When clients come to work with me, one of my first questions is what their goals are. Often, they have concerns around pain- be it in their everyday body usage (i.e.; walking, work-related movements, sitting at their office desk), or in specific activities (i.e.; sport, gardening)- that they want to address. Other times they don’t really have pain, but just want to improve the overall performance of their activities.
It’s helpful when clients are clear in their motivation because it brings focus to the work we do together. But, like with so many other goals, it is useful to break the overarching aim down into smaller bites so that the client can track all of the little wins that might otherwise be overlooked. This mindset of recognizing and celebrating incremental change helps keep us motivated to continue working towards the larger goal.
For instance, if you are looking to reduce back and knee pain so that you can walk more comfortably (and have already been checked by your doctor to make sure there is no underlying issue that needs to be addressed), we will make a game plan together that includes many little steps to help you reach your end goal. So, the motivation might be to make recreational walking more enjoyable, but the mindset we will focus on will be to celebrate all of the small pieces of change work that, together, will help create the support for lasting transformation. Instead of just abruptly changing your gait pattern, we’ll first address the muscular holding that might be contributing to your pain and reducing the availability for change in your movement. We’ll work to increase your body awareness, so that, as you make little modifications, you can feel the differences. And you will continually be asked to compare your newer way of moving with your old way to anchor in the “why” of the changes.
This perspective can be applied to other areas of your life, of course. And, while effective, it can be frustrating for us overachievers. We want everything NOW. But, ironically, that “now” will often present itself more quickly if we focus on the less flashy foundations that support lasting change.
So, deep breath. Set those goals. Then break those goals into smaller goals. And move forward.
Amanda Skidmore is a staff member of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, where she helps people release long-held tension and pain patterns, while also teaching them how to use their bodies with greater ease and efficiency. For more information, give us a call or visit the front desk.