Creating Change: A Health Coach’s ApproachFeb 28, 2023 09:00AM ● By Heather B. Habelka, MBA, NBC-HWC
Changing our nutrition can be emotionally charged. There may be feelings of shame from past attempts that fell short, a sense of overwhelm from not knowing where to start or paralyzing pressure from an all-or-nothing mindset.
In my work as a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, I guide clients to take a different approach. This measured approach centers on three guidelines designed to increase confidence, build momentum and drive lasting results.
To get started, focus on a nutrition goal you’ve been contemplating but have not yet started—or one that you’d like to get back on track with.
1. Create Your Wellness Vision
According to the Transtheoretical Model, lasting change happens from within and starts when we are truly ready. Connecting with our “Why,” which we call the “Wellness Vision” in the health coaching world, can help us take that initial first step and, just as importantly, support us and keep us motivated when we face obstacles along the way.
Here’s a powerful exercise that can help you connect with your Wellness Vision. Think about six, nine or 12 months from this moment. You’ve successfully made this change to your nutrition, it is now part of your day-to-day life. How is your life different? How do you feel?
For example, your Wellness Vision may include eating more veggies to support your health. Several months from now you may envision having more energy, feeling less bloated and receiving improved lab results from achieving this goal.
2. Focus on Small Steps
Small steps lead to big results. Next, focus on your Wellness Vision and ask yourself, “What’s one small step I can take this week to support my Wellness Vision?”
Perhaps it’s visiting your local farm stand, flipping through that cookbook that’s collecting dust, searching YouTube or adding a new veggie to your grocery list. Or it may be giving one of the classics a second chance.
For example, we’ve all encountered broccoli sitting lifeless on a crudité platter. Instead of eating it raw, try roasting it with olive oil and sea salt, and hitting it at the end with a splash of lemon juice. Or try giving it a quick steam and tossing it in butter or ghee and topping it with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
3. Be Patient
Taking steps to support your health takes courage. As you work toward your Wellness Vision, you may find yourself taking inventory of what remains to be done, or you may notice the voice of your inner critic growing louder. It’s important to remember, results don’t happen overnight.
In order to reframe this mindset and build on your progress, take time to reflect on the wins that you’ve achieved—the big and the small. Allow yourself to feel empowered by the new strengths and skills you’ve developed. Recognize where you’re feeling resistance and seek out support. Give yourself permission to make adjustments to your goals. Express gratitude for challenges and the lessons learned.
While setting measurable goals may seem small, simple or slow, the lasting results from creating a Wellness Vision can greatly impact our health and happiness. The key is patience and progress, not perfection.
Heather B. Habelka is a Connecticut-based National Board Certified Health &
Wellness Coach and the Creator of TheHealthfulKitchen.com. See Community Resource Listing, page 37.