Health coaching helps you make and sustain healthy changes
Have you ever lost weight—and then gained it all back? Been in a regular routine, and then somehow stopped going to the gym? Do you want to be healthier, but just can’t get started? A health coach can help you get unstuck and create a customized strategic plan of small, sustainable and realistic changes that work for you and your life.
Get ready: Change can be hard. So to increase your chances for success, it’s important that you’re ready. Your motivation needs to be strong. Your “pros” of adopting new behaviors need to outweigh the “cons.” You need confidence that you can do it, and you need to realize that it will take some time and planning. Health coaches help you assess your readiness to change.
Create a vision: Start with the end in mind. A coach helps you create a vision of who you will be once you’ve incorporated the healthy changes you want to make. You’ll explore answers to questions like these:
- How will you feel? (I’ll have enough energy to get through the day—with some left over.)
- What will you be doing differently? (I’ll be making healthy food choices and taking a walk three times a week.)
- What will you be able to do then that you aren’t able to do now? (I’ll be going up the stairs without getting out of breath. I’ll be taking less medication.)
- What will your health be like? (My cholesterol will be below 200, and my blood pressure will be within normal range.)
Next, you’ll look at where you want to be in three months. And then, you...
Get SMART about it! Your health coach will guide you through making one or more SMART goals: Specific, Measureable, Action-Based, Realistic, and on a Timeline. What will you do? How often? For how long? How can you use your strengths, such as being organized or a good planner, to help overcome any obstacles to success? For example, you may make a list of healthy items to have at home to support a SMART goal such as “I will bring a healthy salad from home for lunch on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week.”
It’s important that you leave your session knowing you really can achieve your goals. Your coach will ask you to rate on a scale from 0-10 how important this goal is to you and how confident you are that you will actually achieve the goal. Then, you go out and put your plan into action.
Track your outcomes: It’s important to get some measurements such as weight, blood pressure and lab results before you start and at intervals along your wellness journey. Tracking shows your successes.
Learn as you go: Next session, you’ll review your goals. What worked well? How did that feel? What did you enjoy the most about it? Did anything get in the way? What did you learn? What would you do differently next time? What percentage of completion would you give yourself? After that, you can set new goals for the coming weeks, adjusting along the way to make them fit you and your life.
Keep going: As time goes by, the small, sustainable changes you make should feel like they’ve become a part of your life that works for you, feels right and gets you to the point of no return—because your new habits make you feel so much better!