Contemplation is a good word isn’t it? We all use it differently to sneakily get away with not doing the things that we don’t want to do. Contemplation for stroke survivors is powerful. Too powerful in fact. It takes hold of us and runs our life. Contemplation thinks it is helping us by holding us back, yet the answer is to do these things that contemplation is telling us not to do. This is where the answer lies..

It is a very comfortable place to be. To let contemplation tell us what to do. We allow ourselves to let contemplation create its own comfort zone. In this comfort zone not much gets done. So “Mr. Contemplation” now feels safe, unthreatened! Life is good in our comfort zone..

It was Sir Richard Branson who said: “if you want to learn how to fly, jump out of the plane, and learn on your way down”. I love this saying, and I think it is relevant to this topic. If we simply push contemplation aside and get on with what we need to or should do, you should recover more. If this is the case, then why don’t we do it? You may try for a while, then whatever you may be focusing on gets too difficult, then you back off. This cycle continues a few times then you stop trying all together. Does this sound familiar? I have certainly been there myself a few times and it is ok if you have too. We are only human. I have learnt many strategies to help push past many levels of resistance. At first learning these strategies may be uncomfortable, yet the more you practice the easier it will become. Soon you will be in charge of what area of your rehabilitation you want to focus on. You will also be in charge of how far through the rehabilitation journey you want to go. Because you will be in charge, not contemplation.

I found myself at the end of an hour-long session at the gym on a Friday afternoon thinking. “God I’m glad (and feeling pretty worn out) that I have finished gym today. It is now time to relax. I looked over at the sit up machine with no one on it. I really should do that exercise! I don’t want to do it, I kept thinking. If I keep thinking this I wont do it, so I quickly pushed myself to do it before I regretted not doing it. This is just one example of how you can catch yourself and guide yourself in the right direction. Yet when the level of resistance is much harder, doing the thing you don’t want to do will need to be accompanied by a stronger will to do it.