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Motivation & Self-Improvement Programs
Summary & Comment
What does motivation and attitude have to do with successful weight loss? A lot. as it turns out. A person’s state of mind and psychological well being directly impacts their decisions about food choices. People may eat more when stressed, or eat "comfort" foods that hamper their weight loss efforts. There are lots of great self-help books, tapes and programs out there to chose from. And, many people need that motivation and jump start, especially in areas like an exercise program.
The psychological component of the weight loss formula is just as important as the nutrition and exercise components. That’s the whole basis behind Dr. Phil’s best-selling diet book and weight loss program (Ultimate Weight Solution). Tackle your inner self before beginning a weight loss diet.
Overview of Self-Improvement
America’s hunger for “psychological sustenance” and hand holding continues. Popular “gurus” such as Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Carleton Sheets, Deepak Chopra, Brian Tracy, Dr. Phil McGraw, Dr. Laura, Suze Orman and many more promise to improve our relationships, marriages, finances, physical well-being, lose weight, memory, business and communications skills, and help us get in touch with and explore ourselves or heal our addictions. The big gurus realize the dollar potential of weight loss and so they've added a weight loss spin or developed a special book or workshop around it. Weight loss is so ingrained into our culture now, as the obesity epidemic worsens, that these motivational speakers must have something in that area to round out their product line.
Today, it’s not enough to buy a self-improvement expert’s book, CD or other materials. We want to be personally guided. This has resulted in the emergence of a $1.5 billion “personal coaching” market that’s growing rapidly. Now, you can have a guru’s in-person advice via multiple sessions over the course of several months or more. You can get this counsel by phone. Since a guru’s time is limited and they’re busy with multiple ventures, you may have to settle for a coach trained by the self-improvement expert—one of his/her staff.
The power of the media is creating new self-improvement gurus. Three years ago, we hardly heard of Suze Orman, or Dr. Phil McGraw. Now, they have their own TV shows, bestselling books, and command astronomical speaking fees.
It seems as if we need the teachers to tell us what we should already know—that we really don’t need them. We want hand-holding. As a new age magazine article said: “…We could spend our whole lives going from one spiritual workshop, diet plan or fitness program to another without ever realizing that the whole enterprise is based not so much on self-improvement as on self-loathing… That, as much as anything, seems to be at the bottom of the guru culture we’ve created in America—our tendency to look for happiness outside ourselves in some guru’s enlightened plan.”
The self-improvement products market is largely comprised of female customers, especially for programs related to relationships, weight loss, exercise, and spirituality and Far Eastern topics. For men, the market is concentrated primarily on business and organizational skills improvement. Programs related to stress management and relaxation techniques are more broad-based, applicable to both sexes. A substantial share of customers are located on the two coasts of the United States, and California is especially receptive to “new age” topics, Far Eastern disciplines, holistic and alternative health care.
Who uses self-improvement services?
Who is the typical consumer of self-improvement products or programs? For an answer, a very close proxy is the typical subscriber of the former New Age Journal (now named Body & Soul Magazine). Their research shows that female readers comprise 83% of the total, they have a median age of 44 years, and they have an average household income of $88,000. Fully 69% of buyers of products via infomercials are female as well. Thus, self-improvement consumers are most likely to be female, middle-aged and affluent. These are also prime weight loss program consumers. In addition, they are generally heavy book, CD and cassette buyers, frequently via mail order. For example, 93% of New Age Journal subscribers ordered items by mail or by phone in 1996, spending an average of $420 on mail order. They bought an average of 26 books--82% on spirituality topics.
Personal Coaches - A Growing Field
Professional coaches are trained to listen and observe, to customize their approach to the individual client’s needs, and to elicit solutions and strategies from the client. They believe that the client is naturally creative and resourceful and that the coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources and creativity that the client already has. While the coach provides feedback and an objective perspective, the client is responsible for taking the steps to produce the results he or she desires.
Personal and life coaching represents the largest portion of the market. It first developed in the United States. The corporate coaching market is smaller in size.
Typical customers include retired persons, people in transition phases of their lives (i.e. those coming to the end of their career or work lives), Baby Boomers, and even college students. Coaches may also work for people starting a new business, or for small business owners that are looking to grow their ventures.
Most coaches working with individuals charge between $200 and $500 per month for one half-hour call per week. Executive coaches charge more and have clients who work with them for an hour or two a week. Average hourly fees range from $100 to $200 per hour. Most clients stay with a personal coach for six months, but many stay longer, depending on what they are doing.
One could argue that weight loss counselors are a form of personal coach, although less expensive. They are there to help motivate you with your weight loss goals and help you surpass obstacles.
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