How to Succeed with this Free E-Course

Image of people dancing with excitement.Have you ever had a teacher who completely changed your life?

Who expanded the boundaries of what you thought possible, or even existed?

I did, and here is what it was like:

It was almost two years after I came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Before then, I thought having ME/CFS doomed me to a life of feeling sick and unhappy. Yes, I would probably discover some pills and lifestyle changes that would ease my suffering a little, but in the end—I was convinced—I would have a less than full life.

How A Great Teacher Can Change One’s Life

This belief was shaken substantially six months after I had met my first great teacher. At that time, I had already begun to notice that although my body still didn’t work much better than a few months earlier, I felt much better–sometimes like I wasn’t even a sick person anymore.

Over the years, I met many more great teachers and solidified not only my perceived well-being, but also discovered ways to improve my functionality, health, and feeling of purpose in my life. Today I consider myself fortunate, because I’ve been able to learn everything I needed to learn to lead a perfectly happy, meaningful, and productive life with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

In this course, I want to pass on all the good things I learned along my journey, plus many gems I discovered in working with amazingly wise clients and in researching this course.

Will you see the same level of improvement as I did? I don’t know. No one knows. But I’d love for you to be open to the possibility that you will.

Just like my life was changed for the better by great teachers, I would love for you to be open to the possibility that I am the teacher and that this is the course that will change your life for the better.

This positive outlook will help you get the most out of this course. To use an analogy, it’s so much more fun to go to a doctor’s visit, when there is a decent chance that the doctor will actually be able to help you.

The positive outlook I am wanting for you can also ensure that your progress isn’t halted by inaction that results from doubt or hopelessness. Getting your outlook right is a delicate balance between staying positive and not being unrealistic. Because this concept is so important, I’ll also speak about it in the next session titled, “Should you plan on a full recovery?”

Removing Obstacles

In order for you to get as much value as possible from this e-course, let’s address some obstacles you may encounter on your path to increased levels of happiness, functionality, and health. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in many excellent e-courses, and I’ve found three main potential obstacles to success for someone with ME/CFS (or anyone, really) that I’d like you to be aware of and be able to overcome.

Obstacle #1: Inaction

It is one thing to learn what will help you feel better, but taking action on what will help you feel better is a different thing altogether. I’ve done it many times. I’ve been really excited about something, signed up for it, and after a few weeks got distracted by the next shiny thing. Or, equally unhelpful, I read all the information in a course, but then never actually took action on what I had learned.

Here are three things that can help you to avoid the mistake of not taking action:

  1. Be clear about

    a) what you will gain if you fully engage in and follow through with the course and
    b) what will happen if you don’t.

    This alone can be enough to motivate you to engage in this course like you have never engaged in any other course before. It’s because there is so much to win if you improve your life with this course, and so much to lose if you don’t. What would it mean to you if you felt well in your body and good about life again? What would the rest of your life be like if your current situation never changed?

    When I participated in my first ME/CFS recovery course, the answers to these questions excited and frightened me enough, so that I made my ME/CFS recovery my primary goal in life. I engaged in activities related to my recovery for the first three hours of each day, and did some more during the rest of the day.

    I’ve heard of others who have done similar things. For example a woman who practiced Qui Gong for twenty minutes twice a day for six years despite having a full time job, a long commute, and young children. She wanted to get better so badly.

    What are your answers to the above questions? They may be enough to make any further motivators and tools unnecessary.

  2. Online Self Care Hour. Do you ever feel like you are the only one who has to jump through all these hoops to heal your body, while everyone else is having fun and eating ice cream? I know I did for many years—until I discovered the Online Self Care Hour (OSCH).The OSCH is an online chat where fellow ME/CFS recoverers meet and work together on improving their lives.

    If you’ve ever noticed the difference between doing yoga or meditation in a class, as opposed to doing it on your own, then you can likely imagine the benefit of working on your ME/CFS recovery using the OSCH as opposed to doing it on your own. It’s a difference that is like day and night. The Online Self Care Hour is one of the coolest things I’ve discovered throughout my recovery path. Click here to learn more about and Sign up to the Online Self Care Hour.

  3. Accountability. Accountability simply works when it comes to supporting us in working on something consistently over time.

    You have likely experienced situations in which accountability worked for you: college classes where you began studying just before a test, or jobs where part of what got you going was that you’d get fired if you didn’t complete your work, or, in my case, a spouse I get in trouble  with if I don’t  keep up with my house chores :).

    How can you use accountability to your advantage when it comes to succeeding with this course? Please use the three ideas below as an inspiration, and decide for yourself what’s best for you:

    1. Set out a time in your calendar during which you will work on this course. This accountability is between you today, and you tomorrow.  By setting a time in your calendar now, you’re making a promise to yourself. By working on the course tomorrow and consistently throughout the rest of the week, you’re fulfilling your promise.Try it out! Fulfilling these little promises with yourself not only helps you stay on track, it also makes you feel really good about yourself.
    2. Ask a loved one to check in with you once a week. Despite our best intentions, we forget, get sidetracked, or—speaking from experience again—get just plain lazy.

      Setting up accountability with a loved one is easy:  First, you ask someone if they are willing to support you and agree on a weekly check-in time with them. Second, you tell them all the reasons why succeeding with this course is so important to you, so that they can remind you if you ever lose your motivation. Third, you meet with them once a week and let them know how it is going.

      While I no longer do this about my health, I do this with my wife and colleagues for working on my coaching business. It really gets me moving.

    3. Get a coach. The accountability coaching provides is one of the reasons that makes that relationship enormously powerful. Our financial commitment in the coaching makes us more likely to invest the time to make the sessions worth it. Plus, we get all the guidance and professional support that ensure that we’re not only doing something, but that we’re doing the right things at the right time.

Screen Reading Fatigue

If you’ve made it this far down the page, it’s likely that you’re already noticing some of your symptoms worsen from reading on the computer screen for so long. One thing that is negative about a free e-course is that all the writing is on screens. For a healthy person, reading on a screen is tiring, for someone with ME/CFS, it can be an insurmountable hurdle.

Fortunately there are ways to avoid this fatigue:

  1. Print it out.  Read with less strain on your eyes, make notes on your print out, start a physical folder for this course that you can always refer back to. I highly recommend printing each lesson of this course.
  2. Read it on your kindle. A kindle is much easier on your eyes than your computer or phone screen. I find reading on my kindle paperwhite even easier than reading a common book. It’s lighter, it’s easier to turn pages on, and I got used to it really quickly. Use the process outlined here (some computer skills required) or this browser extension to transfer any article from the web onto your kindle with only a couple of clicks. Personally, using my kindle has reunited me with much online content that I was previously separated from due to screen reading fatigue
  3. Take breaks. How long can you read without exacerbating your symptoms? Read for that long and then stop.

    Do you find it hard to stop once you get going? Check out my article and audio on How to make taking breaks easier.

Unanswered Questions

I can’t read your mind.

I know, it’s terrible 🙂 But I’m willing to make up for it with answering your questions when you ask them. If after reading a lesson in this e-course you have any questions, please submit your questions here. I truly love your questions because it will help me to better tailor my writing to your needs.

Please post your questions the Monday night after you receive each lesson at the latest, so that I can answer them in time for the next lesson.

Bite-Sized Actions (Homework)

Whew! These three obstacles, inaction, screen reading fatigue, and unanswered questions, already give you plenty to work with this week.

Overwhelmed?

Then I suggest you start with the following overwhelm defying action:

  • Schedule little actions in your calendar (or just think about when you want to do them)

When you schedule what you want to work on for the week, consider which one of the action items from this lesson you will want to focus on. Here is a quick summary of the action items from this lesson:

  1. Pick one of the ways to overcome screen reading fatigue, for example, printing out these lessons.
  2. Set up accountability with a loved one or a coach.
  3. Sign up for the Online Self Care Hour.
  4. Be clear about what you will gain if you fully engage in this course and what you will lose if you don’t.
  5. Ask your questions.

Each one of these tasks will take you only 5-15 minutes. This recognize that this is a significant investment of time–but remember, your work working on getting back your health and life here. Plus, even if you do all of the homework items, completing one per day, you’ll still be free on Sunday :).

Pick the ones that you feel are right for you at this time, and pour your whole self into completing them. So that this course may change your life, just like other great teachers where able to change my life.

Best to your health,
Johannes' Signature

P.S.

If you’ve got here without being subscribed to the free CFS Recovery Project E-Course, you’re missing out. This is lesson #1 on how to reach your maximum health and happiness potential if you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to learn more about it.

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