Health Coaching, Thought Leadership

How Health Coaches Can Make New Year’s Resolutions a Reality

The new year is here! The new year presents as an opportunity for many people to set new goals and commit to forming better habits. Have you considered that health coaches could help with your new year’s resolutions?

The most popular categories of new years resolutions involve fitness and wellness. The new year provides excitement and a fresh start, but many lose momentum in the first few months. Is willpower the problem? Or is it possible that behavior change can simply require more support? 

Asking the Expert for Help with Resolutions

We spoke with Karen Lawson, MD, DABIHM, NCB-HWC to get some answers. She’s an integrative physician and a leader in developing the integrative health coaching field since 2004. She’s also a founding and current board member of the National Board of Health and Wellness coaching (NBHWC).

At NWHSU, she’s the interim chair of the Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching program. She shared some insight about health coaching. And how it can be a solution for those who want to create change in their lives but aren’t quite sure how or where to start.   

What Makes Health Coaches Different? 

Dr. Lawson shared that as a physician, she observed that most healthcare providers (including herself) were not trained in how to implement behavioral changes. Clinicians knew how to instruct patients on what areas of their life needed change. However, the gap in many patients’ journey to health was guidance on what steps to take to reach their goals.

For Dr. Lawson, it’s critical to train clinicians on the basics of how  to create change, and bringing in health coaches. Health coaches are trained in exactly that: behavior change. 

For Resolutions, You Need a Plan

Often the biggest mistake people make is that they get excited and rush into new goals without a plan. This lack of support system or structure is what leads people to give up and forgo trying again.

So how can a health coach help their clients to reach their goals? Dr. Lawson shared that coaches start by identifying the values, desires, and priorities of their client. They also hone in on clients’ strengths and potential challenges. Then, they use that information to advance a goal and create a plan.

This inspires the most effective ways to bring change in behavior. Some examples are through group support, staying organized, utilizing creativity, or providing more tailored resources.

Health coaches partner with their clients to evolve a personalized plan that is built on small, sustainable steps that encourage long term belief and behavior changes, and ultimately, the reaching of sustainable goals.  

 Interested in Being the Health Coach? 

NWHSU is one of ~120 NBHWC-approved health coaching programs, and one of the ~15% of those programs that are integrative and whole-person oriented–meaning they focus not just on physical health and behaviors. They also include a person’s mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational health. The program also focuses on applying sensitivity to social determinants of health such as culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, zip code, and other socioeconomics issues.  

Story by Kit Harlow, Chiropractic Student