Anyone who has worked on their wellness knows that healing takes time. You can’t lose 20 pounds overnight, despite what some of those commercials tell you. You can’t get your beach body back in two weeks, no matter how hard you try. There are no magic pills that will instantly make you happy, though they sure sell them as such. And there are no magic adjustments a chiropractor can give you to instantly cure a problem you have that is 20 years in the making, right?
That is right, but it doesn’t stop quite a few patients from telling me that I instantly cured their twenty-year-old sciatica, or their ten-year-old carpal tunnel issue. And while relief from symptoms is sometimes dramatic and quick, the actual cure takes time. Yes, we do occasionally see miracles in our office – when I remember who I “really” work for. And yes, there are dramatic changes that take place when things have been bad for a long time. But when it comes to health care, true change takes time. Chemotherapy, cardiac rehab, physical therapy – no one expects these things to work overnight. And yet, we frequently will see patients drop out of care prematurely because they “feel better.”
There are two main problems that lead people to quit any kind of health improvement program, whether it is weight loss, chiropractic, or general well-being. If they achieve their goal (losing 20 pounds, stopping the migraines, or sleeping better, for example) they tend to think they can go back to the way they used to live and work. In other words, they go back to the life that got them to where they were with those pain or other symptoms in the first place. Instead of remembering that changing their choices led to changing their life, they look at their recent changes as a temporary solution to a permanent problem.
The second reason that they quit is that they don’t achieve their goals and just give up. Or they think it is taking too long or costs too much.
Think of it this way: if you decide to work out and change your diet, you’re probably going to lose the weight you want to lose. But the changes you made should be your new normal, not a temporary fix. Do you only put gas in your car when it runs out on the highway? Do you only take insulin for diabetes after you go into a coma? Do you only go to the dentist when your teeth are so bad that you can no longer chew? Unfortunately, this is the approach many people take to their health in general. It is the reason most Americans are overweight and out of shape. It is the mindset that explains why America spends more on health care than any other country in the world and yet consistently ranks among the lowest of developed countries.
If you want the best health you can get for you and your family, stop thinking in terms of instant fixes. Stop thinking short term and focus on long term goals and the bigger picture. If your chiropractor recommends long term care and you don’t understand why, ask them. You may be surprised to find that the health of your nervous system affects everything, not the just the kink in your neck. When your dentist recommends yearly checkups understand that they are thinking beyond cavities and thinking of your oral health long term.
If you take a new supplement to help a certain condition, stop thinking you’ll take it until you “feel” better. A classic example is when a supplement is helping with a genetic issue. Your genes don’t change because you took the supplement. The supplement is helping your body with a genetic pathway that is weak. You may need to take it the rest of your life – like insulin for diabetes, dental care when you want to keep your teeth, or chiropractic when you want to have a stronger spine and higher energy.
Do this mental exercise for a few minutes. Imagine you are an older version of yourself. Imagine your future self’s energy and vitality if you don’t change anything. Now imagine your future self if you DO change what you already know helps. Don’t wait till you are there and wish you would have changed things now. Change things now and make that wish come true. Springtime is here and it’s a great time to start back on the path to that healthier future you. The time to start is now!