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Habit Stacking

Erin and PierreSo, your Chiropractor has prescribed a traction unit and stretches for you to do at home as part of your care. Ideally, these should become habits that are part of your daily routine. How’s that working out for you?

Habit-building is difficult! Our brain is wired to do what we’re familiar with or love doing. This is where “habit-stacking” becomes helpful.

Habit stacking means that you attach a new habit you want to develop to a well-established, existing habit. For example, for years you’ve been brushing your teeth every morning. Now set aside some time straight after brushing your teeth to do some of the stretches which your Chiropractor has given you. And maybe you sit down to watch the 6 o’clock news on TV every night. Leave your traction unit next to the TV remote so that you start doing your tractioning while watching the news!

  1. Start small If you’re intimidated by the thought of doing 15-20 minutes every day on your traction unit, start with two days a week for 3-5 minutes. Starting in small units makes the new habit much less daunting. Once the new habit has been established you can start building up to the time prescribed by your Chiropractor.
  2. Be specific and don’t overdo it A sweeping resolution such as “I’ll do all my stretches after dinner” is most likely a habit that isn’t going take root that easily. Be very specific about exactly which stretching exercises you plan to do and how many: “I’ll do 3 sets of head retractions on Mondays after doing the dishes, next Monday I’ll do 5 sets”; “I’ll do 3 wall slides on Wednesdays while watching the News.”
  3. Be realistic and accept failure In the beginning you might forget to include the new habit because it hasn’t “stuck” yet. Don’t be discouraged. Just try again. Or you may discover that your morning teeth-brushing time just doesn’t leave you enough time to add anything else. Pick another established occurrence in your day which takes place at a more convenient time — feeding the dog, for example – and add your tractioning right after Fido has been fed.

If you have any questions about the health or alignment of your spine or that of your loved ones, Dr. Erin McLaughlin and Dr. Pierre Paradis are here to help. If you live or work in Kanata and the surrounding area, contact us today or give us a call at (613) 831-9665.

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