Today’s Top 3 ‘Writer-Downers’:
- Why you can lead a horse to water but can’t make them drink
- How to use the #1 tool to change that behaviour
- Why you have a moral duty to use this tool and ignore what the NHS might think about your recommendations
Getting patients to change their lifestyle can be tough, I support them with advice, videos and handouts, but ultimately I can’t do it for them. It’s one of the differences I have noticed between being a Chiropractor 3 days a week and doing full integrative nutrition with clients virtually 2 days a week.
If a patient really won’t change their lifestyle, I can still adjust them and make some changes and improvements. How successful those changes will be however and how long they will last will depend on how bad their metabolic status and lifestyle is.
I always try and shoot for sustainable functional changes (as you should) and as long as I have had a conversation with them explaining what could be possible, I can live with it.
[Clinical Tip: You do need to remind them of these conversations otherwise they tend to “forget”!!]
But when I am working 1-on-1 with clients virtually, I can’t do anything for them per se, it’s 100% down to them to take responsibility for taking action.
Which is why I developed the 10 Year Rule.
I ask the patient to consider where they think they will be in 10 years time if they continue on their current health path with their issues/symptoms/diagnosis.
I ask them to really think about what their health will look like and feel like if they allow the issues to carry on and deteriorate. What would the effect on their lifestyle be?
I get them to really think about it and feel it.
Then I ask them to think about what they were doing 10 years ago… What was their lifestyle like then? How did they feel then? How much energy did they have? How was their mood?
One of the ACN’s “Core Commandments” is “Beware patients normalisation, justification and rationalisation”.
A bit of a mouthful I’ll admit but it’s a warning to be aware that patients will take any number of signs and symptoms and try to tell themselves (and others) that it’s normal.
“I’m getting on a bit”
“I’ve been stressed”
“I’ve had a cold”
“It’s just a touch of Parkinson’s” – a patient actually said this to me :o(
It’s hard to accept that something might be wrong and people are scared of change.
They need to be (gently) shown the truth of where they are now and where they will be if they carry on regardless.
This has been very successful in helping patients make small but consistent changes in their lifestyles by considering not just their now but their future. The critical point though is not just to make them think about their future lifestyle but to actually feel it.
Logic sounds good to us, but as anyone in marketing knows, people buy on emotion and then justify with logic.
If you really believe in the care you are delivering, you have a moral obligation to help patients through Chiropractic care and by helping them take positive action with regard to their lifestyle.
Until I understood this, I would have felt uncomfortable with the idea of leveraging people’s emotions to take action. I definitely felt weirdly anxious telling people I believed they needed ongoing Chiropractic care.
I didn’t want people to think I was after their money and I’d been taught that GP’s and the NHS don’t like it when we encourage patient to receive care long term as its considered to be encouraging dependency. I find this hilariously hypocritical given the NHS’s addiction to placing people on medication for life due to symptoms of a poor lifestyle.
“Your blood sugars are up, try Metformin. Never mind the root cause or the lifelong dependency on drugs, just keep eating potatoes and take the meds.”
But I digress…..
These days, I use the 10 Year Rule in both my virtual nutrition clinic and my Chiropractic setting.
I drill down to where they are now and where they think they will be in 10 years time if they carry on as they are now looking back on where they were 10 years ago. Then with their agreement I am able to put together a plan to start their road to recovery.
10 years is short enough they can remember what they used to be like and long enough they can see how far they might deteriorate.
Your patients deserve Chiropractic care, backed by a good metabolic status so they can heal and recover.
Action to take today: Start using the power of emotion and the 10 Year Rule Order in your practice today. Remember the old marketing maxim: People buy with their heart and justify with their head. When it’s in a patient’s best interest, don’t be afraid to recommend a program of ongoing Chiropractic care – it’s your moral duty to do so.
And as always, don’t waste those valuable adjustments…