A common goal that my clients want to work on is how to improve metacognition. Metacognition is that voice in your head that is guiding you and instructing you. Many of my clients relate that this voice is silent or not loud enough to properly guide them. This is one of the major sources of their lack of motivation and success in reaching their goals.
Metacognition or the lack of it lies at the heart of so many challenges that we face.
Consider the following scenario that occurred with a client.
Esther approached coaching because she wanted support in changing her lifestyle habits. Through coaching she hired a diet coach and adopted a healthy eating program for 3 months. Esther lost 10 pounds. She was implementing an exercise plan in her week, and was feeling very well and energised.
Then she had a dip.
Esther decided that “she had enough” and blew her diet for a couple of days, eating whatever she wanted. She was shocked to feel the difference. She felt so ill, and her energy levelsplummeted. Yet this was still not enough to motivate her to get back on her healthy eating and exercise plan. She discussed this at our next session.
These are her words,
”I have been so good for 3 months, I couldn’t believe how wonderful I felt when on the diet, and the exercise plan, and when I broke it, how horrible and low energy I felt.. I don’t have to be so good for so long. I will stop the whole thing and just carry on as before. It is just too hard. It’s impossible to continue like this anymore. Oh well, enough is enough”
Consider the obvious contradiction:
Esther had tasted success, she had lost weight, and was feeling more energised. Yet she was planning to blow it all. She had a voice in her head, the metacognition telling her to stop. However even though she had physically experienced the horrible feeling of being off her diet and exercise for a while, that experience was not enough to motivate her to continue. You know why? Her counter voice was not loud enough! During our session we activated that counter voice and she set herself back on track.
We discussed techniques how to turn on the counter voice, and role played them.
The next session she reported having turned back on her healthy eating mindset. She had activated the counter voice.