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Are you struck in a rut? You can benefit from the principles of life-coaching without actually hiring a life coach. Here's how.

Want a life coach to help you get out of the boring, unhappy, stressful, or dead-end place you're currently in? Well, not everyone can afford one, will be able to find the right one, has time to see one, or would even end up liking having a stranger play that large a role in their life. Everyone can, however, benefit from some of the core principles of life coaching the DIY way.


What's A Life Coach, Anyway?

Good question.

"Life coach" is not a fancy new word for "psychologist", or at least not usually. Life coaches are a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but if you'd sum their job up in a few words, it might be "cheerleader with a big practical twist".

A good life coach can help you define your goals in life clearly, brainstorm how to achieve them, and then motivate and inspire you.

You may consider hiring a life coach if you feel you're stuck in a rut, coasting along without a clear direction, wasting your time, feeling lost and demotivated. A life coach may also be for you if you actually have a pretty good idea about what you want but aren't sure how to achieve it. Different life coaches may help you supercharge your career, get you in the right frame of mind to find love, or help you focus on caring for you. "Wellness coaches", a sub-type of life coach, are there to deal with things like weight loss, healthy eating, exercise inspiration, quitting smoking, or reducing stress levels.

Though there's no specific degree to become a life coach, life coaches do have a professional organization, the International Coach Federation (ICF), that credentials life coaches across the world using various programs.

Should you really need that boost, finding an ICF-accredited coach can be a great decision. However, the principles guiding the coaching profession can teach us all a bit about how to take better care of ourselves by nurturing our dreams, goals, and wellbeing. 

How can you coach yourself?

Practice Active Listening

What's going on in your life right now? What different forces are pulling on you? If you're anything like most people, you've got a partner, kids, relatives, friends, bosses and co-workers all offer their opinions whether you wanted them or not, and demanding your presence and participation in things. You've also got that dirty kitchen, that old car that should really be replaced, leaflets about retirement funds, and others' notions of what you should be achieving in life contributing to the white noise of your mind.

Active listening — listening, really listening, to the client's goals for themselves rather than the coach's or society's — is one of the core principles of the life coaching profession. It also happens to be a gift that we're capable of offering ourselves. Actively listening to yourself begins with asking critically whether thoughts you're having are really your own, or perhaps what other people want for you. Then, attempt to mindfully sift out that white noise and recognize your very own thoughts in a sea of social expectations.

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