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Motivation & Behavior Change

Motivation & Behavior Change

By Nathan Vassey, PT, DPT


The New Year is here and with it comes the urge to change. Maybe you want to get healthier, try a new hobby, or finally ditch that bad habit. But how do you actually make it happen? Drawing inspiration from The Happiness Lab Podcast, this blog post will give you tips and tricks to spark lasting change in your life.

Ditch the Inner Drill Sergeant

Sometimes we try to change by yelling at ourselves like a tough drill sergeant. But that rarely works! Instead, try being kind to yourself (AKA self-compassion). Ask yourself, "How would I treat a friend who wants to make a change?" Be patient and understanding, just like you would with someone you care about. By being kind and accepting yourself, you can create space for real change to grow.

WOOP: Steps to Change

WOOP stands for "Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan." It's a powerful tool to help you set goals and actually achieve them. Here's how it works:

1. Wish: Be specific about what you want to change. What's your goal?

2. Outcome: Imagine how awesome it will feel when you reach your goal. Close your eyes and picture that success!

3. Obstacle: Be honest about what might get in your way. What challenges will you face? It could be emotions or something concrete like needing a ride.

4. Plan: Make a specific plan to overcome those challenges. What steps will you take? What tools will you use?

WOOP helps you go beyond just wishing for change. It turns your dreams into concrete steps. Planning for obstacles helps you build confidence and resilience, making you more likely to succeed.

Tips for Success:

●      Change your surroundings: Make it harder to do bad habits and easier to do good ones. Put away tempting snacks, lay out your workout clothes the night before, download that language learning app.

●      SMART goals: Set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Don't just say "I want to be healthy," say "I will walk 30 minutes 3 times a week for the next month."

●      Small steps, big achievements: Don't try to do too much at once. Start with small, easy changes and gradually build upon them. Celebrate every victory, no matter how small!

●      Ask for help: Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who will cheer you on. Tell your friends and family about your goals, join a support group, find an accountability partner.

●      Celebrate Your Wins: Celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Recognizing your efforts will keep you motivated.

A Step Ahead Physical Therapy: Your Partner in Change

Need a hand on your journey? A Step Ahead Physical Therapy is here to help! We offer hour-long (unless a shorter session is deemed appropriate and requested by you), one-on-one appointments where we can help you set goals, overcome obstacles and get moving in a safe and effective way. Here’s how we can help you reach your goals:

●      Physical therapy: We can help you overcome physical challenges like pain, dizziness/vertigo, unsteadiness that might be holding you back from activities you enjoy.

●      Health and fitness assessment: see where you stand so you can see where to improve and track your progress.

●      Fitness programs: We can guide you if you don’t know how to be more active. We can create a program for you to perform at home, our clinic, or the gym.

●      Injury risk assessments: Let's prevent injuries before they happen.

●      Balance and fall prevention training: Stay active and safe!

●      Dry needling: Relieve pain and improve movement.

By combining the insights of self-compassion and WOOP along with the skills of a PT at A Step Ahead Physical Therapy, you can make lasting change. Visit our website or call us at (770-998-6636) to learn more for yourself or someone you know. Remember, change is a journey, not a destination.






Nathan Vassey is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and graduated from Mercer University in 2021. Nathan enjoys treating a wide variety of diagnoses and injuries especially runners after having been a Division I long-distance runner and private coach for individuals and teams. His treatments include a combination of manual therapy techniques, dry needling, and exercise prescription to teach people how to move better so that people get back to the activities they enjoy.


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