I'm using my diabetic diagnosis as an example. Because it was a wake up call for me.
Up until five years ago, I'd sometimes sit at a desk and just work straight through until it was time to head home. I'd grab a snack on the way into work, and grab a snack on the way home but in between, there were days when I'd only get up to get a drink or go to a meeting, I was in the flow all coders experience and was focused on only one thing: shipping.
And when I got home, I'd be on the computer working some more.
Then around this time, 5 years ago, I spent an entire month where I was just completely ill. I was always thirsty, always hungry but couldn't keep anything down, and I was just feeling like complete crap.
Then after a doctor visit regarding being sick, I was sent for blood work.
And my blood sugars came back as 36.
Here I was, not only discovering I was a type 2 diabetic, but I was also getting rushed to the hospital for a week of emergency insulin treatment.
During that week where I sat in a hospital bed, I felt angry and betrayed by my own body. And I wanted my life back.
I had given everything I had to a career that promised me a better life, byt my health, my relationships, and my happiness had been steadily declining for years and had now reached a breaking point.
At the end of that week, I came home with a pocketful of needles to inject myself with multiple times a day, and a meter to monitor my blood sugars, and a new outlook on life.
Suddenly, I couldn't just do what I'd always done before, I had to change my schedule around, I had to get in balanced meals, and I had to destress (the stress was the big one, as I soon learned that any stress and my sugars were through the roof.)
When I first got sick, I decided that there was nothing more important than having the life I wanted and being healthy again.
And guess what?
I was still keeping up on my work. In fact, I actually started getting more done because I was able to better focus on what needed to be done.
By improving the quality of my life, I had more energy for everything — including work.
Now, it's five years later, and I've been injecting myself with two different kinds of insulin several times a day and also pricked my fingers to get a sugar reading since that time.
The steps I've followed above since that week in the hospital have helped save my life.
And, most importantly, I've learned not to spend all day sitting in front of my desk and just coding.
And I've been losing weight, getting healthier both physically and mentally, and I've been able to enjoy life.
Maybe the circumstances that spurred me to make a change are extraordinary. But the changes I made didn't require extraordinary skill or effort.
All I needed was information and resolve.