Self Coaching: How to Learn Habits for Long-Term Health
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Self Coaching: How to Learn Habits for Long-Term Health

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Self Coaching: How to Learn Habits for Long-Term Health

Posted 2 years ago

Brian Stanton

Brian Stanton

Author

Dr. Kevin R. Gendreau

Dr. Kevin R. Gendreau

Author and Scientific Reviewer

Expert Approved

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.

Diet

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. 

Sleep

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

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.[*]

Social ties

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. 

Stress management

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? 

Comments 21

  • DeAnna Lynn

    DeAnna Lynn a year ago

    We can do this!!!

    • StellarCauliflower846237

      StellarCauliflower846237 a year ago

      This article was helpful. I am looking for low carb high protein foods any help from those who have had success?

      • FavorableCauliflower826622

        FavorableCauliflower826622 a year ago

        Cauliflower pizza low-carb

    • ShrinkingJCB

      ShrinkingJCB a year ago

      My birthday is this week and it’s usually all about food! My goal is moderation and after my birthday to get on program

      • OutstandingAvocado269863

        OutstandingAvocado269863 a year ago

        I have little goals set. Losing 10% is my first goal.

        • PropitiousKale512885

          PropitiousKale512885 a year ago

          This is fantastic! For me, it’s accountability. I’m accountable for my actions and can be in control. Short term sacrifice for long term goal. Here we go….

          • SplendidCauliflower618029

            SplendidCauliflower618029 a year ago

            I am going for the gold, small steps at a time.

            • AmazingRadish354498

              AmazingRadish354498 a year ago

              Live it ….need to plan out my food

              • UpbeatKale300523

                UpbeatKale300523 a year ago

                Resonates with me, -you can’t outsource your health..

                • UpbeatMacadamia901080

                  UpbeatMacadamia901080 2 years ago

                  You're right. I do have skin in the game. I can do this. I am going to be successful.

                  • MirthfulAvocado666871

                    MirthfulAvocado666871 2 years ago

                    I love this! Thanks!

                    • Coach Alex Miller

                      Coach Alex Miller 2 years ago

                      Wish there was health coaching programs integrated with this app, like on other apps, so I could help teach people how I lost over 150 pounds! This article is spot on that it comes from within but it's always more fun with guidance & accountability

                      • SplendidRadish805103

                        SplendidRadish805103 a year ago

                        I can really relate to you because that is how much I need to lose.

                    • PropitiousArugula175206

                      PropitiousArugula175206 2 years ago

                      Thank you for writing this ❤️

                      • JohnnyR2

                        JohnnyR2 2 years ago

                        Good stuff. Thanks.

                        • deartraci

                          deartraci 2 years ago

                          OMG Thank you

                          • Shnell25

                            Shnell25 2 years ago

                            Thank you for this. I never considered being my own personal life coach. This is another level of inspiration!! This will be my weekend project

                            • HappyJalapeno86

                              HappyJalapeno86 2 years ago

                              How do I track my sleep?

                              • RousingMacadamia750415

                                RousingMacadamia750415 2 years ago

                                I use my Fitbit to track my sleep. It also breaks down the sleep cycles for me.

                            • Deberah

                              Deberah 2 years ago

                              Part of my plan is to keep a paper visual record. Is there a way to print my daily entries from Carb Manager?

                              • FortuitousRadish186902

                                FortuitousRadish186902 2 years ago

                                See