So, maybe you find yourself either denying that you need to improve some area of your health, or possibly you have tried again and again, but can’t seem to get there. Whether it’s your doctor, or a family member, or you see the writing on the wall if you don’t do something, awareness of this area where you need to improve your health keeps coming up. Well, you know you aren’t alone. Many feel defeated and just give up, while others eventually move on and try the next new fad or thing. The issue is that they never quite seem to get there, and they will likely suffer some consequences, whether now or in the future, of not improving their health.
If you are motivated to change your health, a health coach, who is experienced in positive psychology techniques, can help you find your why and tap into it. Here are some ways to move forward on the path to wellness:
- Examine the different areas of your life. Draw a circle and section it into sections, for example physical, career, relationships, spiritual, etc., and rate from 0-10. Identify an area where you have the most opportunity and the least opportunity for improvement. Do you have areas where you most satisfied where you may have one goal to bring it to move it towards a rating of “10”? Would that help to motivate you to work on an area of opportunity that you scored significantly less on? Or are you satisfied enough with that area and wanting to work on an area of needed change?
- Are you motivated and ready to change? Don’t underestimate the power of you! No one else can make you change. You need to want to change or it just won’t happen. A health coach will want to know how ready you are to make change because they know that this is essential to making progress.
- Reflect on why you want to change that specific area of your wellness. What will that bring to you if you change? What is your overall motivation to change…your why? Perhaps, your wellness motivation is to have a long life so you can spend time with your children, grandchildren. Maybe you want to be physically able to travel and check off your “bucket list”. What will be the outcome of improving this area of your health? How does it connect to your why?
- Identify the gap between where you would like to be and where you currently are. What do you see as your ideal self in this area? What’s the difference between where you are now versus where you would like to be?
- What negative thoughts and emotions do you feel when you think about what you want to change? Are you angry, sad, excited, etc.? How do these emotions hinder you in moving forward to work on this area of your health? What do you need to do to manage the negative emotions and bring forward positive ones? Work with your health coach to help you point out and manage these emotions.
- Meditate on the future and see yourself as accomplishing your goal. What does that look like? How do you feel? Write down what you feel or see. What positive emotions do you feel? Write them down. Tap into these positive emotions as you start working to improve your health.
- Practice and prioritize using positive emotions. Practicing positive emotions can be effective in helping you making progress on your health goals. What brings you joy or lifts your spirit that is not in conflict with your goals? How can you prioritize your positive emotions as you work on your health goals?
- Develop realistic and manageable goals. Write them down using the SMART goal format. S=Specific, M=Manageable, A=Actionable/Achievable, R=Realistic, T=Timely. A health coach can help you with brainstorming goals that are meaningful to you and build in strategies to increase your accountability.
- Leverage your character strengths. According to Niemiec, character strengths are positive traits that are core to our being/identity and our doing/behavior; they are pathways to well-being. Your character strengths are invaluable to helping you make progress. Your health coach can help you identify your character strengths and help you explore ways to use them to be more successful in accomplishing your goals.
- Keep learning. What information is out there that can help you better understand or find meaning and support you in accomplishing your health goals? Health coaches have many resources to support you along the way.
- Find trustful partners. Relationships and social settings that are not supportive can make it difficult to achieve your goals. A coach and supporting relationships can help you through the process.
- Track your progress. Writing down your progress regularly helps you see over time how you are getting to your goal(s). It helps you see over time that you really have made progress.
- Celebrate achievement. When you make progress in getting to your why, it is reason to celebrate even small achievements. This helps you continue to move forward and to develop further goals until you get to your ideal state.
- Manage disappointment. Coaches can be there to help you through the challenges of dealing with disappointment in not achieving a goal. This is expected and normal. They can help you normalize the reality of life and disappointments and work with you to get back on track, be more resilient, get back on track, and embrace your why to move forward.
Working on wellness goals is a journey inspired by your why. Expect that this is not a straight path and that you will experience ups and downs and bumps along the way. It requires focused effort, small steps, time, patience, support, and resilience. If you stick with it, and keep connecting with your why, you can achieve your goals!
Howard, A. (2006). Positive and negative emotional attractors and intentional change. Journal of Management Development, Vol. 25 No. 7, 2006, pp. 657-670.
Niemiec, RM. (2018). Character Strengths Interventions: A field Guide for Practitioners. Boston, MA: Hogrefe.
Niemiec, RM. (2014a). Mindfullness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing., Boston, MA: Hogrefe.