Reflection is a hot topic this time of year

Skip feeling overwhelmed with these themes for setting yourself up for success.

November is American Diabetes Month, home to Thanksgiving and the start of the year-end holiday season. It’s a great time to take stock of how you can live as the best version of yourself as we head into a busy—and often stressful—time of year.

If you’re hoping to change your behaviors, it can be hard to do it alone. A health and wellbeing coach at George Wellbeing can help you stay accountable, get perspective on your strengths and identify areas for opportunity.

Get a preview of health and wellbeing coaching with these considerations from Robin Hedrick, Director of Community Health for YMCA of North—and a certified health and wellbeing coach.

Building new habits

How long does it take to build a habit? The answer is that it depends, however, recent studies have found that on average it takes 66 days for a new healthy habit to feel automatic. The key is to do it daily to help make it stick.

Experts say the best way to forge a new habit is to connect it with an existing habit. For example, if you make a cup of coffee every morning, you might integrate meditation into that routine.

Small shifts (rather than grand resolutions) in the way we approach change can help sustain that change until it becomes our new “normal.” Rather than striving to run a mile a day, start by committing to brief jogs around the block—days you have the time and energy, you can take more laps.

Working with a health and wellbeing coach to build a new habit, you might jointly explore questions like:

  • What are some ways you could make it easier to integrate the habit in your life?  What support is needed?
  • How might you establish a healthy system for rewarding yourself for practicing the habit?
  • If you make this change for yourself, how do you think you will feel?

Practice gratitude

Each year Americans dedicate one day, Thanksgiving, to being thankful. But what about the other 364 days of the year? Research shows that people who take time to focus on gratitude experience emotional, social, personality, career and health benefits. With a regular gratitude practice, you might:

  • Increase self-esteem
  • Improve your relationships
  • Expand your spiritual self
  • Decrease your blood pressure
  • Get better sleep

A health and wellbeing coach might pose gratitude-focused questions like:

  • What does gratitude look like for you?
  • What are some examples of gratitude you’ve given or received that resonated with you?
  • How do you feel when you express gratitude toward someone?

Focus on social connections

Research has shown that social connections—even brief interactions—are critical for survival. Although everyone needs some alone time, engaging with family, friends, romantic partners, neighbors and others can help to protect and lengthen your life. 

However, finding the time and courage to establish and maintain social connections can be challenging. A health and wellbeing coach might challenge you to consider:

  • How might you increase opportunities to interact with others at work, school and in your neighborhood?
  • Who have considered reaching out to recently?
  • What are some ways you could engage with others that help them and leave you feeling good?