This article is written for Evolving Wellness by guest author Therese Lean of ThereseLeanCoaching.com
As a health coach, I make it easier for people to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Going from unhealthy and sedentary to healthy and active is more than just a physical act, it’s behavioural.
We’ve lived most of our lives behaving in one specific way and going about our lives oblivious to our body’s needs that when we decide to do something about it we find much more resistance than we expected. Because most people underestimate the power of our behaviours, we name this resistance “failure”, our own failure to change. It’s my job to help people understand this and work with them to create a plan of action to bust through this resistance to create a successful and healthy life that’s unique to each and every individual.
Although this process can take anywhere from 3 months to several years, there are steps you can take right now to clear the fog that is our behavioural resistance and take charge of your health without feeling like you’re a fish swimming upstream!
1. Be specific!
“Health” is such an all-encompassing term that most people fail to think about what it actually means to them. When you don’t know what it means to you, it’s much harder to make changes because you don’t really know what those changes are. Identifying what it means to you personally will help you to figure out which areas are of importance to you. Does health mean eating unprocessed food and exercising? Does it mean taking time out each day to de-stress? Does it mean a clean bill of health at your yearly physical? Perhaps it includes going to Church or participating in other spiritual activities. Maybe it includes all of those! Take the time to sit and think about what being healthy means to you. What does it look like? Feel like? Visualize what your life will look like in the future once you’ve achieved all of your health goals and write that down. These will help focus you and keep you motivated down the road!
2. Get yourself educated!
Permanent change is near impossible without knowledge. If you’ve decided to cut processed food out of your life, you’ll have to learn how to read labels effectively. You’ll have to know all the ways in which the food industry can sneak in processed food without you being aware of it and you may have to change the way in which you and/or your family goes about purchasing food. Getting educated will not only make your changes more effective, it will help you to take control of your decisions and it has an added effect of creating motivation because you’ll think about it every day! Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to our health. There are many conflicting thoughts, processes and studies out there, so you owe it to yourself to know what these are and make the best decisions for you and your family.
3. Take baby steps!
Get that “all-or-nothing” thinking out of your head! To make a change permanent, take it nice and easy! Changing your behaviours is simply a matter of changing your habits so start with one or two changes at a time and don’t move on until they’ve become second nature! There’s no reason to try and change everything at once, you’ll find yourself with more confidence and motivation if you succeed in one or two things at a time. If you try to change everything at once you’ll just end up frustrated and overwhelmed which will lead you to quit. Besides, it’s the process of change that builds confidence and lets us reflect on why we’re making these changes in the first place. If it were easy, we’d all be poster-children for health! Taking it slow helps to ingrain the habits in our head and makes it stick permanently!
4. Create effective goals!
The most effective way to change your behaviours whether they be health related or otherwise is to create goals that will ensure that you not only achieve the desired behaviour but also help to inspire and motivate you each and every day. Having goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relatable, timely and knowing how to carry them out are keys to ensuring success and helps you to stay focused.
5. Don’t expect perfection!
Changing your behaviours, especially if they’re health related, takes time, determination and a lot of patience. Change is an evolving process and you’ll find that some changes are harder than others. Accept that you can’t do it all, but instead, that you’ll do your best! Perfection is impossible so give yourself a break and be proud of the accomplishments you’ve already made and work on how you can realistically make those changes you would still like to make.
6. Get support!
Change is hard but you can make it easier by getting a little support. Studies have shown that people are much more effective at creating a lasting behaviour change when they have support over going it alone. Think of the people in your life that make your life more positive and inspiring and ask them for help. If you can’t think of anyone, Google search communities that have similar goals or hire a professional like a health coach who will help you to clarify your goals and create personal and unique action steps specific to your own needs. A professional coach will give you the support, encouragement and kick-in-the-butt you need to keep on top of helping you to figure out your most important goals and fast-track you to success!
Incorporating these six steps will help to clarify your health goals and on October 27th I will be going into these steps in much more detail to help you out even more. At 8pm (EST), I will be hosting a unique online workshop that will teach you how to create, and execute, effective goals to get you hurdling toward success. All you need to do is come to the workshop with a goal you’ve been mulling about for a while and you’ll come out of it with a specific action plan that you can implement immediately and give you the confidence to tackle any goal you have in the future! Please check out my website – Therese Lean Coaching - for more information and to register for this one-of-a-kind workshop!
About the Author
Therese Lean is a dedicated Personal Health Coach based out of Toronto, Ontario. Through her own experience with health issues and obesity she discovered that good food and exercise are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, that it is our thoughts that need to change in order to make this lifestyle permanent. She dedicated her life to teaching this to others. For more information on how she can help you live your healthiest life visit her website: www.thereseleancoaching.com