What makes some people achieve there desired wellness goals and and others quit?
For years, I asked myself this question. I’d have some clients come in fully committed and ready to take on what ever program I gave them, and others with the same willingness quit after a few weeks.
What makes one change and the other quit?
I took on this question with more training. Maybe it was the program, and they didn’t feel or see the results quick enough, maybe the program wasn’t appropriate, or I needed more education on injuries and illnesses... what ever it was, I tried to find it.
After 15 years of teaching, I can tell you that lasting change (results) don’t come from a program. Any one will do (well sort of). Any reasonable, well balanced exercise plan and healthy eating plan will work. (The better educated the trainer, the better the results).
Lets look at PX90, or Weight Watchers, or Joining a Gym. Do they work? How many of you have tried one of these? How many have you tried this year? They do work, if you work them. Completing something consistently over a period of at least a month provides some change. Continuing on into the next 2 months allows for a habit to really form, and the mind set to change from a quick fix to a lasting, prolonged behavior that stays with you.
I’ve seen lot of people in the early years, pour out exuberant amounts of energy and will power to lose significant amounts of weight, only to gain it all back after a few months.
What happens? What makes someone change an another stay stuck? Change comes from our readiness & willingness to change. Change for good. I call it the tipping point.
We have all had times in our lives where we reach the tipping point in various situations. It’s when we get fed up, or are deeply hurt, maybe a tragedy has happened to someone you know, or maybe it’s an ah-ha moment. Whatever the situation, there is a point that you decide: I can’t keep doing this. I can’t continue doing what I’m doing.
Pain and Pleasure
Change is best made when someone has reached a point where their is more pain in staying the same, then taking action. This is when people are really motivated. If it’s more uncomfortable to live with yourself the way you are then taking action or doing something different, you will definitely take action.
Taking action is the first step, but this action comes from motivation (not inspiration). Your motivated to change because of the painful consequences of staying the same. This is a great place to start, but won’t get you out of bed for your morning run in a few months time. Without shifting into inspiration, you’ll be yo-yo-ing a gain in no time. So how do we get to leading with Inspiration?
We need to look at the big picture. First off, is this a good time to begin an overall on your lifestyle? Can you make the time in your life to cook, shop, exercise and rest how you will need to in order to follow a program.
Of course my answer is almost always “You don’t have time not to do this!”
But truly, many people try to begin a fitness program when they feel their worst. And they are feeling there worst because they have had a life out of balance. Something has been consuming a lot of time and/or emotional energy. Without addressing this, adding a workout everyday to the to do list, may not make much sense.
Wheel of Life
One of my favorite tools to use when life seems out of balance is one called the Wheel of Life. It’s really quite simple. First take a circle, and split it into a number of pie shapes, with each slice of the pie reflecting a part of your life that is important to you.
My wheel includes a piece of pie for: family, work, finances, spouse, home environment, personal growth, friends, health, and future goals. In each of the pie pieces I rank how I’m feeling, giving each category a rating of 1-10. 10 being that this part of my life is perfect.
We often focus our energy in areas of our life where we have the most amount of pain associated with not spending out energy there. So we spend a lot of hours at work, because if we don’t, we won’t have a pay cheque.
When these areas are out of balance, our wheel doesn’t spin smoothly. Our life becomes a rough ride. So the next step is to find balance in the areas that are the lowest on the list.
Begin with each piece of pie and write what a 10 out of 10 would be (if it where even possible). For example: a 10 out of 10 with my personal growth would mean I did my morning routine of meditation & appreciation everyday, I read something new everyday, I was applying what I have learned, I was taking a class or lesson with someone at least once a week, and had a conference or training coming up in the next few months.
This would be a 10 out of 10 day. Will it happen every day, not likely. But, I’ve become conscious that this part of my life is important, that in order for my life to run smoothly this area needs attention. I’ve identified what success really means, and I will now take action from this place to make change happen.
Action steps may be: sign up for a course, find a new yoga class to attend. Call a friend to join me. Pick up a few new books. Renew my meditation practice with a class, or a guided visualization. Put my journal in a place I will remember to use it.
I don’t have to run out and do all of this at once, nor will I get to a 10 out of 10 right away. If I have expectations of this process being perfect, or an all or nothing plan, I’ll end up right where I started from. Saying I should or I wish I could...
Consider this process with your health & wellness. It’s a process. In the Wheel of Life exercise when you get to your health piece, what looks like a 10 our of 10 for you, may be very different then the person next to you. Yours might be 2 workouts a week, and less sugar. Someone else's may be getting off a pain medication, or lowering their blood pressure. Another may be maintaining a restrictive diet, and working out every day. Keeping your goals in line with your needs and your values can make things stick.
Common situation where I see a client struggle with making changes that conflict with there values is an over giving mom. Her values revolve around family, giving, and doing for others. She can have the best of intentions, but if her workouts or nutrition plans conflict with her families needs, they will be dropped immediately.
Understanding what your values are is a complex part of coaching. (That I recommend everyone have during the initial stages), because it helps to have a coach bring to the surface things that are values, where they came from, how they shape your life, actions and beliefs, and how you work with them to achieve your goals, or re-examine your values and choose to change them.
I’ve included a list values so that you can determine what yours are.
In touch with
Part of community
To feel good
Relate with God
(Adapted from the Tru Values List from Coach University 1994)
Choose your top ten - words that choose you (not words that you should choose).
Then narrow it down to your top 4 values.
Once you narrow them down to your short list, consider the following questions:
Where do you think these values came from?
What positive experiences did you have where you received love or pleasure from this value?
How have these values shaped your life?
What actions do you take because of these values, that are not serving your higher good?
Are you living in harmony with these values - and if not, what changes need to happen?
Stages of Change
On any topic you can think of, we are in a stage of change. Recognizing the stage your at allows you to identify what is required to move forward, and often why you feel stuck or slip back into old patterns.
-No interest in changing, no interest in learning about changing, happy with current situation
-Know that changing would be good for them, but believes it would be too difficult/painful to change
-beginning to realize that maintaining current behavior is not a good idea
Realization that must change, but unsure how
Discovery session about how it feels, and accessing the outcome
Developing a new habit - first month of new habits, if success is achieved, if you start to feel good about new changes they likely continue
Maintenance - making the new behavior a regular part of a daily/weekly program
Long Term Success
- needs continued support, accountability and personal growth in order to stay on track
I know that within the first 30 seconds of my first meeting with a client if they will succeed or not. I know this because I listen to Why they must change. I listen to what is important to them (values), and listen to what’s going on in there life (is this the right time for a change). And finally, are they looking for quick results, or are they looking for a change in the way they feel, the way their life works, a change in who they really are?
It’s exciting to take someone from a place of frustration to a place of fulfillment. You can do it. Just take some time to get clear about where you are and where you want to go. This is a journey of self discovery, and the best part of becoming healthy and happy, from the inside out!