Time to Get This One Done!

Time to Get This One Done!

Do you have the courage to get this one done?

I love the commercial that shows a woman eating one piece of broccoli and asks, “What if just one stalk of broccoli could protect you from cancer?” As a gentleman bends down and does just one push-up, the narrator asks, “What if just one push-up could prevent heart disease?” The commercial is advertising a vaccine for pneumococcal pneumonia. Maybe you’ve seen it. The tag line is “Get this one done.” I’d like to borrow that phrase.

One push up to get this one done

Photo credit: Prevnar


I’ve been speaking, writing and teaching about healthcare directives for several years now. I’ll be honest. It’s hard to get people to actually do this important work. When asked about my profession and I share what I do, the nearly universal response is, “That’s so important! Families really need to talk about this.” Then I usually press and ask, “Have you written and shared a meaningful healthcare directive with your loved ones? Have you had the conversation?” More times then not, the answer is, “I’ve been meaning to” or “I started one” or “I’ve still got time.”

Why is it so difficult for people to prepare for future healthcare decisions?

Only about a third of adults have written a healthcare directive, yet 60% of adults over the age of 18 want their end-of-life wishes to be respected, based on a 2013 research study. What are the barriers? More importantly, what is stopping you from completing this essential preparation that will protect you and your family from unnecessary pain?

Three common barriers might be getting in your way.

Barrier #1: Fear

None of us wants to face our mortality. Fear is a powerful emotion. Confronting the reality of your future death is scary. It’s easier to procrastinate. In our country and culture, most people deny death, and when faced with a medical crisis, families try to defy death by declaring, “Do everything possible to save Mom.” This declaration serves as emotional insurance; it’s rather like a “get out of jail free” card. Sadly, Mom may suffer in the ICU, being hooked up to machines and receiving treatment she never desired—all because she never communicated her wishes when she was still well.

Barrier #2: Time

We’re all so busy. We have a penchant for immediate gratification. The urgent supersedes the important. We want to reduce the important matters of life into checklists and sound bytes. In my work, I’m sometimes told, “You need to make this really easy to complete.” The fact is, preparing for future healthcare decisions is very serious business. That requires an investment of time.

Barrier #3: Laziness

OK – this reason is certainly not popular to talk about. In fact, I might offend some readers by mentioning it. Yet I passionately believe we each have the responsibility to prepare for future healthcare decisions. It can be emotionally and spiritually challenging to invest yourself in wrestling through these decisions in order to communicate your wishes by writing a healthcare directive. I get it. But, if decisions are ever required on your behalf—and you have not made your wishes clear earlier, it will be infinitely more difficult for your decision-makers and loved ones to shoulder guilt and remorse for day, months and years afterwards, left wondering if you received the right healthcare.

It’s time to get this one done.

Getting this one done requires you to:

  • Push past the fear; you can demonstrate courage by proactively expressing your treatment preferences to those who might be required to make decisions on your behalf.
  • Fight procrastination; set aside time to reflect deeply and communicate clearly by writing a meaningful healthcare directive.
  • Shoulder the responsibility; invest yourself in communicating your wishes so you won’t be unintentionally foisting the burden on those you love.

Act. Don’t just intend. Act.

If you’ve been following my blog or have heard me speak, I’m inviting you… no challenging you… to get this one done.

If you live in the Twin Cities, I will be offering a morning workshop from 8:30-11:30 Saturday, March 5th at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie. You can leave the workshop with a completed, executed healthcare directive. You’ll be whistling Dixie as you leave.

CLICK HERE to register for the live workshop.

If this location or date is not convenient, I invite you to explore my online course. You, too, can complete a meaningful healthcare directive by walking through the video content and PDFs in the course.

CLICK HERE to learn more about this course.

Your family will be immeasurably grateful if you get this one done. CLICK TO TWEET
Writing and communicating a meaningful healthcare directive is a gift to those you love.

QUESTION: What’s stopping you from writing your healthcare directive? Will you please join the conversation by sharing this post via social media with your comment using #mortality?

Send this to a friend