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Building New Habits With Accountability by Donna Astern

Apr 7th, 2009 | By | Category: Wellness Coaching Guest Posts

This is a guest post by Donna Astern, of

officecoachingwomen“How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.”

Deciding to lose weight can seem like an overwhelming task with too many changes to implement all at once.  So some give up the idea altogether.  Others choose to turn their lives upside down with so many radical and sudden changes to their routine that, unless they are in a specialized environment like military basic training or a “fat farm”, they are not likely to succeed.

And still other people only make minor adjustments and are then discouraged by the lack of results and so they quit.  Many people who want to lose weight have tried many times to stick to a new plan and have a history of failed attempts.

As a coach, you want to help your client achieve his goals. Everyone needs encouragement and more victories in life! The coaching relationship is a wonderful way to bring both to the coach and the client.

In my case, I decided it was time to lose the weight and not wanting another failure, I enlisted the support of my coach.

My coach was ready to help me succeed, not just to lose the weight, but to build healthy habits as a lifestyle. Before we started to develop a plan, she asked questions to discover what my current habits were and what I had done in the past. It was important to know where we were starting.

We discussed food choices, water intake, exercise, sleep, and supplements.  We talked about what worked for me and what didn’t. As we set the action steps for me to complete before our next appointment, we talked about using an accountability tool to not only keep me on course, but to show me incremental positive steps.

It was a simple weekly chart where I could record my daily choices including how much water, how much and what kind of exercise, and my bedtime. At the end of each week, I emailed the chart. The focus was on what I was doing to build new habits, not what the scales said.

Seeing those choices spelled out on the chart was an encouragement to me that I was doing all the right things to lose the weight.  At our next appointment, we discussed the chart, and she pressed me on the areas where my progress was not as strong. Then my coach asked me if I wanted to make any greater changes for the following week.  She especially encouraged me to add more exercise days to my week, knowing it would help me build a habit.

Again I used the chart to record my choices the following week and emailed it. I knew she would be asking me about those choices and it helped motivate me to stick to the plan.

Knowing that someone is going to ask is a great motivator to not procrastinate or skip a step! If I thought about not exercising that day, I remembered that my coach was going to specifically ask me about it,

In addition to an accountability chart, you may consider brainstorming additional tools to keep your client moving forward – perhaps a walking buddy or an email report at the end of the day.

Getting healthy involves making changes in more than one area. Supportive checkups and accountability are key components of a successful transition to a new way of living.

One day after the end of our coaching arrangement, she and I decided to meet for lunch. One of the first things she asked me was, “So did you get your exercise in this morning?”  I had to laugh. Yes, I did, and it was nice that she thought to ask.

donna-favcrop-lowres-2inches-asc_3887Donna Astern loves to see people move forward with the unique plan and purpose God has for their lives. She is an apostolic prophetic minister who leads Destiny Spirit Apostolic Network. She and her husband reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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