by Kevin Wimbish, MS, Co-Owner of Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC
Note: This is going to be the first part in a series of writings pertaining to my coaching work. As such, you may notice a different focus from some of my previous writings from more of a counseling perspective.
Trying to build health habits in one’s life is something I find myself consistently discussing with people. As such, I have written some thoughts on things that have been tried and true for me as I’ve sought to build healthy habits in my own life.
- Accept that this is simple, but it’s hard. In our culture, it seems that we think if something is not new or cognitively complex, it is not good and valuable. I ask people to consider not whether they have heard something before, but are they Doing, what they are hearing. It’s not rocket science, but it is hard.
- Again, accept that it is hard. If doing a bunch of healthy things were easy, everyone would do it, and there would not be countless books, influencers, etc… trying to tell us all what to do. It’s hard. I’m writing this one twice, because it is helpful for us to fully accept and embrace this.
- Ask, what is my “why?” Is your “why” to i.e. exercise regularly because you want to feel better about yourself? Is it that you want to enjoy doing more with friends and family without feeling winded? Is it to help manage feeling nervous in the upcoming meeting? If you don’t know your “why,” whatever is more attractive in that moment (comfort, ease, pleasure, peer pressure, whatever) will likely eclipse you doing what you need to do.
- Be humble & learn. Ask people who know what they’re doing, how you can do that too. If someone in the gym has big arms, and I want big arms, that’s who I’m asking. They already are living what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Have accountability. Having a goal in one’s mind is okay. Written down is better. Spoken out loud to people whom you give you permission to ask you about it, even better. Not people who will bring you down. People who will honestly ask you about it, and if it’s not happening, will you help you figure out how to make it happen. Not just have a pity party, nor shame you.
- Set measurable, attainable, and time-bound goals. Where are things now, where do you want them to be, and by when? Make it so clear someone else could read your goal and check it off when it’s done. Getting more done at work is not a great goal. Getting a, b, and c fully completed for a certain project and given to the person who needs them by September 22nd is a good goal.
- Start small. Here’s what I mean pertaining to it being attainable. If you’re not doing anything at all pertaining to a habit, don’t set the goal to be Superman next week. Start small. Get some wins. Slow and steady is way more sustainable than trying to do it all out of the gate. The former is usually not as glamorous and doesn’t lead to great posts on social media about how awesome you are. However, it is what will increase the probability of it lasting, which is really what makes the difference over the long run. The latter usually sounds awesome, is built on emotion, some new fad idea, etc… and runs out in about two weeks. Start small and increase incrementally.
- When you fall, get back up quickly. Don’t beat yourself up. It doesn’t help, and usually leads to wallowing and doing the thing that you’re trying not to do (because that thing you are trying to stop often feels good and comforting in the moment.) You’ll likely mess up and stumble on your way to either breaking an old habit or trying to create a new, healthy one. Get up, brush off, keep moving forward.
- Celebrate wins. My natural mindset is of the “just keep grinding” mentality, but that can wear you down over time. So, I’ve had to learn this as it doesn’t come naturally for me. When you reach a goal, even a small one, take a moment to thank God, to think positively to yourself and recognize that you did that. It might sound weird, but it can give you fuel to keep going. It’s kind of like being a coach to yourself.
- Use your will to lead your emotions. You often won’t feel like doing the new, healthy thing. You’ll want to keep doing the old, unhealthy thing. That’s why you’ve kept doing it. It’s easy. It’s comfortable. It brings pleasure. Comfort is very powerful to keep us doing the same thing over and over, even if it is very bad for us. Don’t let not feeling like doing something be any kind of rationale for not doing it. Even if it’s a tiny bit of the new and healthy thing. Jump in. And jump in tomorrow. And the next day. A little more each time. Eventually you’ll feel weird not doing the new good thing, then you know something has shifted.
If you want more guidance concerning creating and sustaining healthy Habits in your life, please contact us at 828.692.6383, email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about our coaching services, or visit: www.summitwellnesscenters.com/coaching for more information.
Kevin Wimbish, MS, is Co-Owner of Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC. He provides Life, Leadership, and Management Coaching as well as Organizational and Team Consulting. He has received his training from The College of Executive Coaching as well as a certificate in Executive & Organizational Coaching from Light University, a division of The American Association of Christian Counselors Foundation.