Behavioral change is difficult and only by offering practical and achievable change in bite-sized units can individuals begin to move towards their health.
Here are some suggestions to help bridge the gap between the Health Professionals and those people who are looking to improve their health.
Top 3 tips for Health Professionals
- If you are offering rehab exercises, assume they will have a lot of trouble doing it since the compliance rates are an abysmal 25%. Ask about their context and work/life and offer practical suggestions that are customized to their life.
- Slow down and explain any technical jargon. Assume that people don’t know your stuff as well as you do and pay attention to any body language that gives you a clue that you’ve lost them. You can throw out a highly technical term to see if they’re in a pattern of smiling and nodding.
- Ask questions like, “Is this making sense?”, “Can you see yourself doing this?” or “Sometimes things I suggest are more difficult for some people. How would you apply this in your life?”
Top 3 Tips for Anyone receiving health support
- Think about the advice you are being given and how you can practically apply it within your context. If you can’t imagine yourself being able to do it ask your health professional for more detail or suggestions of how it could work for you
- If you don’t understand anything your health professional is saying stop them and ask them to slow down and explain. When someone speaks in a tone that assumes we know, we act as if we understand something when in fact we don’t. Don’t be shy. Pause them and ask “What’s pronation?”
- Enlist the help of your social network (family, friends, colleagues) to follow through on some of the things you need to do to improve your health. Whether that’s going for lunch time walks or eating healthier meals, it’s difficult to change if others don’t know what you need to do and ways they can help support you.
This is a constant work in progress for me as well and what we aim at with ThinkMOVE.
Let me know what helps you either as a Health Professional or as a person seeking to optimize their health in the comments below.