Habit: A dangerous self-inflicted prison

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New Year resolution: I will lose weight, exercise and eat better.

            Current condition: have not lost weight, have not exercised and am trying to eat better.

            Reason: I did not see results, I always fail at dieting, it is hard, I am discouraged because it just does not work.

            So, if you know this scenario, or know of someone who is going through this scenario, raise your hand. Chances are you are one of thousands who go through this cycle every year. Every YEAR! This cycle, perhaps, is a microcosm and a perfect example of life. It entails the following: We are not satisfied with ourselves, we try to change, we fail the change, we get discouraged, we become negative and either punish ourselves or pretend to stop caring. We allow enough time for the disappointment to go away and then, we try again, and again, and again. Someone once defined crazy as doing the same failing thing over and over again! Well, that is not what this is. This, my friends, is human nature at its best.

            The science of coaching is beyond just theories of how things work, it is based on facts and physical and biological findings. It focuses on the one organ that is responsible for recognizing problems, trying to come up with attainable solutions, attempting to reach those goals and be satisfied with our quest: the brain. Studies now have looked at all these stages or steps that occur in the brain, and ladies and gentlemen, we have found that abnormal thought processes, faulty expectations, aberrant thinking and disillusioned goals are all too often the reason behind the failures and the negative emotions they generate. Allow me to explain one of the most powerful processes we perform every day of our lives: Habit!

            How many times you are asked: why do you do this, and the answer is, I do not know, I guess habit? How many times do you make the same mistakes, or perform the same tasks and are almost predictable, especially by your partner who knows what you will do before you do it? We are tuned in to habit. It is our nature to find a familiar and safe place. From great ancestry that looked for safe places to live, to the modern day world that looks at boxing and stereotyping everything, habit is something we are driven towards. We raise our kids like our parents raised us. We even sound like them sometimes! We usually settle into patterns, drink coffee the same way, try something new for a short period of time and then get dragged back into our routine. How many times have you started going to the gym and then found yourself stopping after a week or two? How hard is it NOT to eat chocolate or diet? All these are questions that are answered by a very simple, yet extremely complicated fact: Brain connections.

            Brain connections do explain almost everything. The way we are “wired” is through brain cells connecting to each other. Those connections translate into emotions, how we react, how we understand, how we perceive, how we communicate, how we tackle problems, how we identify, how we work, how we….well, you get the idea. Now, supposing you wanted to lose weight, exercise, stop smoking and change your diet! Four very attainable goals. But, if you do not know your brain connections, or understand them, you will not know how to change them. I am often asked: what is the difference between counseling and coaching? There are many differences, but one very simple one is this: Counseling and psychology looks at why you got wired this way (past events, experiences, personality…). Coaching, my friends, helps you change the wiring by helping you understand yourself, help you place attainable and measurable goals, and help you outline a pathway to them that uses your connections, uses your ability to change those connections and help you map out new connections and rewiring you. In essence, coaching helps break destructive habits, instill new constructive ones, and help you realize the potential.

            Understand you are up against a vicious enemy who does not like to move from its comfortable and familiar place, even though that place is harmful. You are up against HABIT and all its lethal connections. Coaching arms you with the weapons to break the chains of this self-created prison, and allows you the freedom to navigate new waters that will help you reach your desired destination.