Health & wellness coaching may be the secret to helping you stick with your health resolution over the year ahead.

Exercise more. Lose weight. Improve my nutrition habits. Quit smoking. Join the gym. Health and fitness goals are among the most common resolutions that people make each year. In fact, about a month ago we gave you ideas for Starting fresh: Improving your health in the New Year.

Whether or not we make resolutions, we all want to be as healthy as we can be – but getting there can be the hard part. And despite good intentions, most people have already abandoned their resolutions to do better. U.S. News & World Report says that the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is about 80%, with most people losing their resolve by mid-February

But maybe there is a way to improve the success rate of those resolutions: there’s evidence that having a health and wellness coach to help you strategize ways to meet your goals and to cheer you on may be the secret to helping you stick with your resolutions. Amitha Kalaichandran, M.D. talks about the benefits of health coaching in her New York Times article, Resolving to Be Coached.

Dr. Kalaichandran says that research points to behavioral and lifestyle factors as a big part of what contributes to chronic disease. She illustrates with an example of a diabetic teenage patient who was failing in her efforts to manage her glucose levels because she joined her peers at lunch and ate what they were eating – unhealthy fast foods that spiked her glucose. Her failure was partly because she wanted to fit in and be a normal teen like her peers.

Dr. Kalaichandran came to the conclusion that what her patient really needed was a coach to help bolster her motivation and to supply tools and strategies to help her make changes. Coaches can also help by breaking large goals into small, incremental steps. Kalaichandran says that evidence that health coaching helps people make lifestyle changes is growing:

A 2018 study looked at clinical trials for coaching for nutrition and weight management and found that over 80 percent of these studies found improvement. And a 2017 study found that coaching can lead to increased physical activity in older adults. Studies suggest that health coaching may also provide benefits for conditions such as obesity and diabetes as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, chronic pain, hypertension and high cholesterol. A recent review found that health coaching can improve quality of life and reduce hospital admissions among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and it may help patients to become more engaged in the health care system.

We agree with her conclusions. One of our recommendations last month was to get a coach who can help you reach your goal. Athletes and performers know this and they seek out the services of experts. Think of a wellness coach as your personal change agent.

How are you doing with your new year’s resolutions? If you are having trouble staying on track – or even if you didn’t make any resolutions but you’d like to improve your health, why not call a coach?  Members of ESI EAPs and their family members have access to telephonic wellness coaching as part of their benefits. Coaches can help with  nutrition, fitness, stress, smoking cessation and drugs & alcohol. Almost two-thirds of our Members who engage with a Coach ultimately reach their wellness goals. To get started, just give a call or drop an email.

If you aren’t a member of ESI EAP, see our post: How to Find a Wellness Coach: Characteristics for Success

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