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Is your bad habit or behaviour actually helping you?

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How many times have you had a habit or behaviour  which you knew was bad for your health, self esteem or general wellbeing and you have taken active steps to break it only to fall off the wagon? Changing ourselves can be tricky sometimes.


Just when we think we have successfully adopted a new, more empowering habit or behaviour, the old one creeps back in.


This could quite possibly be due to the existence of a sub-conscious underlying reason, which can be called a Secondary Gain or a Pay-Off. This underlying reason is why we continue with a certain habit or behaviour even though we are consciously aware that the activity is not beneficial to us.


These habits and behaviours could include smoking, excessive shopping on your credit card, blaming others for your problems, being non-assertive or   a yes person. They all have an underlying  pay-off factor.


A smoker who finds it difficult to quit or manages to for a while and then goes back to the habit may make the excuse that stressful situations cause the lapse in the effort to quit the habit.  Perhaps we feel more part of a peer group or accepted by others. The excuses are numerous.


Whether it is low self esteem, lack of confidence or motivation, continual negative thinking, peer pressure – they will all have an underlying payoff factor – which may or may not be positive.


The first step would be to analyse the actual underlying reason and determine whether it is positive or negative. Self introspection and being honest with oneself is the key here.


If the underlying reason is avoiding a deeper issue then one must first deal with this issue and understand that that the habit or behaviour is limiting oneself.


Empowering habits or behaviour are only possible when one gets to the root of the limiting belief or fear. For example, an individual who stays on in a job despite growing job dissatisfaction may believe that this is important to provide for his family but he may actually be scared of stepping out of his comfort zone and challenging himself. Recognising this limiting belief or fear, the individual could consider baby steps towards stepping out of his comfort zone by asking for more challenging work or seeking avenues for further learning and development in his organisation  thus contributing to both his and the organisation’s success in the long run.


On the other hand, there may be a positive underlying factor for the individual. For example, a person who has self assertion issues might keep failing in his quest to become self assertive because he may have learnt early in life that to maintain the peace and draw away attention from himself, it was beneficial to keep quiet when there is conflict. This might have served the purpose of keeping away the fear of being unpopular or even being bullied. In adult life, this habit or behaviour might not serve the person.


Instead the person might do well to understand what benefit they were getting from this behaviour and see if there is a positive behaviour which can replace the undermining behaviour and yet give the same results such as asserting neutrality in conflicts where the person is a third party or learning to express oneself while willing to listen to the other’s point of view openly and objectively.


By doing this, one will have made a good start at gaining a higher order of change. The more changes one makes that still satisfy the Secondary Gain, the easier it will be to change habits and behaviours.
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Meet your coach

I believe the world would be a better place if high achieving professionals accepted setbacks and challenges to their careers as Wake Up Calls to embark on a Journey where their empowered course correcting actions create a New World Order that encompasses achieving their career aspirations & potential with authentic life balance.

Using a combination of intuition and analytical skills, I help my clients identify their real issues with exercises to still their mind and allow their inner feeling to emerge in a place of confidentiality and trust.

I work with driven, passionate, talented and ambitious professionals who’ve hit a speed breaker in their business or career create their desired breakthrough reclaiming control of their situation with customized strategies and tactics that work.

When my clients first come to me, they are not in a very happy place and need clarity about themselves and their chosen vocation. Their professional problems are playing havoc with other areas of their life. They know they need to take radical steps to change the status quo but they also know that they need support and accountability to get them their desired result.

I really get it, because at one point, I also experienced getting lost in my work rationalizing decisions that were detrimental to the other aspects of my life. I’ve struggled with and won battles of stress management, life balance and career decisions to emerge in a place where I can confidently say that I live my desired life according to my personal Manifesto and have created a business that provides me with a platform for my desired lifestyle and self-expression for myself. I want that for you too!

I adhere to the Certified Coaches Alliance Code of Ethics and Standards. A copy is available on request.
1st place BCB 2012
Email: Vatsala(at)karmicallycoaching(dot)com Phone:91 9818517664
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