Changing behavior is challenging. And there are 6 stages (shown) we all go through in our efforts to change. So ‘action’ occurs only after pre-contemplation, contemplation, and preparation. So wellness coaching is a perfect way to explore where you are in the process, your reasons for changing, and previous obstacles. We’ll work work through these steps, strengthen your commitment, tap into your motivation, and move toward your goals. All the while we acknowledge the circular patterns of behavior rather than a linear ‘success or failure’.
Goal setting is a very effective way to make lasting change in your life and the following guidelines should help you. We all have plenty of experience with unrealized ambition however once you’ve spent the time and effort to identify what you want, the following will help fine-tune that for maximum effectiveness. I would only add that holding yourself accountable with either a coach ~wink 😉 or a trusted partner in your endeavor increases the likelihood of success.
- Specific – Be as specific as possible with goals. Leave no room for indecision, confusion, waffling, wiggling, or waning. Determine what you will do, how long you will do it, and when you will do it.
- Measurable – Determine how you will measure success for yourself. If you can measure a goal, then you can objectively determine how successful you are at meeting the goal.
- Attainable – Make your goals challenging but feasible. An attainable goal is one that you have enough time and resources to achieve.
- Realistic – Set yourself up for success by being realistic in your goal setting. Setting an unrealistic goal may result in disappointment or the temptation to give up altogether.
- Timely/Trackable – Determine milestones for yourself and a time frame to achieving your goals. Keeping track can help you evaluate your progress and stay motivated.
Or will you? No shame though, seriously – call a wellness coach like yours truly to keep you on task. See the article here
Sometimes these things come out of nowhere but in this case, I can understand that receiving both coaching and empathy makes it easier to stay with your resolutions, whatever they are.
“Rather than acting as cheerleaders giving facile encouragement, leaders of weight loss groups might serve their clients better by providing a more sobering description of the challenges participants face.”
I call it empathy, plain and simple but you can be the judge here
It’s not that I didn’t get the memo earlier in life. How can you miss the snarky references to women at all phases of their life right? it’s just that I was busy trying to keep all my plates in the air to really consider what the talk about mid-life was all about before it was staring me in the face. In retrospect, and why I’m writing this blog post BTW, embracing all the changes even earlier would’ve made it so much easier. So with the help of my Ayurvedic doctor Marcia, angel that she is, along with years of trial and error, I’ve eventually settled into a routine that’s made life far more enjoyable. Here’s a recap of my journey:
- All my hair, make up, shampoo, even my hair cut were no longer working, dangit!! Of course, you imagine that by your mid-forties or so you’ve figured out the best moisturizer for your face, shampoo for your type of hair, the most flattering make-up based on your skin, a haircut that works with your life and even a shampoo schedule. But I resisted the writing on the wall until I couldn’t and finally began all that experimentation all over again, admitting that what used to work now didn’t.
- My daily sleep and wake cycles-once I began having hot flashes at 4AM, I realized that going to bed late at 11pm or midnight put me right in the middle of my sleep cycle making me a crabby witch the next day, cursing my body…. which made the hot flashes worse and me even more frustrated and difficult. When Marcia first suggested a 9:30pm bedtime I laughed, not realizing she knew what she was talking about and that getting up at 6am allowed me to get so much more done before I needed to be out the door in the morning.
- My diet – I’ve always had a restricted diet due to one reason or another but the first thing the Acupuncturist (who I consulted with for the hot flashes) told me was the vegetarian diet had to go since my “blood was weak”. Wha??? And why was the pasta I’d eaten all my life sitting like a rock in my stomach? Why were the dairy products I ate so minimally making my scalp itch? Now the carbonation in anything (beer, tonic, mineral water, etc) made the hot flashes so much worse. Time to rethink the diet thing too! Who knew spicy foods made you hotter? I’m paying attention by now! The keto diet is working well!!
- My fitness regime had been vigorous in my attempt to stay one step in front of my young dance and yoga students but I was growing weary of flogging myself at the gym and decided instead to give the old ‘honor thy body’ a try with a better-rounded routine that incorporated balance into the mix. It was then I realized what this was all about-I needed a better balance EVERYWHERE in my life.
- My circle of friends and relations – I guess in an effort to get along, go with the flow, make life happy and bright for everyone else, I forgot to give much thought to myself which isn’t an uncommon theme for women. We are wired, plumbed, and acculturated to put others first, feed everyone before ourselves, and take the crust of the bread loaf. Most of us are pleasers. I realized I was the only one NOT pleased with this approach and now I’m ruthlessly reassessing.
- My spiritual practice-no longer could I just go through the motions. This stuff was hard and I finally admitted I couldn’t do it without help. But the help wasn’t where I wanted it to be – on the list of in-network practitioners. I’d tried all of them over the years and exhausted not only myself, but my bank account and my patience. I had no choice but to look inward for answers and stop fighting the obvious. I start to relax a bit more.
- My tolerance level for people, places, and other things-I just let go of the family members that taunted and bullied, the obligations that filled no purpose, the routines that were empty, and the acquaintances that had insinuated themselves into my life. By now I was appreciating all the changes and the power of this sacred transition.
- My leisure activities-in the past they were generally dictated by my children, their school, my husband, etc that left little time for the things I loved and did so little for the person I by now was trying to honor.
- My volunteer activities – with so many meaningless behaviors now gone, I chose two efforts I wanted to support and practice using my new-found boundaries with. Coincidentally, it’s when I realized the politics in this country needed everyone’s attention and I was ready to do my part.
- My boundaries-I finally have some and that really helps. My gratitude practice is working!!
For all the difficulty I’ve had on this path, I can’t regret any of it because of what I’ve learned about me. I’m not as pretty as I once was and my body doesn’t look the same as when I was younger. My hair isn’t as vibrant and men don’t look at me either. I can’t indulge in the food I used to and I sure can’t drink like the old days. I fall into that category of ‘invisible’ in our society even though I’m smarter, kinder, and wiser. But my energy is better than ever, I’m emotionally better balanced, and I like myself more than ever which isn’t what I thought I’d be saying many years into this journey. I’ve embraced who I am. Finally!
What you should know about resiliency
- Helps with overcoming adversity and adapting to change
- Allows us to go with the flow
- Mitigates stress, fear and self-doubt
- Becoming resilient takes time and requires practice
- Seek help if you aren’t making progress or don’t know where to start
What we know about the brain and how it works-these three are really mind boggling!
- Empathy for others is experienced as pain – the same neurons fire and cause suffering whether by direct or indirect experience
- Imaginary is real- the same nerve bundles fire whether you’re imagining or not
- Brain can’t discern between broken heart and broken leg-it’s all pain
Why we need resiliency
- Helps us rebound after loss
- Develops healthy coping mechanisms and tools to handle setbacks and stress
- Helps offset factors that increase your risk of mental health conditions
- Improves your ability to cope
- Improves inner strength and develops a stronger constitution
How to cultivate greater resiliency
- History supports modern findings that inner contentment is found by a regular gratitude practice
- Compassion for others also benefits the self by defeating fear and self-doubt
- Meaningful and altruistic activities help you feel safe and worthy
- Cultivating gratitude and compassion will serve you better than the pursuit of happiness
Additional helpful practices to cultivate resiliency
- Get connected-develop strong positive relationships, networks, and communities
- Set meaningful goals
- Recognize and learn successful skills and strategies from your experiences
- Understand that all things change
- Reach out for help when in crisis
- Develop supportive networks
- Take care of yourself
- Eat well
- Get healthy amounts of sleep, sunshine, and fresh air
- Practice relaxation, yoga, meditation, breathing practices, etc.
- Be proactive
Resources: Dr Amit Sood-Mayo Clinic