The Business Dietitian–4 points on shedding excess habits


When I coach someone, the goal is often a behavioural change, similar to changing a food or tobacco craving. Although I can’t lose someone else’s weight or kick their habit, I can usually help guide them to be better than they are, change some patterns, and ultimately improve their presence.

The ideal time to use a coach is when you (or others) admit that some behaviours are preventing you from moving towards your the next steps. The goal is to agree on a couple of patterns which are tripping you up, and try to accentuate some of your more positive behaviours. That’s more than enough.

When people diet, one major focus is to change their appearance, and consequently how they feel about themselves.

A crash diet and quick weight loss isn’t hard. The same is true for behaviour. One can shed an ‘excess’ type of behaviour quickly. The question is whether it lasts.

Many times we return to old and comfortable, albeit negative, habits after a period of diet, exercise and/or coaching. The weight creeps back, and behaviours we had under control for a period of time again surface.

Why? Easy.

We’ve proven we can do it, we’ve made our short term point. The goal was do-able, and we did it. So let’s celebrate.

If you want to alter your behaviour and image long term, remember it takes time. Changing your intake or your actions don’t happen quickly. It is habit until it is part of who you are. And besides, even when you do change your behaviour for the better, the sceptics will assume it is for short term gain only.

Here is how to prove the naysayers wrong, 3 of my coaching tips to shed excess habits.

  1. Say less, act more.
    In a diet, the mouth opens less and the body exercises more. Same principle with your actions.Try not to inject your opinions as often, zip the lips a bit more. When you DO act, it should be with confidence, strength, and humility. You’re building muscle as much as you are building self esteem, step by step, not in one leap.
  2. Have an accurate scale and mirror.
    The numbers on a scale don’t lie, nor does an accurate reflection. Look at it regularly–it is honest feedback. Same for coaching. Have an honest broker who will kindly but firmly hold a [verbal] mirror up and reflect back your actions and words in order to measure progress. The coach watches, listens and reflects back so the coachee can gain agility, balance and helpful input.
  3. The best time to start is now.
    People will often wait until they have more information, have done more homework and due diligence. No decision will be made until all the details are done–which is impossible. The world moves too fast today, and you cannot control all extenuating circmstances. But you can control how and when you want to change.
  4. Keep the person who brings in donuts out of your office.
    If you’re trying to change, the last thing you need is that sort of temptation. There are always people who will say you look and act great the way you are. They actually may not want you to break out of old habits. Hang out with those who see you’re trying to change, and want to help you move in the right direction. Keep the cookies and mochachinos firmly away, and remember 1) and 2) above.

A good coach–or dietitian–can provide the support and direction needed, but the rest is up to you. Change of any colour takes stamina, resilience, and willpower. We all have it within ourselves to do so.

I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person. Or he became me.

– Cary Grant

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