“Keep showing us your progress!”

“Great walking Em!”

“Amazing effort!”

“Keep up the good work!”

All affirmations on my social media channels provide me with so much motivation. It’s external feedback that ensures that I keep doing my ongoing rehabilitation. But sustaining this is hard. I only receive such praise if I do the monotonous exercises and squish in time to capture them and share them.

This is proving to be increasingly challenging.

Initially in my recovery this feedback was automatic. My support team surrounded me and would often watch my rigorous routine. Plus, there were more obvious improvements and progress. I went from not blinking to blinking. Saying a whole word or being able to sit up or feed myself. Tangible outcomes.

I write in my book, 

“…Gathering feedback, whether it was recording my voice, tracking my handwriting, taking photos of my face or videos of my walking became a huge motivation to me. In spite of the slowness of my recovery, it helped me track small changes and show others that I was still improving. I knew too as a therapist that seeing this feedback would be great to show my future team. Showing that I couldn’t speak or hold up my head through real recorded examples would be much more powerful than just using words to describe my recovery process”(p124)

However, this automatic feedback that fuelled me began to dissipate.Understandably, life goes on and people in my support network have their own daily lives to resume. I don’t rely on feedback to maintain my motivation and it is not feasible to do so.

Over the years I have learnt that I need to flag my progression to them.  And work out a way I can continue to check my progression and fuel my motivation to sustain myself every day. Especially vital during covid where the direct face-to-face support and immediate support has been even harder to obtain. Nowadays – whether it’s sending a video showing how I have completed a certain exercise or footage sent to seek specific feedback on how I can improve, I know that without doing this, my motivation and accountability to carry out tasks is so much greater.

By regularly recording and sharing my progression, it feels at times that I am bragging. Bragging about doing such mundane, seemingly simple things. However, I strongly believe that this provides my viewers (hopefully coffee fuelled) with a form of education. To show them, the daily exercises I (and many) people with a disability need to do to manage everyday life!

Feedback, whether it’s one comment on someone’s social media feed can be so validating and uplifting.

Perhaps, like me, you are reliant on this external feedback and know that putting a certain regime in place, capturing your exercises or flagging your achievements, is a way of ensuring that this continues.

Consider how you can give another person feedback? Can you help capture or relay this progression so it’s less taxing on them?

How can you help fuel their motivation, enhance their accountability or merely stop and celebrate their progress?