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One of the first classes that I took in my coach training was a wellness coaching class. I was messaging back and forth with my professor one day and expressed my apprehension about wellness coaching. I felt pressure as a coach to be able to produce the magic bullet for a client so that they would stick to their weight loss or other habit change. My professor said that is why she loves coaching so well because the magic of it is the process of each session being tailored specifically to the client, not trying to fit the client into a given program. The coach produces the expertise of looking at things a different way and with new ideas and the client is able to use their own expertise on themselves to make a change that zeros in on what is most effective for them. The magic bullet is the relationship, a wealth of techniques, the process, not giving up, and seeing things in a new light. The change process is complicated…
We are all different…what works for one of us to keep at exercising or lifestyle health changes will not work for another and even what works during one phase of our life will not work in another. Don’t let that get you stuck. I can’t tell you how often I have compared myself to others and heard others doing the same. We think what works for someone else should work for us and vice versa. We think it is so obvious what we need to do and yet we get stuck.
A couple of weeks ago, I finished the book, Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin. This was a fantastic book that laid out the author’s own journey for figuring out what worked for her and those around her when trying to make changes in their lives. (The book was so good that I listened to it once and then immediately started listening to it a second time.) This book is all about how different we are when it comes to making a change in our behavior and making a habit that will stick. Rubin takes the time to list out just some of the many techniques, compromises, and ways of doing things that can help us change based on who we are.
So instead of trying to fit yourself within the framework for what works from someone else, celebrate the fact that you are different. Ok, maybe celebrate is a little bit dramatic. But the fact is that you are different. Instead of getting trapped there, figure out what works for you. One of the ways Rubin suggests that we tailor how we go about changing our habits is to recognize how our personalities respond to our expectations for change and as a result how different things work depending on our personality.
There is no magic bullet. The change process is ongoing. Rubin makes a point of saying find ideas to help. Then try and keep trying until you find something that works. Take the time to read a book like Rubin’s that provides a wealth of ideas and information. Then try some. Don’t give up. Just because you have gotten side tracked or off the wagon by things you have tried before doesn’t mean that nothing will work.
I started working with a wellness coach a year ago as we were both getting started in coaching. I cannot say enough about the impact it has made on my habits and how I make health changes. I wanted a magic bullet for myself. But…there isn’t one. Recently, I was struggling with my eating too much sugar and I realized through a session that I was in a period of life where I was putting a lot of demands on myself. Instead of the demands being helpful I was feeling stuck and not caring at all about change. So I took a couple of weeks off of worrying about my eating. Instead I worked on increasing fun and play in my every day life, so that it didn’t feel like there were so many restrictions and demands. This helped me immensely. I was able to get past the stuckness. I was then able to have the energy and ability to find a way to improve my eating and meet an exercise goal that I had wanted to reach for a while.
As you are working on a health change in your life, stop and recognize the power of using many different techniques. Don’t give up. There is no magic bullet. More often it is a cocktail of things that help to move you toward a change and keep you there.