making contact with another healthcare professional to learn the new habits which will be part of your life from now on. This may be a dietician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist etc. There are also patient education groups (for asthma, diabetes and obesity). Ask your care team about them.
- Set realistic objectives with your doctor and track your progress. Tell him or her of the difficulties you experience with your treatment and the accompanying instructions.
- Joint mutual support groups to share your difficulties with people suffering from the same illness. These groups can be a source of motivation and a tower of strength (see List of resources).
Consider whether what your doctor is proposing is compatible with your priorities and quality of life. Express your preferences so that your doctor can allow for them, including the use of alternative medicines.