During your lifetime you'll come across many contradictions. There's a movement toward health and wellness, but McDonald's still makes billions of dollars each year. People say they want to travel but end up working crazy hours to save up enough money for their dream vacation that will never happen.
Chiropractors, myself included are no different. During our chiropractic seminars, I ask chiropractors, "How many of you get your spine checked once a week?" We all believe in chiropractic and therefore all hands should be raised - you'd be surprised how many people don't raise their hands. For those that do raise their hands, I pose another question. "How many of you recommend that your patient's have their spines checked once a week?" Almost all the hands in the room go down after that. Practicing what you preach isn’t easy. In fact, it may be impossible to do perfectly.
Understanding What Contradictions Do To Your Mind
When someone has a contradicting idea, their mind starts to fry. This can be something simple like, “I believe health is important” but “I just finished eating french fries.”
Your mind can’t comprehend the contradiction, as a result it has to go through one of two thought processes. The first: “I deserve french fries. I've had a long day.” The second thought process, when your mind is tackling a contradiction, is to conclude that one of the two ideas is false. Either you don’t believe health is important, or you shouldn’t have eaten that french fries.
Most people tend to rationalize because it is easier to justify mistakes than to use that mistake as a catalyst to start making a change. To get into the second mindset you need to start with the truth.
Start With the Truth
Resolving contradictions (untruths) can be hard since most people try to prevent contradictions in their behavior and their beliefs. So, if changing their behavior is too hard, they sacrifice their beliefs by lying to themselves about what they know to be true.
Simply ask yourself, "What is true?" Before factoring in your current behavior or mindset, answer this question based on your personal experience and knowledge. If you feel french fries are bad for you, recognize this first.
Even if you're powerless to change the truth, it is important to recognize it. You might hate the cold, but be completely financially committed to staying in a cold area for work. That’s alright, it’s better to know the truth of your position than to constantly lie to yourself that it isn’t so bad. Remind yourself of the truth about why you're there in the first place or why fries are bad, and the truth will help to get you into the mindset to make a change. Once you're in the proper mindset, you need to change your habits.
Change Your Habits
Changing habits can be difficult, especially when the habit has been interlinked into much of your life and your thinking. It can be even more difficult to change habits that are based on more than just behavior. A job isn’t just a habit, it’s also a financial commitment.
However, practicing what you believe becomes significantly easier once you've realized the truth of the situation. If you recognize the truth, you will slowly adjust your behavior and life to line up with what you believe to be true, even if it is hard to accomplish at first.
At the end of every chiropractic seminar, we tell chiropractors to take things in stride. It takes time and focus to shift behaviors. If you are trying to change everything at once you will eventually become too overwhelmed to actually make a change. Pick one or two habits you would like to change and focus on those first. Once your habits line up with your beliefs, you'll find most aspects of your chiropractic practice and your life a lot easier to manage.