A strong and diverse system of support is essential for success with any behavior change, minimizing the stress and maximizing the results.
One of the most powerful supports is the people who cheer us on, believe in us, hold us to our goal, see us through challenges, and celebrate our successes.
Who is the main support person on your current health and wellness journey?
Whether you know it or not – you do have a #1 supporter…. it’s YOU!
Oh no way! I can’t be trusted with THIS habit, you might say. I have tried and failed too many times to count. I don’t have the willpower to keep myself on track. I need to be accountable to someone, I need the structure of a set program or I know I will just fall off track and give up.
I find this especially common in weight loss and with exercise habits. After many attempts, our belief in our ability to succeed is diminished.
Here’s the catch though – without the true support of the one person who has been there with you, and will be there with you, for the entire journey (that would be you) all the external support can’t make up for not believing yourself.
Think about that habit you are proud you changed. How well did you support yourself? I’ll bet your own commitment to yourself was a pivotal part of the success.
Over millions of years, the brain has become conditioned to learning from negative experiences more than positive experiences. This kept us safe in the hunter gatherer days. But neuroscience tells us that when we update the brain to modern-day challenges, by training it to learn from the positive, there is an upward spiral, generating greater and greater strength, motivation and resiliency. With practice we can train our mind to talk to ourselves as a good and supportive friend would – especially in moments of challenge or failure.
This may not come easily, especially when our culture tells us we need to be hard on ourselves to motivate.
Research tells us that kindness is a much more effective way to motivate than criticism. As the American proverb goes ” You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. This is true with self motivation as it is with motivating others.
Even if you are skeptical about your ability to conquer your toughest health habit, simply building awareness of how you talk to yourself about it is a significant step in the right direction.
First, create a clear picture of what you want. Next, commit to supporting yourself in a positive way on that journey. Then simply notice your self talk – is it friend or foe? critical or supportive?
As Rick Hanson suggests in his book Just One Thing, ask yourself, Am I on my own side here? Start practicing the habit of talking to yourself as a good friend would in the face of challenge. Your supportive friend wouldn’t let you give up on your goal, but would remind you that challenges are part of the journey and encourage you to keep going.
Let’s all spend some time this week nurturing our best source of support for activating well-being. As always, please share your comments and experiences.
Spring can be an especially motivating time of year to work on healthy changes. There is just enough time between now and summer to shake off the effects of winter and be energized through spring. What healthy habits would you like to be reaping the benefits of by summer?
The science of health coaching is based on positivity research. The goal is for clients to expand the skills for being their own strongest foundation of support long-term, well beyond the coaching sessions.
In celebration of spring, I am offering 20% off three months of coaching for the first three clients who sign up by April 1st.
Contact me today to schedule a complimentary 30 minute initial telephone session. We will chat about what you want to achieve and how you can get there. If you decide this is the right time for you to use health and wellness coaching as a tool for success, we will create a plan that works best for you.
Feel free to pass this offer along to someone you know. Since coaching is done remotely over phone or Skype, friends and family anywhere can participate.
Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CHWC