MENU

Exploring the Power of Habit

Mar 11, 2020

By Gretchen Larsen (Hochstatt, France), MCS Alumna

I recently had the chance to read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I’d like to share some of the insights from the book that I found useful working on my own habits, but also working with clients on habit change.

Habits are automatic loops that have 3 parts: the first is the cue, which is the trigger that lets our brain know what to do; the second part is the routine, which is the behavior we perform to get the third part: the reward, which is the satisfaction of a particular craving.

Many clients know what routine they’d like to change, but are less aware of the deeper craving they are really trying to satisfy with the reward and/or the cue that sets the automatic habit loop in motion. With heightened awareness and curiosity, clients can experiment with rewards and start to notice the cues. Once they understand all the parts of their habit loop, they are ready to make a change.

One way they can do this is by swapping out the routine. It sounds simple, but by keeping the original cue and the true reward in place, with a little practice people easily adapt to a new routine. What’s most important at this point is to both make and write down a plan: When I see <original cue>, I will do <new routine> in order to get <original reward>. It’s also helpful to remember that overcoming urges can be difficult at first, so having clients anticipate challenges to the new routine and write down what they plan to do to overcome these challenges can greatly increase their success.

There’s one more ingredient to long lasting habit change, and that’s belief. While its helpful to plan ahead and write down what you will do when you face a challenge to your new habit, it is in the face of intense challenges that many people revert, momentarily, to the old habit. When this occurs, researchers have shown that the people who are able to stay with the new habit are the ones that ultimately believe that the new habit will bring the reward they seek.

Some people are supported by belief in a higher power, some in their sponsors or the other people working with them to change the habit, and some from the experience of falling off the wagon and repeatedly getting back on it. But what people who keep the new habit seem to have in common is that they now believe that the new wagon is the thing that will carry them where they want to go.

If you’re interested in learning more about how habits work and ways to change them, then I invite you to pick up this book and see for yourself – maybe it will even satisfy a craving you have.

0 Comments

More Posts

Testimonials

Taking Business Alchemy after months of my own business planning felt like perfect timing. I had the opportunity to put to test all I had been dreaming and building and had the chance to be guided by an empathetic instructor and a supportive group of peers. Read more
Rachel Meginnes
Deeper Than Words took me beyond a place of learning to effectively communicate with others and invited me to heal and listen to my own heart. This course was educational and an experience. Read more
Lee Michael Vance, Psy.D.
The class Right Speech took me beyond the basic coaching skills into higher-level listening and mindfulness skills I now use regularly in my coaching practice and in my life. Meg Hess is a caring and knowledgeable teacher who creates an atmosphere of trust and passion for coaching.
Victoria FontanaCoach, EducatorSpain
I have taken other sales and marketing courses for coaching, but I prefer the “big picture” approach of this one, which links one’s vision to the sales and marketing process rather than simply pushing the idea of closing a coaching “sale.” Focusing on the client’s well-being and what we have to offer is much more value-driven for me.
Pat SnyderStudent CoachColumbus, Ohio
I highly recommend this class [Right Speech]. It’s an in-depth study into the forms of communication we engage in with ourselves and others!
D. Paul WilcoxStudent CoachFountain Valley, CA
Right Speech is about listening with our whole beings. This class is about more than communication… it is about being in the world fully alive! Thank you!  
Christy Endicott, MSW, LICSWPsychotherapist, Wellness/Mindfulness Life Coach
Body Electric gave me more confidence in the mindfulness and somatic tools I was using in my coaching as well as added a whole new dimension of tools to my toolbox. Having access to effective somatic tools has deepened and enriched the coaching experience for me and my clients.
Victoria FontanaMCS Graduate (PCC, MWSC)Grand Island, NY
I really enjoyed taking The Dynamic Trio: EMDR, Positive Psychology & Somatic Coaching. The course provided me with new knowledge and applications of the material, not just to use in my personal life but also to integrate what I learned into my practice as a mental health therapist… I appreciate Ann-Marie setting the mood for the group and laying the foundation for safety, acceptance and openness from the beginning.
Graciela OlidMS, LMFTRancho Cucamonga, CA
This class is a terrific investigation of the ways that mindfulness and meditation can support both the coach and client, with specific practices, tips for consistency, and scientific evidence all explored. I learned new skills for leading meditation class, supporting client well being, and deepening my own meditation practice.
Molly KnottStudent CoachTruckee, California
I attended The Dynamic Trio with Ann-Marie at a time when I was certified on all three of the “Trio” (EMDR, Positive Psychology, & Coaching). I was curious as to how these would be blended and what new things I would learn; and I ended up learning a lot indeed. Ann-Marie has a unique style that makes attending the course worthwhile. The applications she offers do have a positive tone when used with clients facing different struggles. It certainly is beneficial to capitalize on strengths through the approaches she suggests, instead of just focusing on mending one’s weaknesses. I find it a “must attend course” for practitioners in the field of any of these approaches (& others).  
Dania Dbaibo DarwishPCC, Life & Career Coach, Psychotherapist (EMDR, CBT, & Hypnotherapy)Lebanon