Setting Challenges as Motivation

There are many things my heart is beating for – friends, sports, travelling, horses… The list goes on, but what I have come to realise since my last open heart surgery is that the most important thing is time! Making every day count! Finding your purpose and the time that is given to me. Sometimes I’m still struggling with ‘finding a purpose’, but I’m always trying to spend my time wisely. In the end, all we have is now.

When things get tough, I like to have fun and exciting things to look forward to. I’m motivated by having challenges such as a 10K run or a ride on horseback through the Namib Desert planned ahead. These things give me a reason to keep up my healthy lifestyle and continue to stay in shape.

In 2015, going into three weeks of extensive cardiac rehab was not very appealing, and I was in desperate need of some motivation. I had started looking into cardiac-focused exercise groups in London, but couldn’t really find what I was looking for. What I did find, however, was a 5K run in Regent’s Park during Easter, organised by the British Heart Foundation. Could there be a better fit? (*imagine Chandler Bing voice)

I mobilised my besties to sign up as well and got super excited and quite nervous about this run. Had I ever done any running before? No. But could I walk 5K in one go? Easily. With being allowed to run or walk this race at your own pace the pressure was less high, and I was stoked to take part in this charity event. Raising awareness for heart conditions and exercising at the same time was the perfect fit.


However, taking part in a 5K run just six months after three major surgeries, ten days in intensive care, three weeks of rehab and three months of sick leave seemed very unachievable to everyone, including me. Having seen and experienced myself in my weakest state ever, I needed this goal more than anything. To prove to myself that I could do it. To find something to work towards. A challenge to show myself that I could be fit and active again was crucial to me to get back on my feet as soon as possible.

Staying positive during tough times is hard, and of course I do sometimes struggle with it too. In these moments it’s important that we value small victories and look at how far we have already come. Often it helps to strip it all back and look at the essentials. Are you surrounded by loved ones who support you? Yes! Do you have a place you call home? Yes! And hopefully your job is going ok as well.


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