How to Accomplish Something

In our clinic I frequently talk to our clients about goal setting. When I sit down with a new client, within those first couple of visits I want us to lay out some short term and long term goals. This gives me a clearer idea of what the client wants to create in their life, and it helps the client focus on what they want, not on the pain they currently have.

Now, invariably, most clients will respond “well my goal is to get rid of this back/hip/knee/neck/whatever pain”. I completely understand, that is the motivation that got me started as an Egoscue client back in 1999. But I explain to them, negatively based goals are great for getting into action and breaking inertia, but what we’re really going for here are positively based goals. Let’s not set as a goal something you want to move away from, let’s set something you want to move towards.

I’ll often use this illustration: have you ever seen on TV a space shuttle launch? Most of us have. When the rockets first ignite, the vehicle uses a specific kind of fuel that is designed to burn VERY hot and very fast. This fuel is what the vehicle uses to get moving, to get off the launch pad and through the intensity of the earth’s lower and more dense atmosphere. But then what happens when the vehicle gets to the edges of the atmosphere? It runs out of that fuel, it releases those fuel tanks, and it then switches to a different kind of fuel. That fuel burns more slowly, but for longer. It doesn’t need to provide as much thrust, that heavy lifting was already done by the first type of fuel. Now it needs a kind of fuel that will sustain it for a longer time.

Negatively based goals (“I want to get rid of this pain”) are like the first type of fuel. It’s VERY effective for getting people off their butts and taking action to make things better. It’s the primary fuel that brings a new client into our clinic. But what if that is the only kind of motivation the client has? Well, what would happen if that first fuel was the only fuel the space shuttle had? Yep, once it depleted that fuel, it would be left without any power and it would topple back towards earth, it would crash and burn. The same thing is true with our clients. If all they have is the first type of goal, then once their back begins to feel better, their motivation for continuing to work to improve their postural balance and integrity is gone. And now they stop consistently doing their Egoscue routine. Well, they stop until the pain then begins to come back and then they start up again. So they’re always drifting in this gray area. They’re better than they were, but they’re not where they really want to go and they don’t understand why.

I encourage our clients to set positively based goals so they have that goal to move towards. If the short term goal is “I want to be able to run again without knee pain” and the long term goal is “I want to be able to run a marathon with no knee pain”, now we have something! And when their knees start feeling better, these goals will fuel and sustain them as they continue to work to improve their health.

So, what are YOUR goals? If you are an Egoscue client, I encourage you to first set such goals if you haven’t already. Then once you do, share them with your Egoscue therapist and enlist their aid in helping you achieve them. Ask them to work with you to craft a plan to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. If you’re not an Egoscue client, I encourage you to still go through this process. What reality do you want to create in your life? Then, ask yourself what you’ll need to do to turn that goal into a reality. Then, ACT!!

I was going to write about this anyway, but I decided to do it this morning when I got the latest edition of the “Health Sparks” email newsletter from the folks at Learning Strategies. I’m going to copy it below because it takes a pretty extreme case and does a beautiful job of highlighting these principles. The woman below didn’t have a goal of “I’m no longer paralyzed”. She was thinking much differently than that. Her goals weren’t negatively based, they were positively based and driven. And then she created a plan and she worked her plan! And notice how comprehensive her plan was. She addressed the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of her being. It’s awesome stuff.

Here’s the newsletter, I hope it inspires and uplifts you as much as it did me. Have a terrific day!

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Welcome to Health Sparks
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Applying focused attention to seemingly “impossible” goals or dreams can lead to what some people call “miracles.” It certainly seemed to for Andrea Fisher after a terrible automobile accident left her comatose and without the use of her arms and legs.

When Andrea woke from the coma three months later, her husband immediately asked for a divorce. Andrea had been a happy and successful television producer, and now her life was turned upside down. Every neurologist consulted said she was quadriplegic and never going to get any better.

As soon as she understood the reality of her situation, Andrea set a monumental goal—to walk out of the hospital on her own some day.

Within a year Andrea was off the respirator. Within three years she stood up next to her bed. And within seven years she did in fact walk out of that hospital on her own.

How?

Every day Andrea focused on her goal and took specific action steps toward achieving it. She delved into the paperwork and preparations required to allow her a diet of holistic foods in the hospital.

She got regular massages and chiropractic adjustments. Even though she could not feel anything from the neck down, she knew they would be good for her body.

Each day Andrea spent time in prayer and meditation. She expressed gratitude for each breath she took, every beat of her heart, the good things in her life, and the possibilities for her future.

She went to work releasing her feelings of depression, anger, fear, frustration, and other self-defeating emotions that would arise. She also visualized daily, imagining herself working out, lifting weights, walking, riding bike, and all of the other physical activities she loved to do.

When she stood for the first time, Andrea surprised every medical doctor and neurologist. Later in her life she spoke at neurological conferences, and specialists around the world studied her case. They concluded that her walking again was a miracle, because there was nothing that could account for it.

But to Andrea it was no more a miracle than the fact that she could breathe or her heart could beat. She insisted she could explain every single detail of what she did to accomplish her breakthrough.

Imagine what you could do if you applied the same kind of focused attention to your health. Maybe your goal won’t take seven years to accomplish as Andrea’s did; it might take eight years—or just eight weeks.

Jack Canfield refers to this daily focus as the Rule of Five in our Effortless Success course. He suggests making a list each day of five action steps that will move you closer to your goal. Then check them off as you complete each one.

Be very specific in your actions. If your breakthrough goal is to achieve your ideal weight, one day might look like this:

My five action steps today:
Do morning stretches for 10 minutes.
Walk for 30 minutes.
Prepare a healthy, low-fat lunch.
Schedule an appointment for a massage.
Spend 15 minutes visualizing how I will look and feel when I achieve my goal.
The cumulative effect of these daily steps can be profound. Small action steps are manageable, and achieving them daily keeps you motivated and your momentum strong.

Whether your goal is to drop 50 pounds, run a marathon, or eliminate a lifelong smoking habit, apply the Rule of Five each day and see what “miracles” you create in your life.

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