Lifestyle Coaching

Lifestyle Coaching | Austin, TX

First Step on the Road to Change

Articles By AnnWhen you realize it’s time to deal with nagging thoughts that feel at odds with what you want to achieve in life, you’ve taken the first step in making a permanent lifestyle change. The second step is your willingness to enter into and continue with a therapeutic lifestyle coaching relationship.

Perhaps you had planned to achieve a milestone before your fortieth birthday, but didn’t, and now feel like you’ve missed out. Maybe you’ve lost your job and want to start a new business. Perhaps you want to find a lasting relationship, make more friends, deal with others more effectively, overcome your fears and insecurities, or work on the mental aspects of competitive sports like golf, tennis or running, that have prevented you from reaching your goals. Lifestyle coaching might be a healthy option for you to consider.

Perhaps you don’t know what you want to achieve. All you know is you’re not happy with life as it is and you’d like to talk with someone about your feelings and find out how to gain more positive options and possibilities.

Lifestyle Coaching

The concept of coaching individuals to improve performance and increase productivity is relatively new. As such, lifestyle coaching is an unregulated industry, where someone can promote themselves as a life coach simply by launching a Website.

Whether your goal is to increase productivity, meet personal goals, improve professional or social relationships, the wisest choice for lifestyle coaching is a state-licensed, mental-health or behavioral-health professional. In this way, you know your life coach has received extensive under- and post-graduate training, has attained their degrees and has received in-person supervisory observation. Most importantly, she or he is licensed by the state, so you can be assured there is a state-sponsored entity that attests to the character and ethics of your life coach and offers legal remedy if you are not treated ethically.

Gain a New Perspective

green-mountain-waterfallMost opportunities for personal growth do not involve having to overcome mental health disease. Improvement in human functioning involves curiosity about one’s behavior, intentionality (being about something) and being attuned to one’s motivations, objectives and goals—in other words making the right choices each time you’re afforded the opportunity.

Through our lifestyle coaching sessions, you will learn to see life’s possibilities, as well as its obstacles, in a different light and gain new perspectives on how to achieve your goals. You’ll also learn ways to identify negative thoughts that may have caused you past difficulties.

As a result of our sessions, you will understand how to re-frame negative or destructive thoughts and make needed changes to define how you want your life to be. Lifestyle coaching can help you adopt—with greater confidence and renewed spirit—appropriate thinking and resulting behaviors that are consistent with your intentions. In the process, you can gain a better understanding of yourself, greater self-confidence and a more hopeful appreciation of life’s possibilities.

The Stages of Change

Getting to where you want to be

The Stages of Change concept provides a general guideline that you can apply to almost any habit you want to change. Try to thoroughly work your way through each step before proceeding to the next. Many people cycle through stages more than once before effecting permanent change. And relapses are not uncommon. Even so, work hard to prevent them.

Stage 1: Precontemplation

At this stage, either you still deny that you have a problem or you just don’t want to change. The goal at this stage is to begin to acknowledge the negative consequences of these behaviors and to think about changing them. Open up to the idea that you might benefit from change. When you’ve become aware of the consequences of what you do (or don’t do!), it’s easier to proceed to the next step.

Stage 2: Contemplation

Once you’re aware that you have a problem and have started thinking and learning about it, you’ve entered the contemplation stage. In this stage, you actively collect information to prepare yourself for change, and you’re seriously thinking about how you might go about making that change within the next six months. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you’re convinced that your life would be substantially better if you altered your behavior.

Stage 3: Preparation

Now you’re making the transition from deciding to change to planning how to change. The first step is to determine what action would solve your problem and lifestyle coaching can help you along the way. You must also prepare yourself to make this change a priority in your life. Go public with your decision. Meeting the expectations of others can be a far more potent motivator than simply keeping a promise made to yourself. Finally, set a date to begin your change and stick to it.

Stage 4: Action

Sunbeams in Spring ForestWhen you’re fully committed to taking action, go for it!

Join the gym, start counting calories, or swear off those cigarettes. Though this may be the most rewarding time, it will also be challenging. At first, avoid temptation. It’s not unusual to slip up a few times during this stage, but if you do, forgive yourself and get back on your program at the very next opportunity for the decision to be made. Find new ways to deal with stress or to distract yourself from indulging in the old, unhealthy behavior.

Stage 5: Maintenance

It usually takes about six months to reach the maintenance stage. To be successful depends on more than avoiding temptations and rewarding yourself for good behavior. You must rethink what you found appealing about your old habits in the first place and persist in choosing healthy ways to keep yourself calm and feel in control of yourself.

Stage 6: Termination

Once you are no longer tempted to return to the way things were, you’ve reached the termination stage. Even if you don’t reach this stage of permanent change—only about 20% of people actually do–relapses, while discouraging, offer the chance to try again and learn more about yourself.

People often refine and improve what they’ve learned when they go through the action and maintenance stages a second or third time. Some who relapse repeatedly decide to seek professional help. But it’s not unusual to remain in the maintenance stage, still tempted by old habits but resolved not to give in to them. And in terms of health, this is truly a worthwhile accomplishment.

For Your Austin Counseling Convenience

For more information, please call (512) 306-9992, or send an email to ann@annmcintoshcounseling.com. All inquiries are held in strict confidence. Please understand that no counseling will be provided via the Internet or e-mail. Working with you in person is the best way to help you achieve your goals.

Daytime and selected early-evening sessions are available, Tuesday through Thursday 10:00am to 6:30pm. You may choose from three types of sessions: individual, couples, and family. Please feel free to ask about other possibilities to fit your lifestyle and needs.

Ann McIntosh, MA, LCSW, Counseling and Psychotherapy

4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 5, Suite 513
Austin, Texas 78746

512-306-9992

Video produced by Michael Quick of QuickOne Media Ann McIntosh is also listed on the following Web site directories: Psychology Today | YellowPages.com | Eating Disorder Referral and Information Service