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Design Thinking for Getting Unstuck

We put a lot of barriers in our own way, don’t we?

‘No Time’. ‘Can’t find the energy’. ‘Just can’t stick with XYZ’.

Often, we see a big goal (get rid of digestive problems, lose 50 pounds, feel calmer) and then a barrier (or 20) that currently stands in the way.

The sense of overwhelm can get REALLY big REALLY fast, especially with baggage from our past.

That’s where Design Thinking comes in.

Design Thinking invites us to reconsider HOW we approach a problem.

As a Registered Dietitian AND Certified Health and Wellness Coach, I consider it my role to see possibility and a forward path for my clients. I am aware that there are literally hundreds of choices that I and my clients could choose from to move forward into their next steps. That is why I place so much emphasis on process, self-experimentation, discovering and harnessing strengths, and ongoing re-evaluation…with strategic steps chosen based on specific goals and health visions.

Part of the opportunity and gift that you and I have right now is to create the version of wellness and nutritional wellbeing that leads us in the direction of our goals. By prioritizing action with a mindset of learning from what doesn’t work as much as what does work, we are able to move forward based on experience and knowledge versus a ‘fantasy self’.

Let’s be real: we don’t solve problems using the same strategies that created them (including just ‘trying harder’). Often, my clients come to me with goals that are based off of ideals or what worked for their ‘past self’ or are frustrated that what they think should be working isn’t working.

Each mindset can breed dysfunctional beliefs. ‘This diet just doesn’t work’. ‘I just don’t have the willpower to XYZ’. What if, instead, you reframed that dysfunctional belief to make the most of when things had not gone as planned? Often, we can only pave the road to success when we’ve faced challenge to get there. ‘Failure’ just allows us to know what hasn’t worked…so that we know that there is something better available to us or that we don’t have all of the pieces to our puzzle yet.

What are your personal ‘ingredients for success’? What makes it possible for you to thrive? What are all of the possible ways that you could move forward? What are the first steps? In-Between Steps? Long-Term Steps?

Long-term success requires a commitment to process & self-discovery.

Breaking down behaviors into components & steps.

Understanding what happened as a result of action.

Bringing information back to the process.

Taking one step at a time, making adjustments.

Let’s take the example of ‘getting rid of cravings’.

First, we would need to get clear on what that looks like. What is the end goal? What is and is not working for you about your cravings?

Then, we would start to consider factors which apply to you that are promoting cravings.

Then, we would decide which ‘factor’ to focus in on, the skills, knowledge, nutritional patterns or habits that we want to build, and which step(s) to begin with.

From there, we reflect on how your responses and reality are changing as a result of the actions that you’ve taken.

Critically, there are factors and steps in any journey that we are not even aware of until we are engaged in the journey. Working with a coach or professional helps to create a broader canvas for creating change, reframing failure & maintaining momentum.

What has been holding you back from reaching your goals?

About Sarah Ferreira

Sarah Ferreira,MS,MPH,RD,CDN,CNSC,IFNCP,CHWC is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with complementary certification as an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner and Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is the owner of Mindfully Nourished Solutions, where she uses a whole-person, whole-food approach to explore the impact of nutrition on mood and cognition. Her individualized approach integrates an assessment of nutritional, genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors into a collaborative nutrition care plan using cutting-edge research designed to facilitate meaningful and restorative changes based around client goals and priorities.

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