There’s a reason you’re here today. You’re here today—reading an article on self-coaching because you’ve decided to take charge of your own health and wellness goals. And for that we applaud you.
Being accountable for your own wellbeing may feel like a daunting task, yet you understand that you can’t outsource your health. You know that if you don’t make your health number one, nobody will.
Sure, you can pay a lifestyle coach to help you achieve your wellness goals. And it can be helpful to have tactical and motivational support.
But in the end, it comes back to you. They can’t help you if you don’t want to help yourself.
Fortunately, you do want to help yourself. Let’s talk about how.
What It Means To Be Your Own Life Coach
The idea behind self-coaching is simple. If you want to improve your health, you need to take charge of it.
Instead of letting life come to you, you take the reins. You figure out where you need to improve, make a plan, and execute.
You can’t improve every aspect of your life, of course. That’s unrealistic.
The trick is to do what you can while accepting the rest. It’s possible to embrace yourself—faults and all—while working towards positive change.
If you’re not happy with your current state of health, that’s normal. All of us have things we’d like to change about ourselves.
The problem isn’t wanting to change, but the critical self-talk surrounding it. Imagine if we talked to a friend like we talked to ourselves.
Janine, you’re so stupid. Shouldn't have had that ice cream. You have no self-control.
They wouldn’t stay our friend for long.
That’s why the key to sustainable self-coaching is self-kindness. This doesn’t mean you lie to yourself. It just means that you treat your mind like you’d treat a child: with compassion.
True, the brain has a natural negativity bias, so this is easier said than done. But a little effort and a lot of forgiveness goes a long way.
Health Areas to Practice Self-Coaching
Self-coaching is a meta-skill. Once you take charge of your health, everything else falls into place. Let’s review some examples.
You set yourself up for long-term health once you get a handle on your diet. The goal of self-coaching is to become the kind of person who eats healthy—no willpower required.
Whatever ails you—whatever your health goals may be—getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night will help. Optimizing your sleep routine may require some discipline (aka, coaching) at first, but eventually, it will become habitual.
Exercise planning can be stressful. Should I do HIIT...lift weights...go for a jog...jazzercise?
Here’s a simple rule: be active every day doing an activity you enjoy. That will get you 80% of the benefits.
The formal recommendation from the American Heart Association is 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise with at least 2 days per week of strength training.[*]
But even just 5 or 10 minutes of activity per day can make a substantial difference in your health.
In one study, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work led to a significant reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.[*]
In one meta-analysis involving 77,220 people, researchers found that loneliness was linked to a 22% higher risk of death.[*] In other words, quality relationships and community are the foundation of a healthy life. We should work to maintain them.
Are you a type-A person? Apply your drive to managing stress. Take breaks, practice yoga, start a gratitude journal, or meditate. The more peaceful you feel, the better your life will be.
6 Tips to Coach Yourself
Ready to be your own lifestyle coach? Follow these tips.
#1: Make a plan
If you want to get somewhere, it’s good to know where you’re going. That’s why we make plans.
When you have a health-related intention, write it down. In one study, participants who wrote down their exercise plan were 2 to 3 times more likely to work out than controls.[*]
#2: Start easy
Here’s a common scenario. Someone gets super motivated, decides to change all aspects of their health routine (exercise, diet, etc.), and ends up falling short. Then they lose motivation and revert to old habits.
To prevent this from happening, start small. Change one aspect of your routine—say, cutting out refined sugar—and get comfortable with that change before moving on. Amassing micro-goals is the easiest way to win big.
#3: Design your environment
Make your coaching job easy by creating a healthy environment at home. If junk food isn’t around, you won’t be tempted to eat it.
This logic also applies to exercise, stress management, and sleep. For instance, you might use blue light blocking glasses in the evening to prevent nighttime disruptions in melatonin, your sleep hormone.[*]
#4: Reward yourself
When you reward a behavior, you reinforce that behavior. Just like you train a dog with biscuits, you can train yourself to live a healthier lifestyle.
Treat yourself for healthy behaviors, but don’t treat yourself with junk food or Netflix marathons. Make your reward congruent with your healthy identity. A massage, a hike in the woods, or a square of dark chocolate will do the trick nicely.
#5: Get support
A supportive community can supercharge your motivation. Not only do you get social rewards, but you also increase your accountability.
Want to be more accountable to a specific health goal? Simply relate your goal to others. You’ll be compelled to keep your word.
By the way, have you checked out the Carb Manager community yet?
#6: Track your progress
Speaking of Carb Manager, you’ll also want to track metrics along your journey to better health. Some examples will help illustrate.
Tracking macros can help you stay Keto and lose weight. Tracking sleep can help you get more ZZs and feel like a million bucks. And tracking meditation and exercise routines can help you form habits that will serve you for decades to come.
Your Health Coach Candidate
If you’re looking for a health coach, try looking in the mirror. There’s your top candidate.
This candidate is highly motivated to succeed. They’ve got skin in the game. They’re in it for the long run. And they won’t stop until you have healthier habits.
Are you going to hire them?