Coaching yourself is really hard. The reason is that we are so involved in our own lives, in our own emotions, and it’s difficult to be objective enough to coach yourself. You can think of it in a scenario where you can see clearly what someone else should do to be healthier. But when it’s yourself, it’s difficult to do that because you’re so close to it.
But let’s talk about a couple of valuable things that you can do in terms of coaching yourself or your family.
Rather than being in your head, you can act, and you can observe how you respond. We’re often thinking about what we want to do, for example “I want to lose weight”. Go and do it! Interact with the world. Go for that walk. Try and change your diet. These are all things that we can learn from. Ask yourself, “Well, how did I find that?”. And get curious about it.
Curiosity without judgement
The core principle of health coaching that we teach in the Health Coach Certificate is ‘curiosity without judgment’. What does that mean? It means, be curious in a safe space for others. When other people are eating food that you might consider junk food, don’t judge them. Ask, “What do you feel like when you eat that? Tell me about eating that doughnut”. Create a safe space and you might uncover some really interesting insights. One of those insights might be, “When I eat it, I just feel like it’s the sense of deliciousness, and I do it when I’m particularly stressed.” Okay. “What type of stressors lead you to do that?” When you get curious without judgment, it unlocks so much richness and interesting information.
But people often have judgment. We are judging all the time and we don’t even know that we’re doing it. An example might be with your partner or your kids. You might say, “Why did you do that?”. It comes with a tone of a bit of judgment. It comes with a tone of ‘you shouldn’t have done that’. I’m actually not asking you a question. Try asking the same question in a neutral tone that says, “It’s safe, I’m here to learn. I’m here to understand you rather than judge you”. That safety is powerful.
Quite often we’re judging ourselves. We do it all the time. We judge ourselves about how we look. We look in the mirror and think we’re fat. Why do we do this? We’re looking in the mirror, and we think we’re not beautiful. We get our blood sugar measured, and we’re think, “Oh, the blood sugar’s too high. That’s bad”. We’re judging all the time.
If we can take that curiosity without judgment approach to ourselves, we can also unlock some interesting insights.
On my own personal health journey, I’ve been working with this lately. And I had a very interesting insight. I realised that when I’m angry, which is an emotion I don’t often feel, I actually eat really healthy. I exercise more and I eat less. Other times when I’m stressed, but without anger, I often comfort eat. I think that’s the mechanism that allows me to keep those emotions inside.
Now, I’m not advocating being angry all the time, but I learnt this interesting insight about myself and now I’m putting it into action. I’m putting it into action by eating a lower-carb diet, by walking and exercising.
Rather than thinking about it, I’m taking action about my own life so I can move forward.
I’m experimenting and I’m learning what works. I learned that when I have more consistent and the same type of meals, I eat healthier overall. I learned that when I’m stressed, I should go for a walk rather than go to the comfort of eating. I learned that my fridge should be full rather than my pantry. All of these things put together make me a healthier person, a more insightful person, a more in-tune person, and it also makes me a more supportive person, as a family member and as a friend.
Be curious without judgment for yourself, for your family, for your friends, for your community, and take action. Embrace the action. Embrace the challenge. You’re going to learn about yourself. You’re going to learn what works better.
With each step, think about being Healthy You today. It’s not about the destination at the end. It’s about the journey that you’re going through.
Dr Carlo Bellini is a Medical Doctor, a Coach and a PreKure business owner.
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Read more by Dr Carlo Bellini
- Health coaching – be ‘Healthy You’ today!
- Weight loss – if you make a mistake, don’t give up!
- How to be your own weight loss coach
- Mindfulness breathing exercise
- Amount of perceived control drives behaviour