How Celebration Leads to Change, According to a Health Coach

How Celebration Leads to Change, According to a Health Coach

When you see your doctor, they probably tell you what to do to be healthy: exercise, incorporate certain foods in your diet, go on this or that medication. But health coaches—such as One Drop coach Lisa Goldoor, RN, BSN—”get in the gray area” of well-being.

“You know what to do to be healthy, but why aren’t you doing it?” explains Goldoor. “How do I help you do what you already know you’re supposed to do?”

To motivate people to make that switch, Goldoor says she encourages celebration. “What I’ve found is that many of us are just so down on ourselves,” she says. “We’re so mean to ourselves. Especially when you have a chronic health condition, there’s so much room for error, to feel like you’re not doing a good job. I try to be as compassionate as possible and teach people to focus on the positive—to be kind to yourself.”

Gaining a 360-Degree View of Healthcare

Goldoor didn’t develop this positive mindset overnight. Before becoming a One Drop health coach, she experienced nearly every aspect of the healthcare industry, from home nursing and inpatient care at one of the largest children’s hospitals in the world, to case management for a health insurance company.

She began her career as a pediatrics nurse at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she spent over a decade working with kids, many of whom had type 1 diabetes. She not only provided inpatient care to children, but she also took the time to educate families who were new to the world of diabetes management, taking them from zero knowledge about the condition to leaving the hospital feeling confident enough to give their child insulin injections at home.

After more than 10 years as a pediatrics nurse, Goldoor moved on to home care, where she helped folks transition from “crazy hospital life to regular life,” teaching them how to feel comfortable and confident managing their health independently. She then worked as a case manager for a health insurance company, spending hours on the phone with people as they tried to wrap their heads around the many (many) nuances of health insurance.

After gaining these different perspectives, Goldoor says she now recognizes the power in taking ownership of your health outside the doctor’s office—especially when you have a chronic condition such as diabetes.

“I love the idea that I can empower people with the knowledge that I have, that I can help them feel like they don’t need to wait for those doctor visits to make decisions,” she shares.

These days, as a health coach at One Drop, Goldoor uses her knowledge from the reactive worlds of nursing and case management to show people with chronic conditions how to proactively navigate the ups and downs of their self-care. “How do we care for you when you’re not sick enough to go to the doctor or the hospital?” she says. “How can we teach you to be proactive in your healthcare journey?”

Celebrating Little Wins to Drive Big Changes

From Goldoor’s perspective, one of the best ways to stay on track with your health goals is to celebrate each and every win—even the (seemingly) small ones.

For example, Goldoor says she recently checked in with a One Drop member who was making progress toward their goal weight, but seemed hesitant to take pride in their accomplishments. “They told me, ‘Well, I’m still not where I want to be,’” recalls Goldoor. “And I said, ‘Can we just stop for a second and celebrate where you are now instead of focusing on what you haven’t done yet?’ And they texted back, ‘LOL, I come from a long line of perfectionists. Thank you for showing me I can break the cycle.’” (Find out how One Drop health coach, Lindsay Vettleson’s struggle with perfectionism helps her lead with empathy.)

On its face, taking time to stop and celebrate little wins might not necessarily seem like a “proactive” approach to your health. How does congratulating yourself translate to reaching your goals?

Well, there’s more to it than just patting yourself on the back. When you achieve a goal, and you really take the time to intentionally and consciously recognize your progress, the reward center of your brain lights up, releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, which elicits a sense of pride and accomplishment. The more wins you can spot in your day-to-day—and the more you honor those wins by sharing them with someone, whether it’s your One Drop coach, a loved one, or even your own journal—the more you’re rewarded with those feel-good emotions, and the more likely you are to keep practicing those same habits that led to these rewards.

“A lot of this is about gaining momentum. You’re trying to put action in place,” says Goldoor. “If you’re constantly feeling like you’re failing, or you’re not doing a good job, then it’s just going to be that much harder to make the effort to do anything for yourself and your health.”

Maybe you reached your step goal for the week, or perhaps you managed to keep your blood sugar in range during a hectic day. Whatever it is you’ve accomplished, Goldoor wants you to do more than just acknowledge these triumphs; boast about them. “I want you to brag to me!” she insists. Be proud of yourself, and take a few moments to reflect on how you reached this point, whether it’s a result of starting a new medication regimen or something as simple as restructuring the way you spend your free time. Intentionality will keep you moving in the right direction.

“Taking control of your own health can be scary,” continues Goldoor. But the key to overcoming that fear, she explains, is to pause every now and then and notice what you’ve achieved. Take pride in the fact that you’re still on this lifelong journey of taking care of yourself, she says.

“I want to create a space where you can recognize when you’re being too hard on yourself,” says Goldoor. “The goal is continued motivation and feeling empowered to continue the journey.”

This article has been clinically reviewed by Jamillah Hoy-Rosas, MPH, RDN, CDCES, and VP of clinical operations at One Drop.

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Allie Strickler
Jun 07, 2021

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