By Emily Merrell
Starting and maintaining habits can be super challenging. It’s easier to fall off a bandwagon than to stay on one! Kelley Hoag is a LA based coach that doesn’t like being called a coach. Her goal is to be your partner in kick-starting habits, keeping you accountable and guiding you in the right direction. Learn how Kelley took her own learnings to help you be more successful and committed.
SDS: You’re unlike most health coaches, you’re a cool health coach. In all seriousness, you’re not a coach – instead you label yourself as a partner, friend and advocate. Can you share how you serve your audience in a holistic way that goes way beyond coaching?
KELLEY HOAG: I played around with what I wanted to call myself and “coach” didn’t seem right. It’s probably from all those years of my lacrosse coaches making me run when I really hate running. I think I subconsciously associated coaching with punishment. Advisor felt better for me, and I call the work I do a partnership because that’s what it is! In the beginning, I’m holding my client’s hand. Keeping them accountable, guiding them in the right direction and slowly, over time, loosening that grip, but always there for support!
I’ll advocate for them and teach them how to do it for themselves. I’ll be a friend during and after our partnership. It’s not a one-sided conversation like traditional therapy. I often reflect on my own story during sessions and get vulnerable too, so the bond tends to get deep, but I also pride myself on my professionalism. It’s a fine line that I actually think comes very naturally for me.
SDS: I love your company’s name “Root to Rise”. How did the naming of your company play into the way you work with your clients?
KH: I’ve been practicing yoga for as long as I can remember and I would always hear “root to rise” during class. If you’ve heard this in class, an action comes to mind. Grounding yourself, then physically expanding. I love that imagery.
With my background in behavior analysis, I focus on getting to the root of the problem. This way, nothing is ever a “band aid” – we’re finding actual solutions in order for my clients to feel like they are rising into the most true version of themselves. We build the foundation to root down and create a mental, physical and emotional expansion!
SDS: What advice do you have for individuals hoping to make changes in their behaviors? Where do you encourage they start to not feel overwhelmed and fall off the change wagon?
KH: Meet yourself where you’re at. So often we create unachievable, overwhelming goals. For example, clients will come to me and say “I want to work out every day for an hour because I know I’m supposed to” when they currently have no physical movement practice in place. Instead, I ask them to re-evaluate, find out why this is important and then find flexibility. Maybe over the next week we plan for 2-3 workouts for 20-30 minutes and build that foundation. I always say that flexibility is the key to sustainability. So be gentle on yourself and set realistic expectations to set yourself up for success!
SDS: What does health and alignment mean for you? Was there a particular “aha” moment where you recognized you needed to make a shift?
KH: My life never felt in alignment until Root to Rise. My dad made us nutrient dense meals and I was always playing sports and very active. I felt grounded in my physical health, but I was always anxious. I had a lot of social anxiety and OCD from past trauma when I went to college. I ended up coming back home after one semester, going to community college, then transferring to a school closer to home. I always felt like I missed out on the college experience. When I moved to LA to pursue my master’s degree, it felt similar. I had a job that also felt completely draining.
To take it a step further, when I quit that job and got my Integrative Health Certification, my body got thrown out of whack. My mental and physical health felt disrupted and uprooted. I was inundated with conflicting information and I felt like I had to do it all. There was a mix of the need for perfectionism and imposter syndrome. I was exhausted, gained a bunch of weight – I developed both orthorexia and a binge eating disorder. I knew I needed to get myself out of it.
I used my own tools, strengthened my intuition, worked on my mental health and had mentors along the way to hold me accountable and shine the light on the right path. It was hugely transformative but a roller coaster ride I’m glad to be off of!
So, to answer your question, I’m living in alignment now, and to me that feels like being the most true version of myself. I sometimes refer to it as “holistic existence.” All pieces of my health puzzle (career, relationships, food, movement, mindfulness, sleep) feel balanced. When they’re not, I know how to fix it in a healthy way. It’s when the daily decisions you make reflect the you that you’re most proud of. Nobody is perfect. We’re truly all human, so part of this is recognizing that too!
SDS: Where do you get your entrepreneurial spirit? What is one thing you wish you had been told or had known when you started your business?
KH: I grew up in such an unconventional household. My mom ran her own PR firm out of our basement my whole life and my dad is an actor. Both of them had a ton of flexibility, which spoiled me! When I got a job that required me to request vacation days off, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I knew those restrictions weren’t for me and I couldn’t work towards someone else’s dream.
I’m so driven (I have four planets in Capricorn, for all my astrology sisters out there). Sometimes it’s exhausting, but it definitely makes me a hard worker and determined to create my own success. I wish I knew that I don’t have to do it all. I can be so stubborn and I really should have accepted help in areas I had no expertise in. It would have saved me time, money and energy in the long run.
SDS: We live in a world where life is filled with sadness and stress. Kelley, what brings you joy? How do you keep it alive in your life even in times of sadness?
KH: Movement brings me a lot of joy. My family. My boyfriend. Those three keep me sane. I try to move every day because it allows me to be more in tune with my body and release stagnation. When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, and I move (even just a walk!), it typically helps.
I feel so blessed to have such a great, loving relationship with my family. I talk to my sister all day, every day and she always makes me laugh even when I don’t want to. When I’m sad, stressed or overwhelmed, a hug from my boyfriend goes such a long way and it makes me want to cry just thinking about how important he is to me. Quality time is my love language, so spending that time with the people I love keeps me grounded and happy.
My website is www.roottorisehealth.com and my instagram is @roottorisehealth.
If you’re interested in working together in any capacity, we can find the right path during a free 30-minute call you can schedule here.
To hear more of Kelley’s insight, join her for a SDS digital event on Thursday May 14 at 7:30pmET/4:30pmPT: How To Turn Overwhelm Into Alignment – The 4 Step Process To Sustainable Health. In this virtual event, Kelley will use her deep knowledge of holistic health to guide Six Degrees Society members in molding the healthy lives they deserve. Learn how to create habits that stick by reserving your spot here.