Words I’m trying (haha) to gradually eliminate from my clients’ vocabulary:
1. Stretches (as in, “I did my stretches” or “I did your stretches”)
2. Try (“I try to stretch”)
Combined together, they usually confront me in this context:
Me, to client that I love dearly and want to get better so they don’t see me any more: “Tell me what activity you’ve done daily since the last time we saw each other.”
Client, who really is trying their best: “Oh, I walked some, and you know, tried to do some of your stretches a few times.”
I have done done a disservice to my clients. I haven’t brought the hammer down and/or explained in a way that has gotten through to enough of them how serious I am about daily movement practices. By allowing the word “try” to come into my assignments for them, I’ve allowed too much wiggle room. Of course you’re not going to do things that are new habits without sufficient motivation. That motivation can be that you’ve decided to do it. When I cut weight for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament I never get serious about it until I really DECIDE I’m going to. None of this in-moderation stuff when you have a real goal in mind.
My client homework is not a lot. It’s mostly about finding ten minutes per day to spend on themselves via actively checking in to the capacity and feeling of their joints on a joint by joint basis. It could really take five minutes, if they are truly at a place they view ten (TEN MINUTES! In a whole day!) as too much, five will do. This speaks more to the state of a person prioritizing everything above themselves more than it does about their joint health. The joint health is just a byproduct. I digress.
That which gets scheduled, gets done. It affirms the commitment, and allows us to tell other demands on our time that we’re busy. Doing something that we planned to do. Pretend that you’re as important as everything else in your life. Decide what time of day you’re going to do it and do it. There is no try. As soon as you allow wiggle room, you’re not going to do it. If setting a specific time doesn’t work for you, here’s my best recommendation: you’re not allowed to go to bed without doing it. Controlled articular rotations of your joints will help you sleep, anyway. Done right they have a moderate to high neurologically taxing factor. Which is why I have a weird thing about clients saying they “did their stretches”. But you know what, if they actually did their mindful joint circles every day and can show me what they mean, they can call it whatever they want.