Towards vs Away from:
I think it’s fair to say that with everything that’s happened (or not) in the last few months, we are all looking forward to some change.
The weather is (hopefully) starting to turn, the clocks are going forwards, lockdown is easing and the summer is on its way. Naturally this means we are all getting excited about the things that we are going to be able to do and we start to think of all the things we can plan.
I don’t know about you, but I love having things in my diary to look forwards to; holidays, concerts, days out etc.
On the surface of things, we can probably all recognise this in ourselves to some degree, but there may be a deeper psychological significance behind these habits.
I’ve spent plenty of time over the years reading about self development and spent much time with personal and business coaches and the most common things I’ve learnt is that to make long term changes, you need to have a clear goal and a positive mindset. We’ve talked about goal setting before, but what I wanted to touch on here, is the importance of getting there positively.
In essence there are 2 ways to achieve a goal; to move away from something or to move towards something.
Moving away from something is to avoid a situation e.g. being out of pain, losing weight, getting out of debt whereas moving towards something is striving to achieve an outcome e.g. being able to run 10km, weighing 70kg, having an income of £3k per month.
There is a big difference between “I want to lose weight” (away from) and “I want to be 70kg” (towards).
Unfortunately one of the main problems with moving away from something, is that there is no direction so the follow through, commitment and consistency tends to be very limited. Once the pain is gone, once you’ve lost 1kg or once you’ve cleared that credit card bill…then what? It doesn’t really get you that far, and the likelihood of slipping back into those situations is higher. The way you stop re-entering those situations is to focus on all the things you don’t want, which is a very negative place to be.
Contrastingly, moving towards something has power and by moving you towards what you do want the closer you get to your goal, the more incentive you have to push further and harder. It’s also far easier to stay on track to your goals as you know what you’re aiming for, so any bumps in the road affect you much less. This will lead to much bigger and better improvements in the long run and thus improve your overall quality of life. We see this all the time at Care For Health. Most people come to see us because they are in pain and discomfort. So when we ask what their goals are, the typical response is to be out of pain.
We aim to shift that mentality by asking “what then”, “why” or “what would it mean to be out of pain”? By doing this, we get to the deeper reason, the underlying goal of what one can achieve without a discomfort; “play with the grand-kids”, “run a half marathon”, “garden again”.
As many of you will already know, I often refer to the fact that as a Chiropractor the goal of care is not to get rid of pain. As much as I don’t want to see people in pain, the true goal of care is to correct and improve the connection between the brain and the body by increasing spinal function. Doing so will naturally to lead to many improvements, the most common being less pain, but actually the real towards is towards life……a much better one.
So next time pain strikes, keep your focus. What’s the end goal? Move towards it and get that better life as a result.
Dr Mark Fairclough