Motivation and change are very hard…
Except that, ever notice how when you really really WANT to do something, like to get up early to catch a plane to go on vacation, your motivation and discipline are on point? That’s because you REALLY REALLY want it!
What if there was a way to get the SAME motivation you have for doing something fun, and apply it to your health?
It’s possible!! But we have to search deep down for the real reasons for desire to change, and then we have to connect those reasons to emotions that keep you going, no matter what.
See for most of us, we know that we SHOULD do something, and we might even care some about that thing we should be doing, but at the end of the day we don’t change because we don’t care ENOUGH.
As a health coach, it’s my job to find the deepest emotions connected to your desires to change, and to cultivate those emotions so that when it is O dark thirty and its time to get up and exercise, you have the strength, the motivation, to get moving.
In the behavior change world, we call these your “whys”
The why behind something and the emotion that’s attached to develops your most intrinsic motivation (motivation that comes from the inside).
This type of motivation is the best, the most compelling- the STRONGEST kind. This is the kind that will keep you from buying the ice cream, or going to bed on time, or getting up out of a nice warm bed to go jogging when you are two or three weeks in to a new health routine. Or when the health routine becomes work and you want to go back to your old ways- you use intrinsic motivation and your “whys” to keep you going.
You can think of intrinsic motivation as the voice in your head- the one that is constantly after you to “do this” or “don’t do that”
Ever notice how sometimes you feel forced to listen to that voice? That’s intrinsic motivation at it’s peak (and yes- it works both ways- you can be intrinsically motivated to eat the pizza or drink the wine too). Weirdly enough motivation typically carries a positive connotation, however it’s definition is very ambiguous.
Motivation is defined as “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way
So you can be as equally motivated to behave in an unhealthy was as you can to behave in a healthy way.
We are focused on changing your motivation to behave in healthy ways. We want to steer you from the couch and the pizza to the direction of the running path and the vegetables (sounds so fun, right?).
The opposite of intrinsic motivation is extrinsic- and this tends to be what people seek out when it comes to making health changes. Extrinsic motivation comes from the outside- the new bathing suit if you lose 10 pounds, the trip to a paradise getaway, dollars in a jar for every cigarette you don’t smoke.
The problem with this kind (extrinsic) motivation is for most people it doesn’t work well. Sometimes someone can get so fixated on an extrinsic motivator that it keeps them going regardless, but usually in order to stick to things when things get tough, we need to find the motivation on the INSIDE.
So we find the why- the real motivation to make the changes, then what do we do with it?
We set up realistic, attainable goals
We set timelines for these goals that are realistic- timelines that allow us to make these changes permanent, so they stick.
Then we set up our fail safes.
What are we going to do when things don’t go as planned? How are we going to manage parties and big dinners and traveling and all of the things that get in the way?
We set up fail safes to manage these things- healthy snacks in the purse or the glove box, eating a healthy meal before a big party, having a plan to deal with a buffet or a holiday dinner (even planning to NOT regulate ourselves- sometimes this sets us up for the most success long term!)
At this point, we have our whys, realistic and attainable goals, our fail safes when things don’t go as planned, and then we put it all together.
We write it all down- the what, when, where, why, and how of the plan. All on paper (or the computer). We know our time line- if we are trying to lose weight or quit a bad habit, when will we have accomplished this goal?
And then we work to stick with it.
We focus on things like small wins- the tiny day to day behaviors that add up to the big ones. Like switching one bad habit for one good habit at least once in a day. Or taking a ten minute walk, or even choosing a low fat version of something instead of the full fat.
We also focus on our strengths- who we are that is awesome and amazing (and no matter what you think, EVERYONE is awesome or amazing in some way- I PROMISE!). Find what you’re good at- and focus on it!
This is, in essence, how health coaching works.
I meet with my client, get to the heart of their problems and their reasons for change, the WHY behind the things that they want, and then we set up a realistic plan of action that helps them accomplish those goals.
We also work to make sure that they keep their hard work. What’s the point of putting in all the effort if you are going to throw it away a week after you’re finished?
We change the behaviors from the foundation, and build a stronger foundation on health.