Functional medicine can give us crucial information to help us optimize our health. But information can only take us so far. Chronic disease, injuries and injury recovery are heavily influenced–if not primarily driven–by diet, lifestyle, and behavior. This means that the choices we make on a daily basis about what to eat, how we move, how much we sleep, etc. are the most important factors that determine our health.
We’ve all had the experience of committing to a change—exercising more, cleaning up our diet, or starting a meditation practice—only to fall off the wagon a few weeks or months later. This is not the exception, it’s the rule.
Fewer than seven percent of Americans consistently engage in the top five health behaviors identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which include getting adequate sleep, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and so on). So, how do we make behavior change successful—and lasting?
One of the factors that determines lasting success with behavior change is getting the right support. Health coaches are trained in evidence-based modalities—like motivational interviewing, positive psychology, and goal setting and accountability—that are proven to help people change. A psychological principle called the Hawthorne Effect holds that we perform better when we know we’re under the observation of others. This is why accountability is so powerful when it comes to building new habits
Making real, lasting lifestyle and behavior changes isn’t a switch you flip. It takes ongoing effort and support. A health coach is one way to help get the support you need.