Most of us know what it’s like: we’ve all committed to a two-month long ‘detox’ that ends after two hours at some point in our lives. But if you really want to start making changes for the better, it’s all about setting small goals first and being kind to yourself, as physiotherapist Wade Brennan explains.
Q. In your experience, what is the biggest roadblock for people trying to break bad habits and live a healthier lifestyle when you meet them through Central Health & Physio?
A. There are many different roadblocks that a client will experience but the two biggest seem to be time and consistency. A lack of time to complete a new habit or program, and a lack of consistency in following a new habit or program. This is why written plans are so important to provide, to help clients achieve their goals and for accountability. Clients must take responsibility for their own health – we are here to help but we can’t do the hard work for them.
Unfortunately, whether we talk about posture or diet (two very hard habits to maintain consistently) the human body seems to take the easiest option, or the path of least resistance. So I guess this is another roadblock – natural human behaviours. New habits take commitment and consistency and we are here to provide the assistance required.
Q. What is the best advice you can give for helping people overcome these roadblocks?
A. One of the best pieces of advice that we utilise with our clients’ right from the initial consultation is thinking about the ‘why’. This involves having a deep discussion with a client about ‘why’ they want to break bad habits and achieve a healthy lifestyle, not simply discussing ‘what’ they want to achieve or ‘how’ they are going to achieve it. Discussing and then working towards the person’s ‘why’ will drive the commitment to the process much better, as well as help stop roadblocks from getting in the way. This is why we sit down with all our clients and discuss both why they want to achieve their goals and how achieving them would make them feel.
Q. What are some of the initial things we can do, in terms of changing things for the better?
A. Set small initial goals. It is still ok to have the big goal written down as an ‘end result’ but remember it is an end result – then work backwards from there and set some smaller, easier to achieve goals first and get some small wins under your belt. These small wins create positive reinforcement and momentum which is amazing to help gain the confidence that the end goal is in fact achievable.
It is also important to make the goals measurable. That way it can easily be seen if they were achieved (great) or not (what needs to be changed to achieve them).
Q. Is it important to be kind to ourselves when we are embarking on life changes?
A. Absolutely – making the changes necessary for people to achieve their goals and then sustain them is not easy. Finding others to support you is also very important. ‘Who is in your support network’ is a question we ask all our clients as we value the support of others close to every client in the process and understand that they will remain healthier for longer with support outside what we can provide.
Q. What is the most common ailment people complain of when they first start their training, and how long before they can see some positive results?
A. We are lucky here at Central Physio & Health as all clients must undergo a thorough initial assessment consultation prior to starting any treatment or exercise programs. This will ask about current and past physical and medical history in detail, assess any injuries they may have and treat/fix any injuries/ailments which may be a roadblock in the future.
This allows us to create programs which are specifically based on the client’s past history/ailments (should they exist) and are specifically designed for the individual client’s goals. Sore muscles are really all that should be expected.
Clients can see big results quickly in as little as 4-6 weeks if they complete their programs as frequently as required. We don’t let clients stay on a level for too long before looking to progress as our bodies need to be pushed just outside our comfort zone for progress to take place. It’s important to regularly measure progress to show clients it is taking place.
Q. Does training need to be tailored to each person?
A. Yes 100% it does – we are very passionate about this. All clients are NOT the same and all programs are NOT the same. Specificity is a complex variable in prescribing exercise programs which should be applied to all clients to see them have the best chance of achieving their end goals. A lack of progress often comes down to programming not being setup specifically for an individual.
Q. What keeps people coming back and motivated to continue?
A. Progress – establishing and measuring outcomes that the client has set with us that shows them they are working towards their goals and achieving their ‘why’. If a client’s words and actions are not matching, for example a client says “they really want something but miss sessions”, we need to discuss with the client why there is a mismatch and work through it with them.
Additionally, motivating clients is a skillset that all our therapists have worked on for years of clinical practice, and this is not a simple process. We work very hard to continually advance our knowledge and skillset on and love learning from our clients always see them as people first.
Q. What is your personal philosophy towards daily habits?
A. Keep it simple. Making anything too complex is a huge barrier. Healthy habits do not have to be complex to be very effective.
Q. You must see some amazing transformations. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A. Seeing a client achieve something they didn’t think was possible. Having activities that you love doing removed from your life through pain, injury or illness causes a loss of identity for humans. This has huge flow on effects to all areas of their life, including friends, family and work. Listing things that a client would like to have back in their life and then helping them do it is the most rewarding part of our job.
Q. Can you briefly list your top 5 tips for changing your lifestyle?
- Establish your why – why do you want to achieve it?
- What barriers will get in the way – list these barriers and come up with a plan for when they arise.
- Establish a measurable good result for your end result – what do you want to achieve, in what time frame and how are you going to measure whether you achieved it?
- Work backwards from the end result to set smaller, more achievable goals first, such as what you would like to achieve today or this week.
- Keep it simple and don’t over complicate things.