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Alisha Oliver PT, December 7 2023

The Power of Atomic Habits in Physiotherapy

As we stand on the brink of a new year, many of us are eager to set ambitious goals for self-improvement. Whether it's striving for overall fitness or managing pain, the success of these endeavors is intricately connected to the principles outlined in James Clear's, "Atomic Habits". Let's delve into three key lessons from the book, exploring practical examples that tie directly to physiotherapy treatments and the pursuit of better health and wellness outcomes.

Lesson 1: Small Habits Make a Big Difference!

Clear's emphasis on the power of incremental improvements in daily habits aligns seamlessly with the success of physiotherapy treatments. Understanding that small changes, when compounded over time, lead to remarkable results is pivotal for achieving lasting wellness.  Whether it's a 1% improvement or setback each day, the cumulative impact becomes evident in the long run. 

In the realm of physical activity:

For Pain management:

To navigate the journey of physiotherapy, the "never miss twice" rule becomes crucial. This rule not only acknowledges the inevitability of occasional lapses but highlights the importance of swift recovery. Success is not about avoiding mistakes but about consistently getting back on track. It's a testament to the resilience that comes from cultivating discipline and embracing the power of small improvements.

Lesson 2: Forget Goals, Focus on Systems

The success of physiotherapy treatments hinges on a shift from traditional goal-centric approaches to prioritizing well-designed systems. Goals are like destinations, but plans are the paths that lead us there. Sticking to these well-made plans helps us build lasting structures that support our progress and personal growth. Success then naturally comes from the daily routines and habits we stick to.

For fitness: Rather than fixating on achieving a specific fitness milestone, concentrate on building systems that support your overall well-being. Consider establishing a workout routine as part of your daily system:

For chronic pain management: It's essential to shift the focus from immediate relief goals to building sustainable systems that contribute to your overall well-being:

By incorporating these habits into daily systems, a foundation for long-term well-being is established, where progress becomes a natural byproduct of consistent actions, leading to enduring success.

Lesson 3: Build Identity-Based Habits

The concept of identity-based habits introduces a profound layer to the physiotherapy journey, where transformative change begins with a shift in identity, making behavioral change more intrinsic and less reliant on external motivation.  

When you change how you see yourself, your behavior changes in a lasting way. It starts with deciding the kind of person you want to be and proving it through small victories. By focusing on your identity, you root your habits in a deeper sense of self.

For Physical Activity:  

For Pain management:

Building Better Habits: A Practical Framework

The process of building habits aligns seamlessly with the success of physiotherapy treatments, utilizing the cue, craving, response, and reward cycle. These four steps form a neurological feedback loop, known as the habit loop, providing a practical guide for building good habits and breaking bad ones.

The four laws offer actionable steps to help build good habits:

      1. Make it obvious: Establish a clear cue for your habit.

      2. Make it attractive: Associate positive cravings with your habit.

      3. Make it easy: Simplify the response to make the habit more achievable.

      4. Make it satisfying: Implement rewards to reinforce the habit.

For Physical activity:

For Pain management:

Conversely, if you were looking to break a bad habit, you would take the inverse of the four laws: 

      1. Inversion of the 1st law (Cue): Make it invisible. 

      2. Inversion of the 2nd law (Craving): Make it unattractive. 

      3. Inversion of the 3rd law (Response): Make it difficult. 

      4. Inversion of the 4th law (Reward): Make it unsatisfying.

Key Takeaways

As you embark on your health and wellness journey in the new year, remember that the key to success lies in the small, consistent habits that you cultivate. By applying the principles from "Atomic Habits" and tailoring them to your physiotherapy goals, you can create a sustainable and transformative approach that extends beyond mere resolutions.

Take the first step towards a healthier you by connecting with MOOV Physiotherapy. Our expert team is dedicated to helping you achieve your wellness goals and providing personalized guidance on integrating healing habits into your daily routine.

Here's to a year of embracing daily disciplines, building robust systems, and shaping your identity for a healthier and happier you. Start your journey with MOOV Physiotherapy and make 2024 your year of lasting wellness!

Written by

Alisha Oliver PT


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