I have some funny ass friends. And when you have funny ass friends, you often get their unique, unfiltered world view. I was reminded of this the other day when I ran into an old friend on a walk. (Old as in we go back a long way and old as in we are both in our 50's). We were talking about how much harder it is to fight the midlife middle when you hit your 50's and how we wish we looked like we did 10 years ago when we wanted to lose 10 pounds.
She said her husband told her he was going to have "DSM" inscribed on her tombstone...Diet Starts Monday. With that attitude to start the weekend, she went on, you can enjoy all life has to offer knowing that you will reel it in on Monday and get serious. I told her that in my house, we call it "going out with a bang". We laughed about our rationalizations but it got me to thinking about how pervasive this rationalization is. Turns out, the hope and excitement that come with committing to a healthier way of living can be fleeting as the harsh reality of behavior change hits you square between the eyes. By Wednesday or Thursday, if you make it that long, your resolve starts to wear thin and when Friday hits, it's back to "DSM". Wash, rinse, repeat.
Making diet and lifestyle changes is hard, especially if you have years of the "I'll do it tomorrow" attitude. Not only do we need some powerful motivation, but we also need the confidence it takes to make it happen. If one or two of those is off, real behavior change is doomed.
So how do we move those two markers of success in a positive direction? First, we need to find out what truly motivates us to make changes. Ask yourself, "Why is this important? What are my reasons for wanting to make this change? What might happen if I don't make this change?" Finding out your true reasons for making the change is a key start. But what do you do next to make lasting change?
This is where a health coach can be immensely helpful. From the Coaching Psychology Manual by Moore, Jackson and Tschannen-Moran, coaching is described as "a growth-promoting relationship that elicits autonomous motivation, increases the capacity to change, and facilitates a change process through visioning, goal setting, and accountability, which at its best leads to sustainable change for the good."
Below are five ways a health coach can help you realize the vision of health you create for yourself.
1. A HEALTH COACH IS A BEHAVIOR CHANGE SPECIALIST
A health coach specializes in behavior change and collaborates with you to lend support and empathy without judgement as you find your own strategies and motivation for change. Your coach will encourage you to mobilize your own insight, strengths, support and resources to help you make positive, sustainable changes for a higher level of well-being and performance in your life and work.
2. A COACH CELEBRATES THE EXPERT IN YOU
The coaching relationship is a partnership where creativity and thought provoking inquiry will inspire and support you to maximize your potential. The coach is not the expert in the relationship, rather they work alongside you to empower and encourage, so you can make the right choices for yourself. No one is more of an expert on your life than YOU! Have you ever had someone tell you what to do and suddenly you feel a bit resistant? When you come up with your own strategies that work within your circumstance, you are more likely to have success with that change.
3. A COACH HELPS FACILITATE YOUR VISION OF WELLNESS
At some point, you and your health coach will explore your "vision of wellness". If life is as good as it gets, what might that look like? How might your life be different if you were able to successfully make the changes you've been wanting? What do you value? What is important to you? You will explore all the beautiful experiences and qualities that make you unique, and create a vision of health and wellness that motivates and excites you.
4. COACHES CAN HELP KEEP YOU FOCUSED AS YOU PLAN OUT YOUR GOALS
Your health coach will listen attentively and carefully as you create 3-6 month goals for yourself that will ultimately get you closer to your wellness vision. With this roadmap in place, together you will break down your goals into smaller pieces and focus on each piece week by week. Through this process, you will explore your motivations and your resources. You'll leverage strengths and past successes as you commit to the changes you want to make. You'll get in touch with your values and beliefs and honor those as you create your plan. Your health coach will help you connect the dots between who you are and who you want to be.
5. A COACH CAN HELP KEEP YOU ACCOUNTABLE
In the beginning of any behavior change, accountability can be a big thing. Your health coach is there to support you as you make the changes you want. They will encourage, empower, and help keep you accountable. They will gently challenge you to venture just outside your comfort zone. They will be honest and open with you. And throughout the process, the coach will respect and honor your choices without judgement. Over time, you will find that you start finding your own ways of holding yourself accountable.
If you've been trying to make lifestyle changes but feel "stuck", maybe it's time to consider working with a health coach. You have everything you need within you to make change, but sometimes it helps to have someone unlock your superpowers, to respect you and your choices and to see you as whole, creative and resourceful. And what a powerful process this can be!
Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed with all the stuff that you have to do that you spin in your tracks and go nowhere instead of making progress? Welcome to my world. Sometimes I expend so much energy thinking about all the shiz I have to do and trying to figure out how to work it all in, that it ends up robbing me of the joy of being present and keeps me from getting anything done at all.
I started thinking about what it actually means to me to have a "good day" productivity wise while also honoring my health goals and personal needs. A little ME time ain't bad and sometimes we have to schedule that stuff in too. I realized that I like getting things done but I don't have to get it ALL done at once. Progress over perfection is my new mantra. To that end, I created a little rhyme regarding 4 of the categories that are important to me to feel good about my forward progress.
I was inspired by the rhyme brides often use on their wedding day to ensure good luck. They are supposed to wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
Along those lines, I came up with my own rhyme for improving my productivity without the stress, and it includes these four categories:
Do something HARD, something TRUE, something BUSY and something YOU.
Allow me to break these down.
Something hard: This can be anything that takes energy, that is out of your comfort zone, or something that pushes you. It might be writing in your journal, creating a blog post, or taking a class that is challenging. Maybe it's having a tough conversation with someone. It might be something that isn't necessarily hard, but requires diligence and brainpower. We all have those hard things we have to do in life that often get pushed to the bottom of the list simply because they are challenging and possibly uncomfortable. Acknowledge that it won't be fun and do it anyway.
Something true: This can be something that is true to you, something that honors a value that you hold dearly. Examples might include spending a little time on a goal you have made or on something you are trying to accomplish that requires dedicated time. Maybe it's a meditation practice or spending time with someone special. It's time you dedicate to invest in something that is important to you.
Something busy: We all have a lot of these things. Cleaning out a closet, writing thank you notes, paying bills, or doing the laundry. These might be day to day tasks that simply aren't that fun and feel like busy work. But they need to get done. Sometimes, I'll set a timer and say I'm going to do something for 20 minutes and then stop. What usually happens is that by the time the timer goes off, I'm in a mode and I finish up the project. But if I quit at 20, and I'm still not done, that's ok too. I made progress.
Something you: This can mean anything but typically involves some kind of self care. For me, it was taking a yoga class. It might be taking time to listen to your favorite podcast or going on a long walk with a friend. Whatever it is that you need, do that for yourself!
I've found that when I break down my work into these categories and earmark my time for each, I feel balanced and accomplished. And what a great way to make progress in your day!
Thanks for stopping by! Info here will help guide you on the path to better health. I'll share my passion about health, fitness, nutrition, and finding safer personal care products as well as cooking, gardening, and raising chickens. You want it, I got it. ~ Leeny