Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler has many titles, one of which is the co-director for the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine. He took the time out of his crazy schedule to share his personal experience with wellness coaching and the positive changes he was able to make as a result. "I approached my first “consult” or interview without a real clear goal—I just knew that I wanted to get healthier in a wide variety of ways," says Morgenthaler. He was active, yet not where he wanted to be, and he often experienced aches and pains he knew could be prevented. In addition, he felt like he wasn't giving his utmost at home, in his family relationships as well as at work. Dr. Morgenthaler didn't expect much as he entered his first wellness coaching appointment, but he quickly realized he had stumbled upon an invaluable resource in his coach and the methods his coach used. They began with a multi-dimensional assessment of Dr. Morgenthaler's wellness, including physical, emotional, spiritual, relational and environmental aspects. The coach used insightful questions that led him to start creating small steps to reach his specific goals.
"So two valuable things started happening right away—I was helped to write down what a “healthy Tim” might look like, and I was given encouragement to start taking some steps." Dr. Morgenthaler's initial goals included getting trimmer, losing the pain, and scheduling time to be creative each week. He also wanted to get adequate sleep. He noted that working on these things just a little bit each week made a big difference.
"I became much more regular in my exercise and activity, adding Yoga stretches to reduce pain. The exercise was helpful in stress management and helped with weight loss. My coach helped me figure out some rather small adjustments to my intake that added up to actually losing weight. By scheduling creativity time every week, I began realizing just how much this time meant to me. When I achieved my goal in this area, everything all week was better. When I failed—I realized that I felt more closed in, trapped, in the grind. I began setting specific relationship goals. An example is—make contact via Facetime every week with my granddaughters (who live over 1000 miles away). It isn’t as nice as I’d like, but it is doable and keeps me at least partly in touch." He says that time management is key for him as he schedules time each week to work on his goals, which increased the likelihood that they would happen. "I also found that activity without goals was not as formative as activity towards a goal. I guess I’m pretty goal oriented."
Dr. Morgenthaler periodically continues to go to wellness coaching as it has already helped him immensely in regaining his stride in many aspects of his life. He highly recommends wellness coaching to his patients as well, seeing so many benefits could come about using this method of care.
In addition to all this, Dr. Morgenthaler credits his wife as being very encouraging throughout his journey, demonstrating the need for support and accountability. His wellness coach helped him find the best in himself and provided guidance to figure out his own ways to meet his goals rather than telling him how to achieve them. He's now in maintenance mode where he is focused on sustaining the changes he's already made, and he is so glad he did.
Thank you, Dr. Morgenthaler, for sharing your experience and encouraging us to find the best in ourselves as well!