Often, along with the chiropractic adjustments and therapies that are part of treatment in a chiropractic office, we make suggestions on specific stretches, strengthening exercises, or ways to change the way you interact with your environment.
Sometimes the hardest part is remembering to actually follow the advice in the first place!
There are numerous interesting articles available on the subject of changing or instituting new habits. I did an internet search on the steps to change a habit and came up with a page full of links.
One system which had the merit of simplicity, includes a 3 step process.
The 3 R’s of habit change.
Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
Routine (the behavior itself: in our case the exercise or stretch)
Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior.)
Lets say for example you visit your chiropractor for neck pain. She suggests a short series of neck stretches and advises that you do them daily for 4-6 weeks.
How might you integrate this into your already busy life?
First, get clear on the time frame. It can feel overwhelming if you think you must begin something and continue it forever. What is the next holiday that comes close to the time frame suggested? Halloween? Christmas? Valentines day? Can you commit to the exercise or stretch until then? A holiday is an easy way to remember the length of your commitment.
Next set up a reminder for the activity. Many neck stretches can be done in the shower. When and wherever you decide to do them, it works well if it is linked to another activity that you already do. In our example, a note on the mirror in the bathroom with a reminder to do the neck stretches while showering might be helpful.
Than jump in. In quilting we say “done is better than perfect”! There is a certain momentum that goes along with just having begun. Don’t worry about doing it perfectly. Notice how it feels and whether you feel better. Than you will be able to make helpful modifications or discuss concerns while still keeping up your momentum. You can review the exercises and ask any questions you might have on your next appointment.
Lastly, celebrate your success each time you do the behavior. Just a little positive reinforcement can helps to keep up the habit throughout the time frame you are working with.
Here is a link to the short article I read on this topic.