By Suzannah Sabin RN, BSN, NC-BC
Integrative Health Coach
When I ask people the first question of health coaching, What change would you like to make?, most people have some ideas of what they are hoping to create as their new health outcome, but they often don’t know how to get there. In order to create new behaviors that will help you reach your health goals, it is important to come up with a new plan for dealing with the triggers that activate the old, unwanted behavior. This is an important step, because, as Marshall Goldsmith states in his book, Triggers, “our environment is a nonstop triggering mechanism whose impact on our behavior is too significant to be ignored.”
Triggers can be found in a person’s internal and external environment either as emotional responses to situations or as triggers in the environment. Since one’s daily life is often full of triggers, there are two helpful ways to cultivate change.
Our first step in a coaching session is to raise awareness and begin to notice the specific triggers that start the behavior. For example, we will work together to understand what it is that creates the behaviors and choices you are now engaging in.
Another key to behavior change is to develop flexible thinking for how to respond to the triggers that you have identified. This is how you cultivate a new response and gain mastery over your triggers.
Through conversations with the health coach, it becomes easier to identify and understand the impact of the various triggers in one’s life. Together, we can come up with new ways to approach the trigger so that you are able to have mastery in your response. Some of these approaches may include mindfulness, self-regulation, self-compassion, creativity and problem solving.
Over time, and through the process of cultivating new responses to triggers, sustainable behavior change is possible.