When You Expect to Get Better. You Probably Will.

When You Expect to Get Better. You Probably Will.

When You Expect to Get Better. You Probably Will.

As one year comes to a close and another begins, people set goals and make resolutions. Losing weight, getting to the gym more often, or getting into "better shape" are all standard. These all require increasing your amount of physical activity. More activity is excellent for your health, energy levels, sleep, and mood. What is also needed is positive thinking and expectations to help you achieve those performance goals. 

Research has shown that positive expectations increase the chances of a good outcome. It's the old self-fulfilling prophecy; your attitude determines your situation approach. If you believe you'll be successful, you'll likely put in more effort. You'll be more willing to try new things, take some risks and keep trying after failures or setbacks. A negative attitude will likely mean that you'll take your first failure or setback as confirmation that what you are trying won't work or isn't possible and you will give up. Why waste time and effort on something that is doomed to failure anyway?

At Barkman & Smith Physical Therapy, our physical therapists are experts in human movement. They can help you safely reach your fitness goals and set reasonable expectations. 


We want to share some research that proves that positive thinking and expectations make a difference in rehab settings. A review of 23 articles looking at outcomes for shoulder pain found a few exciting things. First, patients who expected to recover and believed that they had some control of the outcome ended up doing better than those who did not. Second, optimistic patients were found to have less pain and disability after rehab. Third, patients who believed they would have pain and disability after surgery tended to have - you guessed it - pain and disability after their surgery. Research says that you tend to get what you expect.

We understand here at Barkman & Smith that our clients come from different backgrounds, experiences, and stories. We want to encourage you with this thought, "You cannot control the cards that were dealt to you, but you can control the way you play your hand." We want to care, value, and serve you toward developing positive thinking and expectations! We know that life can sometimes be exhausting. Nobody ever said it would be easy. However, there are some things in life, like your health or parenting say, that you just can't quit when you've had enough. You are not done. You have to find another way to push through. Be brave. Put in the hard work. Ask for help. We are in this together moving into 2022.


Your attitude is essential, but what about your therapist? There isn't much research specific to PT, but a study done in elementary schools might give us some clues. Two psychologists - Rosenthal and Jacobs, did a study showing that teacher expectations influenced student performance. They told teachers that randomly selected students in their classes were tested and found to be "late bloomers." These students were expected to show significant improvements in academic performance during the school year. When the students were tested eight months later, the teachers' students believed they would improve the most did.

Why? When teachers think students have much potential to improve, they hold them to higher standards. They teach more complex materials, don't settle for simplistic answers, and are more willing to spend time instructing and working with those students. It's pretty easy to see how this could cross over into a PT clinic. At Barkman & Smith Physical Therapy, providers believe you can get better. We would put more effort into designing your program. We would spend more time with you and push you harder than someone who does not believe. We value getting you back to what you love to do.  

To have the best chance for a good outcome, you and your therapist both need to expect one. You probably will.

When You Expect to Get Better. You Probably Will.

People think of PTs as the people to see after an injury, but a visit before you change your activity level could prevent injury in the first place. An evaluation by your PT will include an assessment of your strength, range of motion, and functional movement patterns - think jumping, running, squatting, carrying. Some PTs even like to use a standardized assessment, such as the Functional Movement Screen. All of the preparation can put you in the best position for positive thinking and expectations for 2022.

We have seen over the years, that the most common injuries from new fitness routines (starting around New Year's Day) are caused by underlying weakness, range of motion deficits, or compensatory movement patterns. Our Physical Therapist will find these deficits during your potential assessment. They can then prescribe exercises or movements to address the issues found and get you safely moving into the new year!

Our physical therapists are experts in exercise prescription and program design. By providing clarity, focus, and consistency with your physical regimen, you will be on the right path towards building positive thinking and expectations in 2022. We can help you create a routine specific to your needs, expectations, and goals that will progress appropriately and keep you on the right path towards good outcomes.

At Barkman & Smith Physical Therapy, we would love to help you in any way we can; please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

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  • De Baets L, Matheve T, Meeus M, Struyf F, Timmermans A. A systematic review is the influence of cognitions, emotions, and behavioral factors on treatment outcomes in musculoskeletal shoulder pain. Clin Rehabil. 2019 Jun;33(6):980-991. DOI: 10.1177/0269215519831056. Epub 2019 Feb 22. PMID: 30791696.
  • Rosenthal, R, and L. Jacobsen. Pygmalion in the classroom: teacher expectation and pupils' intellectual development. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968.