“I want to make change, but I don’t know how.”
“I’m trying, but it’s just not working.”
These are comments that I hear on a regular basis; I consistently encounter clients who reveal to me in our early conversations that they feel a fire in their belly to make change, but don’t know how to actually “get there.” (On a side tangent, we never actually “get there,” because health is a continual journey until we step foot in the grave, but I could go on about this for hours and that’s not the topic of this article ;))
There are two amazing things about about this encounter…
– The client has processed through the fact that they are actually ready to make change – that is a massive step.
– They are talking to me, a wellness coach, so they are clearly taking action steps to achieve what they want.
I sense in clients that this concept of being successful with habit change feels elusive. People want the step-by-step guide on how to successfully create change in one’s life. Unfortunately, there is no guide and the journey varies from person to person, but there are a few key things that show up in a recurring pattern for those who make successful changes.
Understand your “why”
There are numerous books, podcasts and articles written on this topic. Simon Sinek created a major movement around this concept in his famous TED talk and his book, Start with Why, which focuses on finding your “why” in the workplace, but reveals principles that are also relevant to creating changes for your health.
There is also a principle out there called “the 5 whys” which encourages one to ask they question “why?” five times, to get to the core of the issue. That is the goal of understanding your “why”; to get to the core of your motivation. You’ll know you have gotten to the core when you find the emotionally-charged reason for what you want to achieve.
Find your “why” by getting to the emotional core.
Just as I mentioned above, one beautiful thing about receiving this question myself, is that the client is sharing their woes with a wellness coach. Share your struggles with someone – it could be your friend, it could be a family member or even a coworker who may be going through something similar – anyone you see on a regular basis that can respond back to your thoughts (so sadly your dog doesn’t count).
After sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone, find a professional who can assist you in making change – that could be a wellness coach, a nutrition coach, a personal trainer, a therapist, etc. Fair warning: Don’t get caught up in continuing to research solutions to the point that you make no progress. After you’ve done a bit of research into what will serve you best, make a decision and move forward. That is the only way that you will actually begin to work on the issue.
Create an accountability system of family, friends & a trained professional.
Take baby steps
Break down your goal to the point that it seems like climbing an anthill to be successful at each successive step. Make it easy for yourself. I want each weekly goal to feel so doable that you are almost tempted to say “but I can do more than that!” That’s when you know you will actually be able to achieve it.
Taking baby steps builds continual confidence that yes, in fact, you CAN create change in your life. Each baby step leads to the next and over time you will make significant and sustainable progress.
Take small steps toward success.
By employing these three tactics, you are beginning to crack the code on creating change in your life. The journey looks different for everyone, but when you feel like you are falling off the bandwagon, check back on these three things to make sure they are in place.
Happy change-making, my friends!
(And if you need professional accountability, you know where to find me :))