There’s a lot of advice about incorporating new healthy habits but that’s only part of it.
What about eliminating the unhealthy habits that are detrimental to our health?
A little bit of neuroscience:
For our brain, habits become automatic, so when we try to stop an unhealthy habit, this
creates dissonance in our brain which triggers the fight-flight-freeze response. The
purpose of this response is to help us avoid the perceived “threat” (change) and return
to the unhealthy behavior even if it’s not good for us.
Even unhealthy habits feel good initially because they cause the brain to release
dopamine (the feel-good hormone). This is why it’s hard to sustainably change
So how do we work around this?
1.) Identify WHY you want to make this change – be specific about how it will affect
your health, relationships, abilities, longevity etc.
2.) Identify your INTERNAL + EXTERNAL TRIGGERS – what internal feelings,
thoughts, sensations trigger this behavior? What external people, places,
situations trigger this behavior?
3.) It’s more effective to identify “positive” goals – stating what you WILL DO
versus “negative” goals – which focus on what you WILL NOT DO.
4.) Identify + try ways of modifying your behavior – change your routine, replace with
a healthier option
5.) Take incremental steps towards your goal. The all-or-nothing approach is not
Urges usually pass after about 20 minutes. Engage in a healthy distraction and
ride it out.
Change is not a linear process. It’s normal to have setbacks. Practice self-
compassion and get support when you need it.
If you’re struggling to sustainably eliminate unhealthy habits, I’d be honored to support
you! We will create a wellness vision, SMART long and short-term goals and I will be
your compassionate accountability partner, helping you uncover blind spots and
navigate barriers to success.
I invite you to schedule a COMPLIMENTARY DISCOVERY CALL with me here.
Abby Thrasher is originally from sunny San Diego, CA and recently relocated to Cincinnati, OH after living in the Bay Area (CA) for almost 30 years. She is a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach with a background in Occupational Therapy, Dance, Yoga and Massage Therapy. She received her BA in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz in 1999 and her MS in Occupational Therapy at San Jose State University in 2009. Her experience as an Occupational Therapist (OT) was primarily in acute and outpatient mental health settings, with a few years of physical rehab work, which both strongly complement her training as a Health Coach.
In between her degrees, she explored other professions including Elementary School Teaching and Massage Therapy and made time for two of her passions – Dance and Travel – dancing with 3 Bay Area companies and exploring other cultures and ways of living. She is working towards the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach credential (ACC), is very passionate about a root cause approach to holistic health.