Behavioural economics is being used more and more these days. It is based on the understanding that decision making is emotional not rational. It’s made up of a series of techniques, to shape our behaviour, one of them is called chunking. We see chunking messages via marketing every day; ‘Buy one, get one free’, ‘Sale, 1 day only’. We also do it ourselves, one example is how we chunk our phone number, it’s not one long number 0203214756, we break it up 020 321 4756.
The Step up for 30 campaign works brilliantly within this thinking. It grabs you emotionally, and ‘chunks’ the task into small and manageable wins. Why wouldn’t you sign up?!? Very clever Bowel Cancer U.K. 😀
I decided to sign up around 2 weeks after having Sid removed. I felt vulnerable at the time. I didn’t know what Sid was, and the time I would find out was looming. I was scared , worried, and overall a bit down. I was also still pretty sore after losing 45 centimetres of stuff; 2/3rds of my colon, my appendix and a little bit of my small intestine.
When I saw the post about #stepupfor30 on Twitter and Facebook, I thought, I can do that! Even if I feel awful I can walk slowly round the block for 30 minutes. It gave me something to think about and aim for, at a time when that was exactly what I needed.
By the first of June, I was healing well (8 weeks post op) and feeling good, mentally and physically. 21 days into #stepupfor30, I feel even better. That is saying something as I am into round 3 of chemo, it is cumulative, and I am experiencing more side effects as time goes on.
However, every day, I have my focus of 30. It’s something totally achievable, and because of this, it is making me stronger, physically and mentally. I am doing something good and worthwhile, for Bowel Cancer U.K. and for myself.
The best thing about this though is how much quality time the challenge has given me. Bike rides with Sam, river walks with Oliver, gym sessions with Vicky and family walks with Damian and the kids. The most funny one, doing yoga with Oliver!
These were our moves
Step up for 30 has also helped me realise that I should approach my cancer journey in the same way. It is not one big scary presence in my life that is overwhelming, it is a series of steps that I follow. Breaking it down into manageable tasks. It’s not 6 months of chemo, it’s 8 chunks. It’s not 5 years of worry about whether I will be cancer free and a good statistic, it’s a series of checks to keep me healthy and get me into recovery.
As step up for 30 ends, I will still keep up being active. Greg Whyte came into my work to do an inspirational talk recently. He talked about how it isn’t about being sporty, it’s just about moving. Not everyone is sporty but everyone can do excersie. Doing a little bit of something that you enjoy, as often as you can. I think of these words now and know that following this advice, will make me feel better, even on days that are tough.
It is so easy to not take care of yourself, to put you and your health last, when life is so busy. But small steps really do produce big gains. I am so glad this challenge came along when it did and taught me this.
Thank you to everyone who supported me in this challenge. It has been a really positive experience, made all the more motivating by your generous sponsorship. Make sure you take time for excercise, it makes you feel good and let’s you spend time with people you love. X