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As coaches, we are always hearing about or reading up on “awareness.” But what is it about this word that we need to understand – what is the role it plays in our behavior? The popular technique of encouraging clients to journal – recording what they eat, what they do, or even what they are thinking – is valuable in many ways – personal training, weight loss, wellness coaching and self-help models. It makes sense that, after all, if we don’t know what we’re doing, how can we go about making the changes we want to make? But is being or becoming aware is enough to move clients forward? Most would generally agree that it is the first real step. But wellness coaching doesn’t stop there… no, we work with people on the next step – which is working out why we do, think, (or eat) certain things! Coaching can unlock some pretty significant realizations about our client’s patterns and the payback we get for making certain choices. But we do need that first step and time can get in the way of our recording each and every thought and action in our day.
A TOOL TO MAKE THIS EASIER?
Among the many products that come before us to review, consider this device popular now in corporate offices – a sensor armband that detects how much exercise or even movement is being performing in the course of a day by the one wearing said device. It would record how many calories are burned based on skin temperature and even what length and quality of sleep is attained. Now this is where it gets interesting for the coach – because clients spend a lot of time using a computer – a.k.a. being sedentary. This device helps clients to see what went on during their day in terms of activity.
FACING THE TRUTH
Then there is the really difficult part. The user has to log food intake if they want to get a totally accurate measure of whether there is a calorie deficit or excess. This takes not only effort and organization, but also some real willpower to actually record those occasional high fat, high sugar impulses, or that extra glass of wine. So there sits the user (client) and they are facing all of these items to make the “tool” accurate… and in doing so, they might start to see that awareness can sometimes be a little more difficult than they’d imagined!
THE REASONS BEHIND IT ALL
After all of this effort, it is hoped that the client begins to realistically face the realization of why they are eating a certain way or doing other “unhealthy” activities. And no one has to ask them “why”? It seems too easy! We can usually use intuition to speculate as to why – often a lack of planning, being tired and a lack of priorities. Enter the wellness coach who helps to create a better routine in the life of the client, if not their entire body! There is relief for clients in knowing that we do have a role to play in supporting them in their desire to change. All of this reflection gives us a greater understanding of just how valuable the initial part of creating awareness is in the success of any change plan for our client. Knowing what we are doing has to be the first vital step before we wonder why we do it and how we (again, our client) are going to make the first steps to change. And then, before we begin, take time out to work out what will motivate our client to stay true to their commitment. How will their life change for the better if they make these changes? This experience is a reminder to never assume that we know all of the answers without understanding more by way of AWARENESS.