Archives for bad habits

Find It Hard to Break Bad Habits or Form Good Ones? Check Your Self-Talk!

The inner critic… do we all have one? No, but the vast majority of us do. The real question is, what is it saying? Are you consciously aware of it? What decisions does it make for you?

My first professional coach called the inner critic a gremlin. She was a great help in helping me recognize my inner voice. She helped me realize just how much of my decision-making was driven by this inner critic.

  • It inhibited my relationships, because it caused me to feel self-conscious being my authentic self.
  • It limited my future, as it told me what was and wasn’t possible for me.
  • It stunted my growth, as it told me to defend myself rather than take accountability.

When I first recognized this inner critic, I was pretty mad and it. She gave me permission to express that anger, and assigned homework like putting my gremlin’s face on a balloon, giving it a few good punches, and then popping it.

I wrote down the common things I noticed it saying, mostly that I wasn’t good enough and wasn’t deserving of good things. I can directly attribute this work to launching this business nearly 15 years ago. If I hadn’t have recognized this voice telling me how destined I was to fail, I would have never told that voice to shut the hell up!

That voice didn’t go away. It still shows up, and I am grateful for it. Because you know what? Sometimes I am not my highest self, and it shows up to tell me where there is room to grow and love me through it.

I have found that the key to growing consciously is not to make the inner critic an enemy, but to realize the inner critic is YOU, and to start turning your inner critic into a constructive conscious coach who speaks kindly to you and loves you unconditionally.

I once had a coach help me understand if I didn’t have a great relationship with money, I need to think of money as someone I’m dating and wish to attract. How am I regarding money? Do I resent money? Do I expect that it will go, so I put my guard up and refuse to welcome it in the first place? Do I do things to make money know how special it is to me, what a priority it is to me? How am I treating money?

When I thought to apply this lesson to my inner critic, my conscious growth expanded exponentially!

The people who have been influential in shaping us are people. They have not always been their highest selves, and unfortunately, we often define ourselves by those moments. These moments can create trauma and wounds that we may never know need to be healed unless we become aware of them. They form beliefs about our relationship to this world, what’s for us and what’s against us. And, they contribute to the fuel our inner critic uses to “save us” from experiencing that rejection again.

When you tune into your inner critic, do you hear your own voice, or the voices of others who have projected their own insecurities onto you? When I tune in while in a deeply reflective state of mind, I hear my own voice, but I flash back to moments when others shrunk my sense of self.

I’ll be real with you – this can be painful to relive. I recommend journaling. Imagine that you, present day as your highest self, could intervene with your younger self, and, like the parent you want to be, teach your younger self that those hurtful words and/or actions were not about you! They are not the truth. Tell your younger self what the truth is!

You might think this is woo woo crazy stuff, but you already have a voice that speaks to you. It’s already you, so you might as well speak to yourself as your highest self – kindly, with compassion and grace.

Do you feel engaged, inspired, and inclined to do what a bully tells you? Do you want to succeed for this bully, or do you want to sabotage this bully?

When you want to form a good habit or break a bad habit, your conscious mind attempts to give your unconscious mind an order. Your unconscious mind likes to take orders, but like you, it might take or leave orders based on the kind of rapport it has with the “boss.” Otherwise, it will continue along the path of least resistance, which is to keep listening to the inner critic.

We make what is conscious unconscious, or automatic, through repetition, which can be accelerated when the mind is in the most receptive state. In order to make your unconscious inner critic the kind of loving, inspiring leader you want to listen to, be intentional, kind, and patient with yourself. Have regular pep talks with yourself. Send yourself internal verbal votes of confidence. Affirmations have been clinically proven to produce results.

Habits go from a push to a pull once your unconscious mind starts to cooperate. Just like any good leader will get the best results in the short and long-term by inspiring his/her team with a compelling vision and by appealing to their highest selves, you will find good habits more easily form and bad habits more easily break when you convert your inner critic to your most powerful advocate and cheerleader.

Hard Habit to Break (2006 Remaster)

Provided to YouTube by Rhino/Warner RecordsHard Habit to Break (2006 Remaster) · ChicagoChicago 17℗ 1984 Warner Records Inc.Guitar, Keyboards: Bill ChamplinB…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

The Low Down on Willpower: Why It’s Often Not Enough and How to Compensate


Here’s what we know about it: It’s limited, but with the right motivation and the right conditions, it can be THE thing that helps you create the change you want in your life.

But what if… you didn’t get enough sleep one day? What if something stressful happens in your life? (That’s inevitable.) What if your blood sugar is low one day?

The right conditions for willpower can be very tricky to control all the time.

Gretchen Rubin, aficionado of good habits and author of several great books on forming habits, has pointed out that forming one good habit tends to eventually create a ripple effect of other good habits. One of the reasons is because willpower is like a muscle, and if you exercise it regularly, it gets stronger over time. Another reason is because our brains release dopamine when things feel good. When change feels good, we crave more of it.

However, using willpower can consume so much mental energy that we become less effective at work, in our workouts, or at solving problems. Have you ever noticed when starting a new diet that you feel more exhausted or less competent? As I already stated, you can gradually build up a larger and larger reserve of willpower, but you have to overcome those conditions on a very regular basis.

Another great point by Gretchen Rubin is that forming a new habit is so consuming because you have to constantly consciously make the decision to NOT engage in the bad habit and TO engage in the good habit until the new habit becomes automatic and you no longer have to even think about it.

My biggest frustrations as a coach were when my clients simply would not do what I was advising them to do. In my early years, this took a toll on my relationship with them, as I would grow very frustrated. By digging deep into the everyday individual challenges of engaging in a new activity with integrity from my own perspective and getting some coaching in emotional intelligence, I developed a greater sense of empathy and compassion. As much as my clients appreciated my patience, compassion, and validation of their feelings, it kept them comfortable in their challenges instead of moving them past them.

In my quest to be the most effective force for personal transformation I can be, I was left with a couple of nagging questions:

  • If our conscious efforts can so easily be sabotaged and have such a cost, what can we do to get our subconscious to be on board quicker so that new habits become automatic?
  • If being tough and no-nonsense doesn’t inspire change in my clients, and being too compassionate doesn’t inspire my clients to change, and I know that they want change, what is the right balance to use and the right tools to use that will help them love themselves through the change and create a safe space for them to transform?

As a leader, have you ever asked yourself these questions? The drive of a leader is to oversee the development and transformation of others into leaders. I have to imagine that all leaders have discovered the same strengths and shortcomings of tough love and compassion. Finding the balance takes trial and error and experience. Even with the wisdom of experience, we have to be able to apply that wisdom when conditions, like lack of sleep, low blood sugar, stress, are present.

For the answers, I turned to science: neuroscience and psychology. What they have discovered in the past 10 years negates much of what we knew prior and a lot of what I learned in college, but some fundamentals remain. Planting roots for good habits is still very much based on the cognitive learning methods of positive and negative conditioning, but we are finding that negative conditioning has some detrimental side effects that contribute to mental health declines, even though it appears to be more effective in the short-term. This is why positive psychology branched out as a practice in 1998. Public perception of this practice has held it back, as people believe that positive psychology is merely about “thinking positive,” which many struggles to do with much regularity. Much the same way, the media/Hollywood and a few mal-intended practitioners of NLP (like hypnosis, but using regular conversation to induce trance) have given hypnosis a very bad reputation.

Take the highly-nominated Academy Award film Get Out. Ugh. It’s a shame that people will not seek out a solution with such potential to change their lives for the better because they believe this portrayal of hypnosis as some malevolent form of mind control. I have already had people claim that hypnosis is “too invasive.” If you watched this film, I couldn’t blame you for getting that impression, but you must realize that this was a movie created by the imagination of Jordan Peele. You might also get the impression from watching this film that white people are wackos, or that Peel thinks so. You might not know that Peele is half white himself.

The truth is that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, it’s a way to get you into rapport with your subconscious mind, and if I were to give you suggestion under trance that was out of alignment with your values and morals, you would come out of trance. The other truth is that I am not using hypnosis to impose my will on you. I was trained to make sure that the ecology and well-being of the client come first, and your words are the most effective words I can use, so before a session, I am capturing how you feel, words you use and what you want most for your life post-session.

I had to clear up my kids’ perception of hypnosis, as they have seen cartoons where characters bark like a dog. I did see a hypnosis show in which fellow college classmates did some crazy things, but those were the same people who would be seen doing crazy things without the influence of hypnosis, and perhaps under the influence of something else that would lower inhibitions. I noticed that the hypnotist sent some people back to their seats. These were the people who would not have wanted to do something crazy.

Psychology was my career of choice as a high school Junior. But someone had said to me that people become psychologists because they’re crazy themselves. This turned me off to that career path. I don’t regret my communications concentration – it had a lot of cross-over and I certainly use it heavily as a coach. However, I know enough now to feel certain about the contribution that I can make with hypnosis, and I’m not going to let the perceptions of a practice discourage me from promoting it and using it.

You may decide that it’s still too mysterious, or that you want to build up your own willpower muscle. I believe that it’s an admirable endeavor, especially if you can afford the time it takes to do that.

If, however, you can’t afford to take a lot of time, or the pace at which you need change has to keep up with the pace of business, technology, life, etc. consider hypnosis as a safe, natural alternative to a fallible, limited reserve of willpower.


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Ben Harper – The Will to Live

The Will to Live (1997)