Being a coach is an interesting gig because it’s often a delicate balance between 1) being a champion/cheerleader for your clients and 2) giving your clients some tough love when necessary.

More often than not, the championing comes out when a client is open to different solutions, they just need some extra guidance toward another path.

The tough love comes out when a client falls into a pattern of blaming their circumstances for why they are or aren’t choosing to do something. And it’s here when I often have to gently remind my clients that regardless of their situation, they always have a choice.

It’s something I’ll actually often remind myself of if I feel like I’m venturing off course a little bit or falling into a victim mentality!

Wellness is a choice.

  • Ordering pizza and garlic sticks instead of a protein and veggie filled salad while out to eat is a choice. Even when it might be harder to choose veggies if everyone else in your family is getting pizza.
  • Not doing a quick workout at home when we don’t have time to get to the actual gym is a choice. Even when we’d rather hit the weight room than exercise in our living room. Even when the workout might feel rushed.
  • Having three or four drinks on Friday night instead of one or two is a choice. Even if our friends are drinking more than we are and giving us a hard time about it. Even when they say, “C’mon let loose a little!”
  • Staying up to watch an extra episode of our favorite TV shows instead of getting to bed is a choice. Even if it’s the time we get to spend with our significant others and they urge us to stay up for just one more.

Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with doing any of these things! And there are certainly times when our options are limited and we simply have to do the best we can in the situation.

But regardless of the environment and what other people choose to do and prioritize, we always have a choice in what WE do and prioritize. We can’t blame our circumstances, we simply have to learn to navigate them. Consistently blaming, complaining, or playing victim not only comes with a lot of negativity, but it also can make us feel like we’ve lost our autonomy. We feel stuck, powerless, and that it can be impossible to move forward. We become trapped in a “why bother?” mentality.

This is when that tough love comes in, whether with my clients or with myself, because isn’t our approach a choice as well? We choose whether we are going to deal with our situation/circumstances head on or whether we’ll come up with a million reasons for why we aren’t able to do something.

Take the example of a working mom with young children who says she has no time to workout. I don’t have children, but I have successfully worked with several rockstar women who do, and I understand that days where “I don’t have time to go to the gym” is very, very real. However, it doesn’t have to be gym or bust. It doesn’t have to be sixty minutes or zero. This type of all or nothing mentality is what prevents so many women from figuring out what CAN work for them and what they DO have time for.

Maybe this particular mom feels like exercise HAS to be done at the gym. Sure, that might be the ideal preference so she feels like she is getting some time for herself away from the house, buuuut on the days she feels like she has no time, which is better: not exercising at all, or exercising at home instead of in the gym? Not exercising at all, or exercising for 20 minutes?

One of my current personal training clients and #WellnessYourWay small group coaching clients is a mom of four, so getting creative with how she fits her workouts in is an absolute must for her. Most recently, this client has found that doing the twenty-minute workouts included in #WellnessYourWay at home while her youngest watches a 17 minute show on TV is what works for her. She’s been sprinkling these in on days we don’t train and seeing great results!

Other examples:

  • Yo-yo dieting for years and constantly finding ourselves in a deprive > binge > repeat cycle. Isn’t it a choice whether we stick with the same familiar patterns that doesn’t work versus trying something new and scary like NOT being on a diet or working with a coach?
  • Always doing things that we don’t want to do. Isn’t it a choice whether or not we do shit we don’t like versus saying no when it best serves us?
  • Saying we don’t have any time for ourselves and wish we could just slow down a little bit. Isn’t it a choice whether or not we carve out a few minutes to just sit and breathe, meditate, journal, etc.?
  • Feeling bad about ourselves and calling ourselves failures when our nutrition wasn’t on point over the weekend. Isn’t it a choice whether we dwell on our bad decisions versus chalking it up as one weekend of overindulgence and moving right along?
  • Blaming other people for why we act how we act and why things have to be a certain way. Isn’t it a choice if we let our past define us versus taking the necessary steps to grow and move forward?

Wellness is a choice.

We choose whether or not we let our circumstances get the best of us. We choose whether we are able to come up with alternate solutions. Even when it seems like things might not be in our control, they really are, and that’s in how we choose to act and react. Do we complain? Meh. Doesn’t it feel better to either ACCEPT or ACT in SOME way, whatever way we can?

Another one of my small group coaching clients right now is dealing with some stressful situations at work. They are 100% completely out of her control, but instead of letting them get to her, she’s working on journaling things she *CAN* do instead. This helps put her in the right frame of mind and not feel so stuck.

We cannot view life as happening to us, otherwise nothing will actually ever happen.

We’ll never get any closer to our goals, and we’ll be stuck in a place of blame and complain. And that is most definitely not a fun place to be.

We choose to own our power.

What are you choosing today?


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  1. Over the past year or so in particular I’ve really tried to embrace this mentality- it’s so much more empowering than always succumbing to why we aren’t, can’t , don’t have time, etc. By putting things in our control and giving us power of CHOICE, we gain so much! great post!

    • Thanks, Monique! I’ve been working with my coaching clients on this lately. Many of them get really worried about things out of their control. A strategy that’s been working for them is making a list of what IS in their control, what they CAN do. Just doing that gives them the feeling that they are choosing again. 🙂 You’re right!

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