You are absolutely right; small changes that become second nature are a great way to go about it. I often find that people start training with me and have the grandiose idea that they will now also exercise every day on their own (or eat no more junk food …. you name it). I try to tone it down by saying something like: “That is a fabulous idea, and it would be a wonderful end result. If you can manage it: great. What I would like for you initially to do on a daily (weekly) basis is ………” I then suggest a goal that seems realistically achievable.
Then, when they express frustration, you can get back with a diplomatic version of ‘I told you so’ but are also able to point to the progress made against the goals that you suggested.
This keeps the conversation on a positive note.
I wish you good luck.
Often drastic changes are unsuccessful when it comes to eating habits. I will ask the client what one thing they could work on this week that will get them to their goal. Then we build on the wins. If they have been challenged that week we work on fractionating the goal into more managable bites or take a look at S.M.A.R.T ness of that goal.
I agree with Danielle.
Assist your clients in developing SMART goals and never forget that if your clients are changing their behaviors self-efficacy in the new behavior will be low.
Keep in mind that you are asking your client to adopt a new behavior that they’ve never engaged in before and that past experience with a behavior is correlated to self-efficacy.
Hope this is of help to you.
I agree with what the others have said here. I would add that reminding my clients that we’re in this for the long-haul; here to make a lifelong, lifestyle change in their eating habits, and that this journey cannot be made, or at least sustained, by trying to make it in a drastic way. I remind them that if some of the ‘drastic diets’ that they may have heard or read about truly worked over the long haul, then the market place would not be inundated with literally hundreds of diets. I usually also ask them whether they think they could sustain ‘XYZ’ drastic diet for the remainder of their lives, and the honest answer that usually comes back is ‘no.’ Small, steady changes towards a healthy diet IS sustainable and doable, and their best way to success.
You’ve gotten some great responses. I also relate it to other areas of their lives. They work toward achieving a promotion, a degree, a certification, etc. Its a process. Small steps are taken for them to achieve their end result. The same goes with exercise and nutrition.
Small steps ensure that they have the foundation to progress to the next level. Small steps ensure lasting success (why do so many new year resolutions fall by the wayside come Valentine’s Day?).
They usually buy into this. It also makes it more managable for them. I also make sure that I celebrate their enthusiasm, but remind them that I want them to make lasting changes, not changes that they won’t be able to maintain for a lifetime. That means that we educate as well as demonstrate what and how they can change their lifestyle to meet their goals. And, as the others have stated, I try to lead them to making the decision as to what they’d like to focus on first. Then get them to come up with a SMART goal, which I write in my notes regarding the session, and then follow-up with them on at the next session.