Why Can’t I Coach Myself?

“Why can’t I coach myself?” people often ask. Especially when it comes to food and diet, shame over past failure casts its shadow here. “I know what to do, why can’t I just do it?” is then the refrain we torment ourselves with, over and over.

In truth, you sometimes can , and indeed may have, successfully coached yourself in the past. Any time you follow a behavior plan—whether you design it yourself, follow a self-help workbook or on-line course—you are self-coaching. If you’ve chosen a reasonable path of action, and stay on it, you’ll probably succeed. Maybe you’ve done so in the past, quitting smoking or changing some other unwanted behavior.

So self-coaching may indeed work for you with eating habits as well. However, if you’ve dieted repeatedly in the past, you most likely will need help to make those changes stick, once and for all. People often find changing their eating much harder than other habits. So if you consider yourself a capable person and feel bad that you’ve struggled so much with your diet, you are not alone. Eating is a complicated biological, social, and psychological activity. Making permanent changes on one’s own is almost always hard, and sometimes not possible.