“We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.”
It’s become relatively common for me to hear, “I know I need to make changes to my diet but … (insert an impressive list reasons why not!). So, could you suggest one or two ‘baby steps’ to start that would result in big improvements?”
After I think to myself, “I WISH!”, here’s my response (this really happened and this is my real response):
“You’ve certainly identified your perceived obstacles! I didn’t hear enough of your “whys” (plenty of “why nots”) or your goals.
Here’s the thing about “baby steps”, in my experience thus far baby steps don’t yield significant enough results to supply continued motivation. It ends up being drudgery with lingering cravings that ultimately win out.
I made enormous and sweeping changes to my diet and saw incredible results. But I was sick and had an intrinsic motivation. Not everyone is where is was (some are! and an alarming number of people are headed there!). I’m considering the possibility that I should focus on coaching people ready to change and in need of the necessary information. Nothing personal of course, but it drains me a bit to think of trying to convince people their health could be a whole lot better or that if they continue to eat crappy, they’ll eventually pay for it and then [after baby steps have failed] being on the driving end of their disappointment with baby steps.
Maybe I’ve not landed on just the right baby steps. The very practical side of me wants people to do better even if it’s nowhere close to perfect. I just need to identify the steps that provide adequate results to warrant the added effort. Maybe this is where we’ll start.
The other issue is that different steps effect people differently. In the end it’s about personal accountability. I see my role as making this evident to people, giving them some tools to up their personal accountability and giving them the info they need to change their diets and lifestyles in a way that personally rewards them. So this brings me back to I am not the one to pick someone’s baby steps. This is a personal decision.” – end response
I have previously acknowledged how difficult is has been (and still is) for me to silently watch people I care about erode at their health through diet and lifestyle choices. For me once I knew better, there was no chance that I would not do better. My why was powerful. Of course, feeling like a million bucks is a payoff I didn’t expect!
So I found myself stuck somewhere between having a pivotal message to share and a sense of desperation for a platform to share it (often with people who are not ready to listen). I needed a voice. And this blog and my coaching services (whatever they may become) are it. The beauty is you can take it or leave it. Or you can come back later when your “why” has surged to the forefront of your life and urgency is pressing upon you.
I believe 1000% that chronic health symptoms and conditions can be either completely resolved or dramatically improved (and in most cases, prescription medicines stopped) and that you can have freedom from cravings & food addictions. And I can give you all the “how” in the world to change your health. But I cannot give you your “why”.
What is your “why”?