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Coaching Corner: Find Strength with Self-Efficacy

Wellness CoachingWe’ve heard about having high self-esteem, but what’s self-efficacy all about?  Defined by Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their capability to successfully accomplish a certain task. Often confused with self-esteem; which pertains more to the extent to which we like ourselves.

When it comes to individual lifestyle behaviors, self-efficacy is the belief that you can eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day, exercise for 60 minutes 5 days in a week or lose 5 lbs in a month.  It happens to be the most powerful predictor of motivation – how well a person will do at almost any undertaking.  Having high amounts of this self-efficacy X factor leads to better performance and quicker improvements as we change behaviors.  Think about it like this, if I believe that my body is capable of pushing one more mile out then in all likelihood I will reach the finish line. The more self-efficacy a person has the more efficient and effective they will be in accomplishing a task.

I think the best example of a high level of self-efficacy is a runner by the name Rick Ball. In 1986, Rick lost his left leg below his knee in a motorcycle accident near his home in Ontario. As a result of the accident, his left leg is a prosthetic. Ball had not been a runner before the accident, but he said he felt sorry for himself but also mentioned “Everybody has their challenges. It’s what you do about it in the end.” Rick’s belief in himself, one leg or not, took him to marathon finish of 2 hours 57 minutes and 47 seconds!! To put this in perspective the average marathon finish time in 2009 was 4 ½ plus hours. That kind of time is good for a top 25 finish in most marathons. This just goes to show you that Ball’s level of self-efficacy has led him to finish many FAST marathons and prove to others that all it takes is trusting that you can accomplish something.  Check out his video below to learn more about the hero: http://bcove.me/0m4gs4gn

So how do you become more like Mr. Ball? Here are three ways to improve your Self-Efficacy when it comes to  personal health:

1.     Find Self-Mastery

  • Experience personal success at creating a new healthy behavior 
  • Convinces us that we have what it takes to accomplish other difficult tasks

Example: Exercising three days a week for 60 minutes on consecutive weeks

2.       Watch a Role-Model

  • When we observe others success in establishing a behavior it gives us belief
  • Sparks new ideas and inspires our confidence to act in a similar successful manner

Example: Checking out how a friend prepares a healthy meal 

3.       Listen to Positive Outside Sources

  • The best way to believe you can do something is hearing it from others
  • Surround yourself with people who are confident in your abilities
  • Accept the encouragement and trust that the source is being honest

Example: Hearing “Hey, you really look like you have a lot more energy lately”



Understanding and Developing Self-Efficacy; 2006 Encyclopedia of Industrial/Organizational Psychology
The Inspiration: Rick Ball, Mark Remy, http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-560–13734-0,00.html

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