There are times when we all get stuck in the limbo land of ambivalence, where are desire to change a particular behavior is pitted against the comfort or convenience of the status quo.
“Change is not what happens outside us; rather change must first take root within us. “ -Ilia Delio
I have a confession to make: I have been shamelessly binge watching Queer Eye on Netflix this summer. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, five gay men, aka, “The Fab Five,” do a complete makeover on an unsuspecting man who has been nominated by friends or family. “The Fab Five” swoop in for a week and totally revamp his life, advising him on fashion, grooming, food, culture and design. They are compassionate and kind regardless of circumstance and the transformations are amazing and heartwarming. I admit I get teary with each episode. It is a feel good show.
This one-week transformation works for a 45-minute episode, but anyone who has tried to change a behavior knows that it is not that simple. I can’t help but wonder (and worry) a little about what happens to the transformed men once “The Fab Five” leave. Do they honestly change any previous behaviors? Do they stop smoking, suddenly start picking up their clothes, start cooking or now have meaningful relationships? The health coach in me would like to believe they have taken the first step and are heading towards lasting change, but I am not quite sure.
What about those of us not on TV? At some point or another, most people experience a gap between the life they want to be living and the life they currently have. Some aspect of one’s life does not align with who they want to be or what they value. So, how does one close that gap without the help of “The Fab Five?” For many people, health and wellness coaches can help them get closer to the life they would like to be living.
A health coach is a supportive partner who collaborates with you to define and reach for a higher vision of your life. Health coaching is not about giving advice, dumping information or providing therapy, but rather, it is a process of exploration, reflection of strengths, and identifying values and visions. While it may not be as glamorous or entertaining as a Fab Five intervention, a health coach will be your ally on your personal journey of change and hold you accountable to your agreements for lasting life change.
If health and wellness coaching sounds right for you, I 'd love to work with you! Contact me for more information about 1:1 or group health coaching. https://www.balanceandthrive.com/oneonone-coaching/
Or check out the International Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaching list of nationally certified health coaches in your area. https://ichwc.org/nbc-hwc-directory/
I recently had an appointment in a nearby city and had just enough time for the 2-hour drive. Because I wasn’t starting from home, I plugged in Google maps to insure the quickest route out of town. I had been driving for about 10 minutes when Google maps instructed me to take a highway I was unfamiliar with. I immediately disregarded the instructions and turned off the app. I have driven to this city a bazillion times and never take that highway, I reasoned. The traffic slowed to a stop and so I reconsidered Google maps. Switching it back on, I was directed to get off in 2 more exits. The cars plodded along and I grew exasperated by the traffic. As I finally approached the designated exit, I could see the cars ahead picking up speed. I concluded that the presumed accident was cleared and for the second time, ignored the advice to exit and switched off the app. I stuck with the road I was familiar with. Two minutes later I was mired in traffic again. A yellow sign flashed on the side of the road warning of an accident ahead. I turned on my app one more time and surrendered: I would take whatever route it told me to.
Now I might be more obstinate than some, but aren’t we all guilty of clinging to the familiar even when all signs are telling us it’s time to change? When it’s clear these actions or choices aren’t serving us well? We want things to be better and yet, we don’t want to disrupt our current life. We tightly hold on to what we know because it’s familiar and comfortable. Perhaps, it’s an unhealthy relationship, a dead end job or even the same old exercise routine. We get stuck in situations that are not ideal and we do the same thing over and over again and wish things could be different.
The detour took me to the middle of nowhere. Annoyed and afraid of getting lost in a remote area, I found myself getting more irritated and doubtful with each instruction to turn. When I realized my resistance only increased my aggravation, I decided to try to accept the new route. I willed myself to welcome the present moment and be open to whatever lay ahead. Suddenly, I saw the terrain around me as if for the first time. Bright green, freshly cut grass blanketed the rolling hills. Small hints of spring were evident in the budding trees and early blooming flowers surrounding a quaint little pond. I felt my tension slip away as I let myself immerse into the idyllic scene before me. This “new” way was getting me to my desired destination and it was also absolutely beautiful.
The total detour took about 5 minutes of my time but had a significant impact. It affirmed a simple truth. Taking a new route and breaking away from the familiar is not always easy. Like behavior change, it can be disconcerting, awkward and even disruptive. A new approach requires an awakening of consciousness. It is an invitation to make mindful choices that disrupt the status quo and usually requires giving up an old way of doing something.
In my recent blog, Follow Your Own Path, I wrote about taking your own path and not trying to live the life of another. As you find your own way, bring your adventurous spirit to try something new. It doesn’t have to be a life long commitment. It is a curiosity of what might be, an openness to explore and willingness to experience things a little differently.