Habit’s Based Coaching

Why Habit’s Based Coaching?

  • You’ll accomplish goals more quickly (with less effort).
  • You’ll have an easier time maintaining results.
  • You’ll be able to do it within the context of a real human life (with its distractions, complexities, and surprises).

But…what IS Habit’s Based Coaching?

– You change by doing and experiencing.

These days, there’s a lot of emphasis on setting goals (e.g. lose 20 pounds) and then following a program (e.g. a diet plan or workout DVD set) to achieve those goals.

How’s that working?

On the “goals” side of the equation, we’re taught to think about what we want to accomplish. Then we’re supposed to make the goal specific, measurable, attainable, etc.

What happens once we’ve done all that? When we’ve set the ultimate goal?

For most people, not much.

That’s because goals aren’t achieved through the mere act of setting them, and goals aren’t achieved through sheer force of will.

On the “program” side of the equation, we’re taught to seek out a “Do this, don’t do that” program, summon up our motivation, and then turn our lives into “achieve that goal at all costs” projects.

We’re to become single-minded, unthinking, obedient little goal-chasing machines.

As you’ve probably seen, this goal-focused approach fails most of the time.

Particularly when competing priorities come up and we haven’t built the necessary skills to be flexible and adaptable. Then, since we haven’t “met our goal”, we feel bad. We think we’ve failed. We get frustrated and ashamed. We might even give up. Or put that goal on the back burner till next January 1st, when we vow to take a crack at it again.

Based on our experience, success actually follows a different process.

  1. First, you break down the things you want to do into specific skills.
  2. Next, you develop those skills through intentional daily actions.

The formula pretty much looks like this:

Practice daily to build skills.

Build skills to achieve goals.

Some people call this approach habit-based, others call it practice-based. They’re one and the same, and are based on current research around skill acquisition and change psychology.

Growth and development come through daily habits and supporting experiences.

Here’s an example of how this works:

Goal: Eat better consistently.

Let’s say you want to lose weight. You know that to lose weight you’ll need to eat better consistently. So that’s your real goal: eat better consistently.

But you don’t have all the skills to do it just yet. So you have to break it down into…

Skill: Hunger and appetite awareness.

Which skills are required to eat better consistently? We’ve identified hunger / appetite awareness as the most important initial skill for making progress. But that’s not quite a concrete thing you can do. So you have to break it down into…

Practices: Eat slowly, and stop eating when satisfied.

We use two daily habits to build the skill of hunger and appetite awareness.

Habit 1: Eat slowly.

Habit 2: Eat until satisfied, not stuffed.

This takes a month — two weeks for clients to learn, practice, and then repeat each of the two habits. At the end of a month, they have two very important habits that they can now use for the rest of their lives. They’ve learned it by doing it.

Not surprisingly, clients usually lose weight during this time. Because, of course, they’re learning to eat a bit less and adjust their intake according to body signals.

Even better, they’ve built two new habits that they can use for the rest of their lives, no matter what else happens.

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