If you set goals to improve your health and well-being at the beginning of the New Year, you’re not alone. It seems that just as the calendar turns a new page, we humans want to do the same thing. As a result, at the beginning of the year, many people vow to eat better, get in shape, take more time for themselves or improve their physical or mental health in some way. However, if you head into January with plans and promises to make changes only to find that your goals have fallen by the wayside by the middle of February, you’re not alone.
That’s because making a change is hard, and it takes time for a change to morph into a habit. In fact, scientists have discovered that people go through a number of stages when they’re in the process of changing. Change begins with an idea, the thought that you don’t like this thing you’re doing; there is something you want to do better, or there’s something new you want to incorporate into your life. It then moves into a phase where you begin to really think about how you might make the change. Once your mind is made up, you begin to make plans for how you’ll actually make this change happen. And then you begin the hard work, which is actually implementing your change. In the short term, your new change takes a lot of thought, energy, willpower, and ideally, some support. After about six months of successfully making the change, it becomes a habit—something you just do. That said, scientists also acknowledge that people move back and forth between these stages, sometimes successfully changing and other times recalibrating or going back to the beginning.
The bottom line is that making changes that stick take a lot of work. But the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. A health coach can help you convert bad habits into a new and healthier way of life. They act as your personal support system who can guide you through making lifestyle changes that translate into better health.
A health coach –
- Can help you discover exactly what you need. They work with you to sort out where to begin and help you create concrete and achievable goals.
- Takes into account where you are in the change process and works with you. Whether it’s beginning to think about how to make a change happen or working to make one stick, a health coach can act as your guide and cheerleader along the way.
- Drill down and help you understand what’s blocking your progress when you stumble.
- Is a partner in change, and as such, they check in with you regularly—by phone, email, online meetings or in person. They’ll ask about your progress and problem solve how to overcome any challenges you may be having.
- Gives you a sense of accountability. It helps to know that another person will be asking about your progress.
- Will provide the encouragement you need to succeed and offer non-judgmental support if you slip up.
You also benefit from the experience and expertise of your health coach.
Health coaches generally work with clients in a number of areas that relate to their physical and emotional well-being, including:
- Mental health, such as stress relief or overcoming anxiety
- Physical activity
- Weight management
- Time management, especially as it relates to personal care
All of which can lead to increased energy and better overall wellness.
Some people may be hesitant to work with a health coach, thinking it’s self-indulgent or only for the very wealthy. But that can’t be farther from the truth. The real story is that working with a health coach can be a cost-effective way to lower your risk of developing many diseases significantly. Researchers have documented that people who were provided three months of health coaching showed significant improvements in their blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride numbers, blood sugar, weight, and heart and lung health.*
This year, instead of finding yourself discouraged because your New Year’s resolutions didn’t make it past the end of February, get some help. Helping you turn small changes into lifelong habits is what health coaches do. If you’d like more information about health coaching services at Vickery Health and Wellness, give us a call today.