Supporting Choice In Actions

Every action we take in life is the result of a choice of some kind. The way we think about those choices determines the actions we take - for better or worse.

If someone is using the Nudge app, they have chosen to take time to monitor some of the most important aspects of a healthy life – physical activity, hydration, diet and sleep – all things that make a significant contribution to their wellbeing. 

Who would have thought that a simple ‘tapping’ action directed onto a phone could potentially have such meaningful consequences for our health!

Of course like any other health promoting behavior – you have to be consistent with your tapping (and continue to be honest in your tapping!) so that Nudge can best support any lifestyle changes. Such consistency, as we now know, is best achieved by establishing a relationship with a Nudge Coach. 

As coaches, it is our role to be a partner in the Nudge process since, as we all know, consistency of health behaviors is both the answer and the anguish of this kind of choice!  

Some basic key learnings both from my own coach training and my time as a Nudge Coach have been ...

  • Focus on positive aspects and positive actions. In other words what they are ‘tapping’ consistently (maybe steps, hydration) vs what they are not tapping. Build on the positive aspects of their choices and others will often follow. Are they ‘doing and not tapping’, or simply not doing? Clarify (See last bullet point below on live Zoom video coaching)
  • In contrast to this first point is that focusing on the negative – e.g. asking “Why didn’t you tap in your water?” is likely to produce a more defensive and so a more negative response. Something not likely to support change. 
  • Being an accountability partner can be valuable, so occasional reminders do work. Just knowing that you will be checking in can often have a positive, productive effect (especially if you focus on the positives as in the first bullet point)
  • However, it is also important to remember that reminding them or telling them to do something (“You have to/Don't forget to tap in your water”) is something they already know so... another approach is likely to be more productive!
  • Ask open ended questions about what is important to them, about what they learned  or what they are learning from previous actions and behaviors.
  • It is ok to suggest some common ‘reminder’ approaches on occasion: put an entry in your calendar, set an alarm, look for opportunities to be more active etc. However nothing major is likely to change unless the behavior is important to them.
  • Finally, I would always recommend a live 10/15 minute Zoom Video call to initiate your relationship. This will provide an opportunity not only to introduce yourself but also to elicit some immediate answers to the open ended questions suggested above (“What is important to you?” – “What did you learn?”) etc. You can then build or reflect back on these answers in the highly versatile Nudge messaging system. Regular Zoom calls at intervals of 2 weeks or so will continue to add clarity to your coaching relationship.

Happy coaching!


Post by Wayne Phillips, Ph.D. FACSM

Wayne Phillips, Certified Intrinsic Coach

Certified Intrinsic Coach, Certified Valuations Specialist