“I want to lose 20 pounds by next year.” – Nutrition Client
This is a measurable, realistic, time-based goal. A coach is able to look at this, create a plan, and set action steps towards weight loss. Action steps are tailored to the client and are feasible; the nutrition coach would never set a client up for failure. Once the plan and action steps are established, the most important factor in reaching success is the client himself or herself. The client must follow through and demonstrate accountability. A coach lays the groundwork for progress, but no progress will be made unless the client makes conscious decisions and concrete action.
What is the key piece here? Not motivation, no. This requires digging deeper.
When we set goals, there is an underlying premise. Our WHY drives us day in and day out, whether motivation is high or low. Motivation waxes and wanes depending on our energy levels, current stressors, sleep quality, or even the weather. The difference between the success stories and the ones who “fall off the wagon” is their core truth. It bears no consequence if the temperature is below freezing and deadlines are weighing down at work if the why is stronger than outside influences. Even when there are short-term consequences, this WHY will overcome those. During an initial consultation with us, you will find that we identify your passions so that on even the most difficult of days, we will know what will keep you striving. This takes vulnerability, so I will share my WHY with you.
I entered healthcare knowing that for individuals to live prosperous lives, they must first be healthy. Without a doubt, my purpose is to promote wellness, not just the absence of disease, for my patients, family, and community. This goes beyond providing care, but rather, I should embody the vision of health that I aspire for all others to have. My WHY is my conviction. When I apply this to nutrition, I am conscious that the food I consume has immediate and durable effects on my body. The very day that I eat a well-balanced breakfast, I am energized and powerful with mental clarity. Moreover, the nutrients in that breakfast are used to build the muscle that I will use months later to lift a patient or hit a snatch PR.
A Client Story
One of my clients came to me wanting to lose 15 pounds and get back “into the best shape of his life”, just how he’d felt when he was routinely playing baseball. He was excited to be back in the gym and finding a routine, admitting that he had fallen out of exercise and eating well multiple times before. We reviewed what had worked well in the past, explored what his current nutrition habits were, and discussed current struggles.
I pressed him further, “Tell me your deepest drive for going after this weight loss and exercise goal. What impact will it have on your life?”
My client replied, “I want my son to look at me the way he looks at his mom.”
I fell silent, smiled, held back tears, and said, “THAT, my friend, is your vision, your daily reference point for doing all of the action steps we will create together.”
From then on, I remind my client of his son every time he struggles. It’s the spark that keeps the lamp burning.
Discovering Your Why
I challenge you to practice vulnerability with yourself. Take 30 minutes in a quiet space without distraction and a pad of paper, journal, or even a computer. Start writing- what are your values? Are you living each day to its fullest potential? What gets you so excited that you can’t stop talking about it? When you reflect on the past year, have you accomplished what you set out to do? What are you really good at? What do you want to be better at? What past challenges gave you a sense of satisfaction? Who means the most to you? Whom do you admire? What does the perfect day look like?
Go further, be vulnerable with your partner or best friend, and share the above flow of thoughts. Discover your WHY. Live it daily. Then, the motivation to get out of bed will be a trivial factor. Instead, you’ll be excited to wake up each morning, welcoming a new day full of potential.