Specialising In Over 50s Health & Wellbeing
Face To Face Or Online Coaching
Chris Deavin, Health & Life Coach, Bsc. Dip. ACSM, PN Coach
Over 20 Years Of Coaching Experience
Don't try to do this on your own
"You are not an island"
In today’s coaching lesson I want to touch on two topics which fit nicely together.
Firstly I want to give you more of an understanding of what triggers your behaviours and secondly, I want to discuss how you can get help from others to support your efforts.
When you have an understanding of why something happens it often makes it easier to understand how to change it. Because most of the challenges behind improving your health relates to your habit patterns, it makes sense to understand what habits are and where they come from.
A habit is a way you have learnt to do something and then mastered it so well you no longer have to think about it.
Habits enable us to function in the world. If we didn’t have them we would struggle to do basic things like walk, talk and write.
As a child, you learnt to respond in particular ways to various stimuli. You gained an understanding of ‘cause and effect’. For example, if I turn a knob then a door opens. If I scream loud enough then my mum comes with food.
As we get older our habit bank becomes larger and we can do more things without having to think about them.
The challenge lies though when we find we have a habit pattern that no longer serves us, such as eating the wrong types of food at the wrong times.
These old patterns have formed your comfort zone and when you do something that is contrary to your comfort zone you experience discomfort.
There are few people who like being uncomfortable so most of us just revert back to our old ways. Hence, we achieve very little.
This is the challenge of change. To make changes that become permanent you have to be willing and able to step outside of your comfort zone.
How To Make The Change
With my clients I find there are two things that help them to do this:
An understanding of what is causing the discomfort
Support while they are experiencing the discomfort.
A way of helping you to understand what is behind your discomfort is the ABC Model of Behaviours.
A - stands for Antecedents.
These are the things that trigger your behaviours.
They are things that stimulate you to respond to particular events and feelings.
B - stands for Behaviours.
As a result of the Antecedents, you respond in a certain way.
These include what you do, i.e. the choices you make, the way you eat, etc.
C - stands for the Consequences.
These are the results of the Behaviours, what happens because of them.
Sometimes the ABCs are described as those things that happen Before, During and After.
When you begin to understand the ABCs you become aware that you can intervene at any of the first two stages.
You can alter the triggers or how you respond in order to get a different result.
But to do this you are going to be outside of your comfort zone and this is where you need other people’s support.
The Psychology Of Support
If you know a little about psychology, you might well have heard of a person called Maslow.
He did a lot of research into the motivation of people and he identified that we had some basic needs that we satisfy in a particular order.
The first is to survive, i.e. have food and water. The second is to find shelter so we are protected and kept warm. The third is to socialise; to have a feeling that we belong.
This need lies in all of us and is often ignored when it comes to people setting out to reach their goals. Working with others can provide us with significant support through the challenging times.
There are many people who do not want support from others and go about achieving things by themselves. If you are one of these then that’s great, just make sure you work with a health professional though, because this way you will get the advice and feedback you require.
If on the other hand you do need some social support but are not currently getting any, then you need to consider how best to do this. For some people it is straightforward, they turn to their spouse or partner, but for others, for a variety of reasons, this is not possible.
First of all, you can get a degree of support from a health coach, otherwise, choose whether you want help from one person or a group.
If it is the latter, then try and join one of the group health programmes in your local area. If you don’t like working with groups then try and find somebody who you can work with, research clearly shows that when we have the social support we achieve better results.
When working with a partner be aware that it is important that you must remember to work on the relationship as you would in any other situation. It is going to be a give and take.
When considering a partner think about yourself first, your circumstances, your personality, your goals. You want to find somebody who is similar to you and somebody you can trust and confide in.
So, to conclude, change is uncomfortable, you cannot stay the same and expect to get a different result!
To help you to manage this discomfort it is useful to understand the causes of it and enlist support from others while you are experiencing it.