‘It took me a while to actually make the decision to sign up for life-coaching with Rachael, because my difficulty was with habits that I was deeply ashamed of – mainly cigarette smoking, but also binge drinking and comfort eating.’
This feeling of shame and that we should be able to control our bad habits is very common. But the point of a habit is that it is something which happens largely unconsciously, and that your brain believes should be happening. So, when we try to change it through will-power, we usually fail, because there is a much more powerful drive underneath. Over time we start to believe that we actually can’t change it. As the client said:
‘I didn’t expect to actually manage to tackle any of my bad habits (particularly smoking) during the 3 months of the package, but I wanted to try to find at least the hope of changing them, because my situation had started to feel very hopeless. I believed that everything that I wanted to change about my behaviour was somehow all tied together – like lots of different coloured embroidery threads, twisted and knotted with the beginnings and ends difficult to locate. But other people around me (including my GP) felt that I couldn’t hope to tackle everything all at once. So, I went for years, not getting to grips with even one of these threads, just tangling all of them more and more, and becoming increasingly self-critical.’
Nearly all bad habits are an attempt to leave the present moment and avoid feeling whatever you’re feeling. So, undoing a habit is both about breaking down the neural pathway you’ve created, and (usually) dealing with why you created it in the first place.
There is no need to feel shame (and it’s never helpful). You are not your habits. You were you before you created them, and you are still you underneath them. Don’t think of yourself as ‘a smoker’, ‘a drinker’ or whatever. It’s just something you’ve been doing for a while. Think of your habit like the cloud covering up the sun and blue sky- these are always there just waiting for the cloud to pass over.
You are also not your thoughts, urges, emotions or behaviours. You are the part of you that can step back and observe these things happening.
I worked together with the client to help her connect with herself, underneath these old patterns and ways of being. The more she did this, the less attached she became to the habits, and the more she started to see them as a programme which she had created. She could choose to follow this programme, or not, rather than seeing it as something which trapped her.
‘I was amazed how quickly I started to notice big changes in myself, once the coaching began. It was quite an unusual journey – we set off in a much different direction than I had anticipated. Sometimes I had to be brave, but I felt very safe with Rachael. The way we worked together made me excited for change, and there were plenty of laughs along the way, too. I started to think that, if I didn’t solve the problems I had intended to solve, it wouldn’t matter, because I was solving problems that I didn’t realize I had! I was finding a new appetite for life, for my work, for creativity. But, of course, Rachael did know exactly where we were going. What she was doing was finding all the ends of the coloured threads for me, so I could loosen them.
I never imagined for a minute that I would actually untie them all. I’m, of course, very proud that I am now a non smoker (and I haven’t been able to say that for years!), but more important than that is that I now have the tools to cope and find my way back if I lose my way again. I will always be grateful for this.
Thank you so much, Rachael. Saying thank you doesn’t really seem like enough when you have literally given me back my life.’
If you want to get your life back, contact me for your free 60 minute initial session.