Is it Time to Make a Change?
There are lots of reasons to make healthy changes and with as much information as we are exposed to it can be overwhelming to think we need to make a change every time some new bit of health information comes out. Have you found yourself thinking I should pick up a new habit when…
The news does a story on the benefits of some new supplements to help increase energy
Your gym does a 3-hour ‘turkey burn’ challenge to make up for your holiday indulgences
A blogger promotes a new 14 day cleanse she purchased from a functional nutrition practitioner
A group of friends wants to start intermittent fasting after a new book was published on the health benefits
You see a new superfood item at the grocery store as an option to mix in your smoothies
This list could go on forever….
There are so many things that we ‘should do’ and ‘could do’ for our health. How do you know when it is time to make a change? How do you know which of these things you should add to your life? I’ve come up with some things you can ask yourself when considering what new healthy habits you should pick up and add to your life.
1. Has your medical provider told you to make a change?
This is a good reason (almost always) to make a change. Medical providers make recommendations for our benefit – typically related to increasing exercise, losing weight, or getting more sleep, they have the knowledge and experience to know if you are ready for a change and if you need one. You should always consult with your medical provider on any major changes you are considering.
2. If it wasn’t a medical provider, what are the qualifications of the person recommending it or telling me I should?
There are many health coaches, functional nutritionists, fitness professionals, and other “certified” providers willing to tell you what you need to do to get healthy. The health and wellness world is not well regulated when it comes to coaches. A true health coach will not be ordering labs and telling you to go on a detox, specific plan, or program. Often the educational programs that these professionals attend are online, not accredited, and lack the needed background education to be making recommendations for your health. Dig into the background of who is recommending and what exactly they are recommending.
3. Why do you want to make this change? What do you hope to get out of it?
What is your motivation for making this change? Is it something that you have been contemplating for a long time, and preparing for? Part of this is looking at the stages of change and knowing where you are at on the scale. The other part of it is knowing what your motivation for change is. Having an internal motivation (personal to you) rather than external (because someone else wants you to) increases your likelihood of success.
4. Do I have the capacity for this change right now?
This speaks both of physical capacity and mental capacity. Physically you may need to make space – for new running shoes, a new spin bike, and new groceries in your pantry. Your schedule might need to be reworked to fit the class you’ve been wanting to take or the extra meal prep you’ll need to do. These are all hypotheticals, but you get the idea. Mentally – do you have the space to tackle a new task right now? To hold yourself accountable and work consistently towards a goal so your investment (time or money) doesn’t fade after a week or two? This leads to our next question…
5. Is this a sustainable change?
We’ve all done it. There is a phrase for it. Bitten off more than we can chew. Goals are often easier to maintain when we take little steps and then build on the week to week rather than changing everything at once. Making sustainable changes increases the likelihood that they will stick in the long run.
6. Do I have support to make this change?
Support for making health changes is not a requirement for making them, but, it can increase success. Sharing your goals with your friends, family or a significant other can help hold you accountable and they can encourage you as you go. Many more medical practices are increasing their use of health coaches, building group programs, and providing resources for patients who are wanting to make health behavior changes. Even local gyms are building group programs with a foundation of motivational interviewing.
Answering no to a few of these questions does not mean that you should throw in the towel and not work on your health. But, it gives you a chance to check your heart and check in on your motivation for the change. Then you can do a little more planning to figure out how to b
est incorporate the goal/ change into your life so that you have the best chance of success.
If you need support for making healthy behaviors stick I offer a FREE 20 Minute Discovery Call. Click the button above or visit the COACHING tab to schedule.