It has been said that enjoying good mental, emotional and physical wellbeing is the very foundation of enjoying life at its best. Sadly though, most of us were never taught the life skills that we really need to make optimal wellbeing a practical reality.
In this book, I would like to help change that. I will show you how you can take some simple but effective steps to coach yourself to better health. In short, I hope to tempt you to have just a little more care and love for yourself.
We have become used to a world of quick fixes and instant gratification and it’s not unusual to find ourselves presented with a bewildering array of wellness guides, services and products, many of which offer us temporary fixes at best. It can be genuinely difficult to know which road to follow or which product or service might actually be of help.
Creating an improvement in your baseline level of wellness can be hard. Keeping that improvement can be even harder and yet you actually have a wealth of resources to help you, right within you. Resources that you probably don’t even know about. Resources that will make the process of change much easier than you could ever have imagined.
As a health and wellness coach, my role is to help you find and then use those resources, to energise your commitment to something better, to encourage you to take responsibility for your own wellbeing and in the process to take real and practical steps towards enjoying better health and greater wellness.
I’m not going to make it easy for you by giving you all the answers. I will be encouraging you to find your own answers and I will be showing you how in very simple, practical and sustainable ways. Together we will explore every step of the change process, from identifying the gap you wish to close, through to raising and sustaining the motivation you need to close it. All guided by a simple and easy to use coaching model.
I also want to help you raise your confidence in your own abilities to succeed and show you how to be clear about why you want to change as well as the reasons you haven’t changed up until now.
If you are already familiar with the coaching process then you will probably recognise many of the ideas presented here. They are, after all, nothing new, just tried and tested tools that can help you gain a vision of your better-self and then make that vision a reality.
I’ll begin by asking you to raise your level of awareness of what’s possible and then ask you to take responsibility for that learning by putting it into action. After all, we have all experienced or will experience challenges to our health at some point in our lives. Some of those challenges we can do nothing about. Perhaps we were born with them, or aged into them, or were unable to avoid them or heal them. But for most of us, most of the time, there remains a measurable gap between the level of health and wellness we currently have and our potential for optimum wellness. Sometimes that gap is easily visible from the outside and at other times it’s more deeply hidden within us.
This is not a book about miracle cures. It’s a book about enjoying your best potential so that even if you live with a serious illness or injury, my hope is that you will still find ways to enhance your wellness within the limitations of what can realistically be improved for you.
The tools and techniques I describe in this book, do work. I see evidence of that every day amongst the people I work with, but you need to use them, reading this book alone will do little for you. You must take action, otherwise it becomes like looking at a road map and magically expecting to arrive at your destination without making the effort to plan your route, or even get in the car. In other words, without some focused commitment on your part, your destination will just remain a daydream.
Change is seldom easy. It takes courage and being told by your doctor or even by friends and family that you should change often isn’t enough to actually get you there. But health coaching has a secret ingredient to offer you. It’s simply the encouragement to take a greater responsibility for yourself along with some practical tools to help you overcome resistance and actually move forward.
So as the pages of this book unfold I hope to be able to speak to that part of you that knows that it is possible to enjoy better health and to en-courage you to take what I hope will be the first of many steps towards greater wellness, whatever that means to you.
You can do it. I know you can and I’ll be here beside you to help you on your way.
IT’S YOUR INVESTMENT
In this book, I bring together the topics of health and coaching so that you can begin the process of coaching yourself to better health. In the first few chapters, I’ll be showing you how to make a conscious connection with what you value most about your health. Then I’ll show you how to use this information to create some useful and practical goals that can be used to guide and steer you on your path to greater vitality and wellbeing.
I’ll be showing you how your inner beliefs and self-talk can be harnessed to help make the changes you desire so much easier to accomplish. The finally, I’ll be giving you lots of encouragement to complete the activities and make all of this material as grounded and practical as possible.
This is a book about change and about enjoying something altogether better for yourself. It’s not just about making physical changes such as losing weight, or changing a habit; enhancing your health can also be about adapting to a different lifestyle after an injury, major surgery, prolonged stress, chronic illness or even a bereavement. Improvement is always possible. The question is, are you willing to do both the inner and the outer work necessary to achieve the changes you dream about?
To help you think about this a little more deeply consider how fit and healthy you would like to be when you are in your seventies and eighties? What will you look like? What activities will you still be able to enjoy? If you are already over eighty, how about when you are in your nineties?
It can also be very revealing to ask the people closest to you what they think of you. If you are brave enough to hear some constructive feedback about yourself consider asking either your partner or closest friends, what in their opinion would bring you better health. Ask them to make their answers as positive and constructive as possible.
HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM THIS BOOK
- Set yourself some scheduled self-coaching time each week.
If taking time for yourself is hard to achieve, then try blocking out some time in your diary and make sure that the people around you understand that you don’t want to be disturbed for a while. Even ten minutes of focused time dedicated to your wellbeing can bring you precious rewards.
- Take it one step at a time.
Remember baby steps are fine, just as long as you continue to make progress.
In each chapter I’ll be offering you some tips and short exercises, so that by the time you have finished this book you will have a clear direction to follow and a good idea of how to continue to coach yourself.
- Find a trusted friend or co-coach to work with.
If you can find someone who you like and trust to discuss ideas with, brainstorm possibilities and get support to achieve your goals.
MAKING USE OF THE ACTIVITIES
The exercises and activities suggested in this book aren’t new, or special. In fact, they are the commonly practised, everyday tools of coaches everywhere. What is special, is how you choose to use them. I hope that some of these exercises will become trusted and familiar friends to you. Whilst the remainder will also be able to prove their worth by teaching you something interesting about yourself. One thing is for sure, they will be of no value to you at all unless you actually use them.
All of the exercises are designed to get you thinking, to help you take action and to follow through on achieving really worthwhile results. Let them be a prompt for you to take better care of yourself. Of course, you don’t have to complete any of them. There is no one to judge you and there are no qualifications to be gained, just the plain satisfaction of knowing you have achieved something rather special.
So do yourself the honour of completing as many of these activities as you can. Make notes in the margins if you want to, or better still buy yourself a good quality notebook to act as a log book or journal so that you can take full advantage of what this book has to offer.
If you feel that you already have perfect health then good for you. I hope that you will still be able to draw inspiration from some of the ideas here to protect that level of vitality and wellbeing that you now enjoy. If on the other hand, you are simply not willing to change because you are too lazy to make the effort, or fearful of the life changes that might result from better health, then be honest about that and take responsibility for your decision.
Whatever your level of interest and commitment I hope that these ideas will help to inspire you, even by just a little, to take your first steps on the path to better health.
WRITING IT OUT
In many of the activities I’ve suggested I will be encouraging you to put pen to paper to help you recognise your thoughts and feelings more clearly. Some people feel that making written notes isn’t necessary and that they can make all the changes they need without completing the written exercises. In fact writing out your thoughts has tremendous value. It allows you to examine your actions and beliefs with an open heart and gives you a very practical way of getting information from the ‘back of your mind’ or the unconscious mind (where it’s fairly useless to you), into your conscious awareness where it can be used. Many people are surprised at the quality of the information that can come through in this way.
At first completing these exercises may seem daunting or even difficult because most of us are not used to expressing our innermost feelings, far less actually writing them down. But in my experience, those people who don’t take the time to complete the exercises achieve significantly less than those who do.
When you commit your goals to paper, especially when you actually write down a date for completion, you are in effect establishing a ‘contract’ with yourself and this can be a very powerful tool to keep you on track. I want to encourage you to have a go at all of the activities in this book, even if at first glance they don’t seem to be relevant to you. Do them anyway; you may well be surprised at what you discover about yourself.
So don’t cheat on yourself.
Make the time and take the time to complete these exercises. I want you to get the best value possible from working with these ideas.
Remember change can occur very quickly. It’s the not changing, that takes a long time.
“Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it.
If it is unstable, improve it.
If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.”