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Ah yes, January 3 and probably most people have already failed in their New Year’s Resolutions. If your one of them, don’t be disheartened. You are working against the forces of neuro-anatomy, neurophysiology, neuropsychology, physical forces, and both overt and covert social pressure.

There is no doubt that as we start the New Year, many of you have the best intentions to make this year better than the last. To lose weight, get fitter, become more organized, be more effective and enrichen your relationships, might be just some of your hopes for this year.

And yet, even with the best of intentions, you need to know is that will-power by itself often won’t work. Why? Because for however many years that you have been alive, you have been reinforcing nerve pathways in your brain, physical and physiological adaptations in your body as well as social and environmental constructs that will all work to maintain the status quo. Even your self-perception holds you back. The exponential growth in lap-band surgery is a testament to this.

You see, your brain and your body don’t have delete buttons. You can’t simply just erase memories and start again. Your thoughts, words, actions, experiences and perceptions, all leave a trace “memory”. As I so often say in the workshops that I present, you are a reflection of the way that you live. You reflect not just what you do but how you do it. In many ways, we are manifestations of our habits. So to change a habit we essentially have to change ourselves. Not easy to do.

As a physio, I know that many aches, pains and physical problems that people suffer is a result of incorrect postures and faulty movements habits that people have been doing all their lives. These lead to excessive or abnormal forces on body tissues and structures, creating micro-trauma which leads to tissue irritation, inflammation and tissue breakdown or degeneration.

I know that if I ask someone to stand differently or move differently, I have “Buckley’s” chance of them doing what I have asked. They can be doing it for a day or two but not forever. And yet, if I am to help someone achieve permanent pain relief or permanent improvement of their health status, this is what needs to happen.

One of my key learnings is that pain is the potent driver of human activity. You see it all the time. What do you do if you have hurt your leg? You limp. And if you limp for long enough, even if your leg gets better, you will continue to limp. Essentially, limping has become the way that you walk. So how do I stop you from limping? I teach you how to walk correctly with crutches so that you never learn to limp in the first place.

This principle of pain to drive change can also be used to your advantage. To help correct posture and movement, I tape people. This not only supports the injured tissue, hastening to heal but also makes it uncomfortable to stand or move incorrectly. The new correct posture and movement then create new behaviors which begin to forge new neural pathways in your brain. If the new, correct behaviors can then be reinforced over the next four to six weeks they can become lifelong habits, enabling you to experience less pain, better performance, and greater energy, for the rest of your life!

So the question is, as you begin the year full of hope of keeping your New Year’s resolution, what is your “tape”? What is your pain and how do you use that to your advantage? Is it the threat of the loss of your health, the loss of relationships, the loss of time, the loss of your …? Is it that you will be held to account by your accountability partner, whether that be a family member or friend?

Whatever your “tape” is, it always pays to take stock of where you are at, so that you can measure and track your improvement over time. Your improvement then becomes your reward and serves to motivate you, creating a groundswell of momentum propelling you towards your goal.

To help you determine your baseline physical health status, we are offering FREE Physical Examination for the month of January.

If injury or pain is holding you back from beginning your quest for better health, then we will throw in an injury assessment for FREE. So what do you have to lose except another year of your life not living to your full potential?

Call 1 300 BODYWISE (263 994) to book your FREE Injury and Physical Assessment today. It might just be the best New Year’s Resolution that you could make.

We look forward to helping you get your life back.

Until next time, Stay Bodywise,

Michael Hall Physiotherapist, Director Bodywise Health

Please note: * Yes, Bodywise Health is open throughout the holiday period

* Rebates are available through your private insurance extras cover

* For complex or chronic conditions, you may qualify for the CDP (Chronic Disease Program) allowing you to receive 5 allied health services each calendar year with a referral from your GP. For more information, please call Bodywise Health now on 1 300 BODYWISE (263 994).