I walked to work this morning with my headphones on playing a guided meditation on releasing fear. Listening to the words gently urging me to break down the wall between my fears and my desires brought me a bit of clarity before I reached my desk and started my workday.
There’s nothing exceptional about this exercise. It’s the way I start my morning nearly every workday and I usually reach a high point of inspiration and creativity right up until the moments I begin the rhythms of work. That’s when I find myself getting lost in the mess of it all. This blog, my wellness coaching goals and all the rest remain behind that proverbial wall.
I’ve been in a bit of a fog the past several months. I’ve come back here at various points, celebrating a recent success or riding the wave of a specific emotion or inspired series. Throughout it all, I’ve felt a disconnect between who I was when I started this journey and where I am today.
I recently learned about the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, which is really just a fancy term for how we effect self-change over time. There are five steps to this process: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.
As a wellness coach trainee, I’ll admit that getting clients to the action phase and eventually maintenance is a major goal and ultimately what gravitated me to coaching in the first place. Seeing how people can change over time to build their self-efficacy and motivation towards achieving their vision for healthy living, and being a partner in that journey, is a remarkable experience.
Then I learned that getting clients to go from precontemplation to contemplation will really be the bulk of our coaching work with a small possibility that you can help clients move to preparing for their goals. Furthermore, this would take at least three to six months with careful planning and weekly sessions.
I was crushed. I thought I was going to change lives by getting people to the gym and improving their diets within weeks, maybe a couple of months. The fact that I’d spend most of my time encouraging clients to change their “I can’t” mentality to “Maybe, I can” seemed like such slow work that challenged my patience and admittedly, my selfish need to feel like I’m actually accomplishing something.
It’s no wonder that some of this fog that’s kept me from blogging has also clogged up the works when it comes to my coaching. I’ve lost sight of the bigger picture and I’m not holding myself accountable for the lack of effort I’m putting into the process.
This is starting to sound eerily familiar….
I remember what it was like when I was on the other side of the coin, struggling to lose weight and allowing myself to be discouraged by the lack of results from my yo-yo dieting and exercise habits. I also remember clear as day when my thoughts shifted from “I can’t” to “Maybe, I can”, and how much that impacted my choices from there on out.
If I were to apply the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change to myself and how much time it took me to go from phase to the next, it’d look something like this:
- 2 years to go from precontemplation to contemplation
- 1 year to go from contemplation to preparation
- 1 year to go from preparation to action
- And I’m still going from action to maintenance, 2 years after I decided to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle
My own process of behavior change has taken nearly 6 years and it’s ongoing. 6 years.
Ah, okay. See, where I’m going with this?
Part of this fog and disconnect I’m experiencing is a combination of fear and adapting to change. I’m busier now than I’ve been in many years, and this time I’m doing things that I’m actually passionate about, which is both rewarding and terrifying. The key here is acknowledging the change but not allowing that to blind me to my purpose.
I need to put on my big girl pants and start holding myself accountable for the choices I’m making to build my future. And that includes EVERYTHING; career, friendships, blogging, romantic relationships, my healthy lifestyle. All of it matters and all of it relies on my choices.
Another lesson in my wellness coaching is the idea of self-care. As coaches, we need to practice what we preach. Walk the walk and all that.
I truly understand how difficult it is to let go of lifelong habits and reshape your thoughts so that you can make significant changes towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s not easy, and I’d be doing everyone a disservice if I ever said that losing weight and keeping it off was easy. The same goes for life changes too.
I also get that so much of this process is personal and it requires a tremendous amount of dedication and self-awareness. Not to mention accountability. This is the true value of a wellness coach. It was foolish of me to confuse that with the flashier prospect of major weight loss stories.
It’s much easier for me to cut you some of that slack. I’m so much harder on myself. And I can imagine that might be the same for some of you who are experiencing these same challenges.
I brought myself here this morning to do something I never do. I’m cutting myself some slack for getting caught in the fog and allowing myself to amble a bit on the road. I’m telling myself that it’s okay I haven’t been as committed to this blog as I was a year ago.
I’m also saying that as much as I can forgive myself, I can also admit that my desire for change far outweighs the ease of standing still.
Revisit, revise, and reassess. More importantly, let the negative thoughts go and be mindful of the process. Cut yourself some slack, starting now. Give yourself credit for each step you’ve taken towards your goal, no matter how small it may seem.
In other words: Keep it simple, stupid.
Are you experiencing self-doubt on your wellness journeys? How do you cope with fear? If you blog, how do you get yourself out of a blogging rut? Please share your thoughts and questions below. I’d love to hear from you!
6 Replies to “Cut Yourself Some Slack Starting Now”
Tremendous self awareness and dedication are key. Every morning I wake up and ask to be released from years of condition that make me “think a certain way.” I have a lifetime of work ahead of me. But it will be worth it.
Absolutely Ilene. I told a friend yesterday that this is like shedding a skin. And we shed a LOT of it over time. That’s what change is all about. Why should we feel guilty for that, am I right?
Oh my goodness. This blog post sounds like exactly what I’ve been feeling lately as I transition from my professional career as a technical communicator to a personal trainer. I tried writing about it on my blog, but I think you did a much better job. I feel for you, honey, trust me, I am right at that same place as you, and I can totally relate. I’m so excited for you that you are discovering this about your new career-to-be and that you are cutting yourself some slack.
Thank you Bethany! This seems to be a year of transition, growth, and just all-around confusion. I feel like I’m in a perpetual dance; forward and back, forward and back. It helps to have such an amazing community of bloggers to talk to that are going through the same thing. From what I’ve seen, you’re doing an excellent job and I’m excited to see what’s on the horizon for you. I expect great things. 🙂 Thanks so much for all of your support Behthany, especially on LinkedIn!
Staying motivated is a constant struggle.
Blogging and building an audience is a struggle. Lack of progress makes it difficult to stay motivated to write.
I guess I’m in the contemplation phase. I’m trying to decide if I’m want to write for my business, my friends or my self. Different topics and different styles of writing.
As far as fitness, I’ve found the best way to stay motivated to train is to have races on my calendar. Specifically marathons.
Now I just need to sign up for one!