I had an experience this week which got me thinking about the importance of change talk. Especially the importance of truly identifying your vision for health. This is such an important change to make if you want to be successful in reaching your health goals.
For anyone who didn’t know, I am currently shifting career path to make my nutrition and health coaching business full-time. It has been a three year process of completing all of my training. In that time I have built my brand and website and started to take on clients. It’s not something that happens overnight. So right now I am in the awkward grey area where when someone asks me what I do, I’m not quite sure what to say.
Usually something along the lines of:
“Well.. I am an Engineer working in environmental protection. BUT I am also a qualified nutritionist and yoga teacher. I am trying to build my own business as a Women’s Wellness Coach”
Sounds confusing and wishy-washy right?! Recently I realised that this may be the truth but it is not the language which will lead to success. Neither will language like this lead you to your vision for health. Words like BUT and TRYING TO are exactly the type of change talk which keep us stuck early in the change process. They keep up stuck and unable to move on to action and maintenance stages of change (see below).
Stages of change
The word BUT suggests ambivalence, that is simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings towards something. In my case, between wanting to succeed in becoming a full-time Women’s Wellness Coach and being afraid of leaving my old career behind and stepping into something new and completely unknown. Using the word BUT keeps us retuning back to the Contemplation stage of change.
The word TRYING TO highlights the common loop that many people get stuck in. This is moving back and forward between Preparation and Action stages of change. This occurs when you are sure you want the change, you have the vision for health and have started to take action. Simultaneously we are lacking the self-confidence to really make the change last and keep falling back into old ways of thinking and behaving.
Lack of commitment
On top of that, my uncertain response to the question “what do you do?” is highlighting to others that I am not quite there yet and I am still attached to my previous identity. Recently I realised that if I want to build a successful, full-time business, I need to start identifying fully with my vision of being a full-time nutritionist and yoga teacher.
When people ask me what I do, I need to say that I run my own business as a Women’s Wellness Coach. And this is scary! Letting go of my former career and stepping into a completely new identity is pretty terrifying actually. Not only because of my own doubts, fears and insecurities but also because by creating a new identity you also have to deal with changes in how others respond to you.
In my case this is the difference between being viewed by others as an Engineer and as a Women’s Wellness Coach. On your journey towards your vision for health, it could be the difference between being someone who likes to stay up all night partying and a person who likes to get up early and practice yoga in the morning. Or between always being the one to suggest ordering takeaway on a Friday night to cooking a healthy meal with your family at home.
Our identify with others
Whenever we make a big change we always have to process the changes in how we see ourselves as well as how others see us. This can be a tricky stage to move past but it in essential to fully identify with the vision of yourself as the person who you want to become and allow your own view of the world and others’ to adjust accordingly.
The thing is, often we make assumptions about how other people will view this change in us. Unless we ask them directly for their opinion it is our own opinion that is reflected back to us. We project our own thoughts and beliefs onto the other person. When I believe others will take me less seriously as a Women’s Wellness Coach than as an Engineer. Or that they will think I am less intelligent or scientifically-minded, that is me thinking that and not them.
In truth, I don’t really know how others perceive this change and in reality, it doesn’t really matter. I am making this change for me because it aligns with my own core values. It’s the direction where I see myself thriving in a career that I love.
The same goes for changes that you wish to make for your health. You might believe that your friends will find you boring if you opt for an earlier night. Or that your family won’t enjoy the food that you cook at home but perhaps this is not the truth. Maybe your friends are also waiting for the opportunity to live a more active lifestyle. Perhaps your family much prefer the time spent cooking and eating together at home.
And even if they don’t, it is not your responsibility to keep others happy. You should find the inner strength and belief in yourself to make the changes that are right for you. The changes that will bring you more in line with your happiest, healthiest vision of yourself. What does this look like in practice?
Change talk in practice
The main thing is to watch your language. Look out for change talk that suggests uncertainty or a lack of commitment:
I want to.. feel more energetic and healthy
I could.. start eating more fruits and vegetables
I might.. think about walking more often
I’m trying.. to go to bed before midnight
Instead, replace them with strong statements that identify with the change you wish to make:
I am.. feeling more energised and healthier each day
I do.. go for a walk every evening
I will.. eat fruit or vegetables with every meal this week
I like to.. go to bed earlier and get a good nights’ sleep
So next time someone asks me that dreaded question “what do you do?”, I will smile and say:
I am a nutritionist and yoga teacher. I run my own business as a Women’s Wellness Coach and I write a health blog at Moon Life Yoga. I help women let go of chronic dieting to find true health, vitality and optimal fertility!
Sounds much better right? By aligning our thoughts and language with the identity we want to create for ourselves, we gain clarity and direction. When we use positive change talk, we are much more likely to remain committed to our goals, even during the challenging moments. Maybe take a moment to reflect on your own health or life goals and see where this idea of identifying with a change could apply. Consider how you could change your language to better reflect the person you see yourself becoming and your vision for health.
Over to you…
If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.
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