Archive for February, 2024

Beyond “Just Do It”: 8 Tips from a Health and Wellness Coach for Reaching your Goals

Have you ever met anyone who says, “Once I decide to do something, I just do it”? Nike’s “just do it” attitude pervades our culture.  But if we all could “just do it”, many people in the helping profession would be out of a job. Wouldn’t we all like to be that person, since we would be doing all the things that we know we “should” be doing to maximize our health?

It’s just that simple… Not!  

In the U.S., less than a third of Americans meet both aerobic and strength-building guidelines, and that number goes down with age and in certain regions of the country. Only 1 in 10 Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables. Many of us don’t get enough sleep or take enough time to unplug. And the thing is, most of us know we don’t do enough of these things, but we aren’t sure how to change. Or we try to change, but it just doesn’t stick. 

As a therapist and Board Certified and Wellness Coach at LynLake Centers for Wellbeing, I love helping people make changes that improve their health and quality of life. To help you succeed with your goals, here are 8 of my favorite tips for making lasting change: 

1. Find Your Why

Without a powerful reason as to why you want to attain a particular goal, you will not have the stamina to take the daily steps you need to overcome obstacles.  You will be more likely to give in to your impulses and revert to those old behaviors that keep you from achieving your goal. 

Some questions to get at your Why:

Create reminders of your Why

How will you remember your “why” when life gets hard and you get off track?  For some, keeping on hand  symbols such as photos, words, or phrases that encapsulate why you are making these changes can help bolster your motivation when you are struggling. 

Many of my clients have photos of their kids and grandkids as motivation to stay on top of their health so they can play on the playground with them and live to see their families grow.

2. SMART Goals are Smart

SMART goals are actions that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based.  Let’s say your overarching goal is to lower blood pressure and bring down cholesterol.  One way to do this is to get more physically active.  A SMART Goal approach might be to exercise by going for walks at least 2 times a week for 30 minutes each time within a month.  You might start at once a week for 20 minutes and work your way up to twice a week in steps within that month. 

3. Plan for Obstacles

Life happens. You get busy, you don’t sleep well for a couple of nights, you forget, you get bored or you simply don’t feel motivated that day. In other words, you are human. To make sure you don’t get derailed by unexpected bumps in the road, try the following: 

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4. Create Structure

5. Find an Accountability Buddy

Most of us are more motivated when we can do things with others.  Find someone who has a similar goal as you, and see if you can work towards it together . If that isn’t possible, ask a friend or your partner to be your check-in to let them know that you were successful or not each week.  

6. Mix it Up. Make it Fun

Some of us don’t like to get on a treadmill.  How can you make attaining your goal fun?  Maybe walking isn’t your thing.  What sounds fun?  Is it taking a barre class or doing yoga?  Could walking be fun if you take different routes or listen to music or an audiobook while walking?  Doing the same thing day after day can get boring.  How might you mix it up so you don’t get bored?

7. Focus on Actions Rather than Outcomes

Many people have the goal of losing weight as an example. Even getting to a specific blood pressure or cholesterol number is not something we necessarily have complete control over.  Getting healthier can include feeling better about yourself and feeling more vital, energetic, and embodied.  What you do have control over are the actions you can take to get to a more healthy self such as getting more physical activity, more sleep, and a more plant-based diet.  So ask yourself, what are other measures of success–ones you do have more control over?

8. Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Shame is the enemy of change. Shame can make you feel unworthy or unable to make the changes in your life to feel better. Instead of beating yourself up, try this instead: 

Making changes in your life is a process. Expect to experience ruts, missteps, obstacles, and disappointments, because change is hard!  If you can hold the attitude that change is growth–no one stays the same–you will begin to understand how rewarding this process will be.

LynLake Centers for WellBeing provides therapy and counseling services. Begin your journey to healing and wellness by scheduling an appointment with us today


Written by: Sharon Burris-Brown, LICSW, National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and Certified Parent Coach

The Two-Part Secret to Unlocking Your Libido

My favorite self-help book of the century so far is Emily Nagoske’s “Come As You Are,” a guide to understanding the female body and the mechanisms of sexuality, I personally think this book should be required reading in every high school across America (although I’m also certain it never will be), as it is by far the best book I have ever read when it comes to helping us understand the complicated relationship between our bodies, our lived experiences, and our desire for intimacy.

One of the central themes in Nagoski’s book, and the one I use most often when working with couples, is that our sex drive has both a “brake” and an “accelerator.” Whereas most of us tend to think of desire for sex as more of a single on or off switch (you’re either in the mood or you’re not), Nagoski makes the compelling case for a two-part system, with both parts requiring attention if igniting a desire for sexual intimacy is the end goal.

Part 1: The Accelerator

When it comes to ramping up our desire for sexual intimacy, most of us have some idea of what gets us going. Whether it’s certain music, specific types of touch, playful text messages, imagery, or even laughter and just being silly, each of us develops a menu, if you will, of what takes us from neutral to ready-to-go. That is our accelerator. And since your list of what revs your engine is unlikely to be the same as your partner’s, it’s important to let them know what kinds of actions or activities get your accelerator going, and to ask your partner what does the same for them.

We also need to understand that each accelerator is uniquely sensitive. Just like with cars, some accelerators need just the slightest touch to get going, whereas others require a more concerted effort. Similarly, some people can go from 0 to 100 in under a minute, whereas other people take a lot longer to get there. This means that even if you and your partner happen to have the same activities on your lists of accelerators, that doesn’t necessarily mean you both rev up in the same amount of time.

I always encourage my couples clients to have an open and honest conversation about their accelerators. Not only can it be an extremely fun conversation to have, but it also can have a positive impact on each partner’s sexual satisfaction within the relationship. Some of the questions to consider discussing with your partner: What kinds of things can they do to get your accelerator going? And vice versa? How much time do you need to get revved up? What else should they know about your unique accelerator? What else should you know about theirs?

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Part 2: The Brake

Some of you, when reading the questions above, might be thinking to yourself, “I can’t answer those because it completely depends on how I’m feeling!” Maybe you are thinking about the times when your partner was doing all the right things to get your accelerator going, but you were having none of it. That is what Nagoski refers to as your brake.

Going back to the car metaphor: you can have the pedal to the metal, but if the brake is on, that car ain’t goin’ nowhere.

As with the accelerator, we each have our own unique set of brake-pushers, and what activates one person’s brake may have no impact whatsoever on another person’s brake – it might even rev their accelerator! Nor is there a “right” or “wrong” when it comes to our brakes (or our accelerators). Our unique histories, temperaments and chemistry all come together to determine how our bodies respond to our environment. That said, some common brake activators include various stressors (work, financial, family, household, etc), sleep deprivation, illness, pain, a messy environment, and hormones. Not surprisingly, if you happen to be upset with your partner for whatever reason, that alone may slam on your brakes.

One common misconception is that people who have a frequent desire for sexual intimacy and a rapid accelerator also have no brakes. That’s because, in comparison to their partner, it may in fact appear that way. Consequently, on the rare occasion when their brake is activated, their partner may take it personally and interpret the brake to mean that their partner is no longer interested in them. But while some people have a very short list of stressors that activate their brake, pretty much all of us have one – the differences are in how many things activate the brake, how long the brake stays engaged once activated, and what it takes to disengage it.

Whatever the cause, when our brake is on, we are unable to access our sexual desire, no matter what else is going on that would typically rev our accelerator. We aren’t interested in that kind of intimacy, even if we still want touch, snuggles or kisses. What this means is that if you are hoping for sexual intimacy with your partner, your first task is to see if their brake is engaged. If the answer is yes, step 2 is to see if there is anything you can do to help alleviate the pressure on it. Is your partner stressed out because they have too much to do? Then see if there is anything you can take on to reduce their load. Is a messy space on their list of brake-pushers? Consider proactively cleaning up around the place before they get home. If it turns out there’s nothing you can do to relieve the pressure on your partner’s brake, your best bet is probably to wait it out, rather than add to their stress by complaining about it or trying to push the issue.

I have seen some amazing conversations take place between couples with regard to their brakes. So consider talking with your partner about what activates your brake, and ask them to think through what activates theirs. Then talk about what each of you would like your partner to do when they notice your brake is on. While this conversation may not be quite as fun as talking about your accelerators, it can go a long way towards building a mutual sense of trust and understanding in the relationship – which, for many people, can be a pretty effective accelerator all on its own.

LynLake Centers for WellBeing provides therapy and counseling services. Begin your journey to healing and wellness by scheduling an appointment with us today.

Written by: Terri Bly, PsyD, LP, Licensed Clinical Psychologist