As a health coach, I have clients come to me with goals that really run the gamut of health. As you would think, many of my clients want to lose weight, eat better, or get in shape. But I also have clients who want to reduce stress, become more resilient, sleep better, or learn better time management. And when I look at health, I see all of these goals intertwined.
It is hard to lose weight if you aren’t sleeping well. It’s hard to eat better when you are constantly stressed and stress eat or crave comfort foods. It’s hard to get to the gym or do any kind of workout when your schedule runs you and you can’t manage your schedule. Regardless of the end goal, all of these have one basic thing in common. They must begin with the thought that YOU are a priority.
Health is not just the absence of disease but it is the ability to thrive in all areas of life- physical, emotional and spiritual. And this requires checking in with yourself, becoming mindful and self aware of what is going on with you and your body, and taking time to care for the areas that need support. In other words learning to balance all of life and still taking time for yourself. This is why, regardless of the goal, I have all my clients begin with the same basic action plan.
I have them begin the first week by choosing one of two very small actions:
- Choose a time that you can consistently and daily check in with yourself.
- Choose a small action that will move you toward your goal and do it for 5 minutes or less.
This may seem unproductive or not making any progress at best. But it is really laying the foundation of establishing the habit of making time for yourself. And it is action. It is just small actions that aren’t overwhelming.
Let me explain a little more. By choosing a time to consistently and daily check in, we are setting the foundation of a habit -repetition. This small habit of learning to be more mindful is crucial. In the beginning this may look like taking a moment to do some deep breaths, say a prayer, intentionally feel the tension release from your body, or listening to some soothing music. But it will eventually translate to being able to better identify when your body is stressed, how deep, slow breathes calm you, and energy levels possibly connected to sleep or eating habits.
By choosing the second option of a 5 minute action, this may initially look like just checking your calendar before bed or first thing in the morning, laying out workout clothes at night, or filling your water bottle and putting in the fridge each night. But later this becomes planning your weeks ahead, meal planning, being prepared to get that workout it and not having an excuse to not drink your water. Basically making it as easy as possible to achieve your goals. (More on that in a later post.)
To accomplish a goal you must have a plan. That plan must have action. But to start out those actions must be simple and achievable. And they must be consistent. This is the first step in learning consistent action. We can’t improve something that doesn’t even exist. But if we establish a habit, as small as it might be, we can build upon it.
My goal for my clients is not to just accomplish a goal- a one time event, and then have them return to a state of poor health. I want my clients to surpass their goals with actions that have become automatic habits. I want them to be able to maintain these new behaviors throughout their life. And to do this we have to start with small, consistent daily actions. Then we build on that.
Want to learn more about creating habits that will not only lead you to your goals but allow you to surpass them? Click here to chedule a FREE 20 min call with me to discuss how health coaching could benefit you.