How to coach yourself to success

Most people want to change, but set themselves up with barriers so they can make excuses for not changing. You know the usual ones – I’m too busy, I don’t have time to cook, I can’t afford fresh food. I can’t give up sugar.

The key to success is to break down those barriers one by one. First, list all the reasons why your plans won’t work and then take each one in turn to explore. You can work out that these excuses – are just that – self-imposed barriers that are holding you back. After you have talked out all the reasons for not changing, you often realise it sounds a bit stupid. That’s when the light bulb comes on and you realise you need to change your mindset first. Often, this is where the help of a coach comes in as sometimes people can’t make the change in their mindset without help from someone experienced.

For many people, the transformation comes when they realise that it is harder to stay the same than to change. People often get something positive out of staying the same – they get comfort from the same routine or immediate gratification from eating food. However when that gratification is less than another gratification like feeling good or looking good then it doesn’t pay to stay the same. In other words, the pain of feeling bad, unhealthy or looking overweight outguns the benefits of eating the muffin. That’s when you know you’re ready for change – when you look in the mirror and say ‘You know what? I’m over myself. I’ll do whatever it takes’, to get heathier, lose weight or whatever your goal might be.

If you could do something about this barrier, would you be willing to change?

The next step, once the barriers have been identified is to break down the barriers in your mind. Examine your list of barriers and work out solutions for each one. If you keep coming up with new barriers or reasons why your suggestions won’t work, then you know your sub-conscious brain is not ready to change.

Many times, it will be assumptions or fixed false beliefs which are getting in the way. Such as a ‘fixed belief’ that you will fail (as usual) or that it’s too hard. Most people in their heads go from 1) I have failed at losing weight, giving up smoking etc before, therefore I ALWAYS fail at this. Or ‘I have NO self-discipline’.  These are fixed false beliefs or assumptions because you have not tried all the methods available, just a few that didn’t work. Let’s face it, all diets work for weight loss. The problem is that most people can’t follow them for long enough to make it work and that’s because they are often designed around the wrong science (but that’s another story). It’s important to recognise and break down the false beliefs that you have. You need to listen to the words that you say, either in your head or to other people to get a clue to your fixed false beliefs.

A simple way to break down false beliefs:

1) Identify the false belief. This is the most important step and needs to be recognised. Give yourself a big pat on the back, when you recognise your self-talk coming up with a false belief or negative self-talk.

2) Deal with the belief. Is it really true? All the time? Could you be mistaken?

3) Replace the false belief with a positive one.  You can do this, it’s not impossible. It’s not about self-control, it’s about making the right practical decisions which will switch off your appetite or give you the strength to achieve your goal. You will feel very satisfied when you realise how much negative self-talk is holding you back.

Work the problem

We can continually work on the negative self- talk while we also work on the practical solutions. Every time you hear yourself say a negative belief or assumption, you can call yourself out on it and challenge yourself in a gentle and empathic way. We all do it, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Just recognise it, laugh and give yourself a mental hug for recognising it.

Now we come to the practical solutions. How are you going to make more time for preparing healthy food? Can you share the task with someone? Can you get help with other tasks such as housework to give you more time? Can you let go some jobs which really aren’t that important?

Problem-solve each barrier until you have no more excuses. By now you are in the right mindset for success. But it’s a work-in-progress. There will always be times when the negative talk comes sneaking back in. At those times, you just keep repeating the process until it becomes second nature.

After a while, you’ll find you’re quite good at this. Your own success will have you bursting to help other people around you. You can get great satisfaction out of helping others to success too. And by doing that – you’ve just become a coach… Well done!