You see a year ago I had a solid plan in place for 2016. I was half-way through my Health Coach Training Program. I had a full-time job that I didn’t love but it allowed me to pay the bills and plan how I was going to launch my own business after graduation. I wrote up a business plan and a checklist of all the things I wanted to accomplish, both personally and professionally. I gave myself lots of time to accomplish things. I also felt healthy and strong for the first time in ages so while there were still many unknowns in my life, with my plan in hand, I felt like the world was full of possibilities.
To say that things didn’t go as planned would be an understatement! I lost my full-time job in February. Without the security of a steady paycheck, I signed up for a couple of business classes, pushed my own timeline up and dove head first into be being a Health Coach. My experience launching an online business feels a lot like riding bumper cars. I’d try something, gain momentum, crash into a wall, backup and start again. Some days I would have major breakthroughs and make some serious headway before being side-swiped by something else. When things stopped moving, and I found myself just sitting there wondering what to do next, I would hand the Universe another ticket and start again.
Then yesterday the ride came to a screeching halt. And for the first time in a year, I wanted to quit. I’d had enough. I was exhausted. I wanted a break from the doubt and uncertainty. I wanted to feel like I was appreciated and know that the work that I was doing was actually meaningful. But most of all, I just wanted someone else to tell me what to do because I didn’t trust myself to take the next step.
I did not sign up to study nutrition with the intention of becoming a Health Coach. I signed up to fix myself. I have spent most of my life fighting my own body. I’ve had everything from whooping cough to Scarlet Fever. For many years if someone so much as sneezed in my direction, there was a 95% chance I would catch a cold or the flu. I spent 6 months in bed my freshman year of high school thanks to mononucleosis and I have suffered through daily migraines for most of of my adult life. I did my first juice cleanse at 14 when, after 6 months of a daily low-grade fevers, I was told the fever needed to break or I would have to have my spleen removed. Turns out I was pretty attached to my spleen and thankfully my experiment worked. It was the first time I used food to heal my body and it set my on the path that I am still on today.
I understand the mind-body-food connection better than I would care to admit because I have lived it first hand for years. For a long time I made the mistake of defining my health in relation to my weight. Meaning it didn’t matter how I felt or if I was getting headaches, if I was thinner I was “healthy”. In reality, when I was “dieting” I was at my weakest. I would eat food simply to lose weight and therefore deprived myself of the nutrients it needed the most. I was also not looking at my health beyond what was on my plate, so I let a lot of outside influences control how I was feeling.
I’ve tried almost every diet out there, from being vegan to Ayurveda to food combining. I am extremely lucky because at this stage in my life I finally feel have a handle on things. I know what works and doesn’t work because I’ve learned to listen to my body. I also recognize that my health is a moving target and something that I will need to work on every day for the rest of my life. I’ve only had one massive migraine in the past six months, my chances of catching a cold when someone sneezes now are around 5% and I can’t remember the last time I got sick. I’d say that is real progress.
When I went to bed last night I was done. But then I woke up this morning to the sun was shining through my window and I thought “what the %*&#, Betsy?” Just like that quitting was no longer an option. To quit would be to choose the path of least resistance and I know in my heart I would regret that decision for a long time. I love helping people. While I did not cross off everything on my 2016 list, in many ways I have accomplished more than I thought possible.
As I look ahead to 2017, I though I would share the Top 5 Lessons I have learned over the last year as a Health Coach. Whether your own goals include losing weight, getting a new job, living a healthier lifestyle, or even starting your own business, I hope these will inspire you as you look ahead:
- Being “Healthy” is More than Just the Food You Eat: I would say that 90% of the work I do with clients has nothing to do with the food. You can eat all the kale in the world, but if you are in a job that is dragging you down or in a relationship that leaves you feeling alone, then chances are the kale is not going to help. Take a step back and look at your health as a whole. Sleep, exercise and self-care are my three favorite tools to help recharge me when I am feeling out of whack. Remember to feed your mind and soul just like you feed your body.
- Change Takes Time: And it’s not always easy. When setting goals we have a tendency to not be realistic. We say things like “I want to lose 10lbs in 2 weeks” or “I need to be in a new job in one month”. When we don’t meet those goals in our specified time we are more likely to give up because we haven’t seen the results. Stay committed, keep doing the work and the results will come.
- Everyone’s Journey is Different: It’s hard not to compare yourself to others when we are surrounded by “perfection” on TV and social media. Do not let other people dictate your story. Keep in mind that what works for someone else may be a total disaster for you. Don’t be afraid to adjust your approach or start again if something isn’t working.
- Cut Yourself Some Slack: When things go sideways, how do you react? Do you get mad and start beating yourself up? Do you withdraw and expect things to change on their own? It’s very easy to get upset when things don’t go your way (as illustrated in my story above haha). But sometimes the best thing that you can do is give yourself a pass. So what if you ate too much at dinner the night before or have a massive hangover the next day? Today is a new day and you have a new opportunity make new choices. Remember that this moment, right here, right now, is the foundation for your future. Use it to build something great.
- Start Somewhere: This is the #1 tip I give to my clients (so much so I designed a mug with the saying on it). It doesn’t matter how small the action, the most powerful step you can take is the first one. I often get clients that tell me they can’t do something now because they need to something else first. Usually they say they need to save money or lose weight before they can make a big change. Whether it’s making your coffee at home every morning or skipping dinner out one night out a week there is always something you can do today to help get you closer to your goals tomorrow. Just start somewhere!
There is no magic ball that can tell you what the future holds. Getting up and showing up every day is the only true given. While this year did not go as I planned in many ways it was better than I could have dreamed. I invested in myself and I saw the results. I know that I have created a solid foundation for my future and plan to build on that. I wish you nothing but the best in 2017. Dream big and if you need help, I am simply an email away!