Arthritis and agency: What I realized about my habits

by | Apr 7, 2021 | Coaching, Reflections

I recently returned to physical therapy to address the arthritis that developed in my right big toe. It was really cramping my style (excuse the pun) while exercising, and I was over it.

When I was first diagnosed by my podiatrist (this is not my first rodeo with foot and ankle problems) I asked him how in the world I developed arthritis. He patiently explained this was in the making for years. It didn’t just happen overnight.

I mentioned my podiatrist’s comment to my physical therapist who knows me and my body mechanics well, and she commented on my lack of hip mobility, how that goes down the chain and impacts the rest of the leg, ankle and foot. Accordingly, when I walk, my foot and ankle learned how to make adjustments, for better or worse, it strained the joint, and here we are.  I supposed it also didn’t help that my favorite two pieces of footwear for years were high heels and flip-flops.

You may wonder why I’m telling you all of this.  Stay with me.

I started thinking about habits; both the ones we are consciously aware of, and those that are less obvious to us. Whether we are talking about arthritis, other personal issues or leadership and professional challenges, we are the culmination and amalgamation of our daily choices and habits. Like it or not; for better or for worse.

The seemingly small, insignificant decisions we make so many times a day, that sometimes we might not think about.  The ones that we might not think matter, but whose impact one day adds up and gives us a favorable (or not so favorable) result.

Do we go to the gym, or do we hit the snooze button (again)?

Are we taking the time each day to develop our team members and ourselves, or are we using time and energy as excuses?

Do we deal with problems and have difficult conversations right away, or do we kick the can down the road one more day/week/month, allowing the inflammation to build up, creating mistrust, continued performance issues and undermined credibility?

Think about your daily habits. No shame, no blame. When you have awareness, you have agency.

What decisions are you making, or not making each day? What changes do you want to start making tomorrow?  I’d be curious to hear from you. 

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Nancy Jacoby,

Nancy is a registered nurse, recovering hospital administrator and ICF certified coach and consultant. She leads individuals, teams and organizations in growth, development and process improvement to yield sustained change and desired outcomes. 

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Nancy Jacoby, RN, MBA, MHSA, FACHE, ACC  |  212.779.2049  |  Connect on LinkedIn

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