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A 5-step coach’s guide for rewiring unwanted habits

A career coach’s guide for 5 steps to rewiring unwanted habits

Habits play a crucial role in shaping our lives, both personally and professionally. While some habits are positive and empowering, others can hinder our progress and limit our success. As a career coach, one of the key areas I focus on with clients is identifying and rewiring unwanted habits that may be holding them back from reaching their full potential.

In this blog post, I will guide you through five effective steps to help you successfully rewire those unwanted habits and create a path toward personal and professional growth.


Step 1: Awareness and Identification

The first step in rewiring unwanted habits is to become aware of them. Take a close look at your daily routines and behaviors, and reflect on any patterns that are not serving your goals or values. For example, let’s say you’ve noticed a habit of constantly checking your email and getting distracted during important tasks, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress.

Recognizing this habit and its negative impact is crucial for initiating change. Keep a journal or use a habit-tracking app to record your observations. By acknowledging the habits you wish to change, you set the stage for meaningful transformation.


Let’s say you’ve noticed a habit of negative self-talk, where you constantly criticize yourself and doubt your abilities. This habit can hinder your confidence and limit your willingness to take on new challenges.

A career coach can help you develop a deeper level of self-awareness by asking thought-provoking questions and facilitating introspection. They may use assessments or exercises to help you identify patterns and habits that are hindering your progress. Through active listening and insightful feedback, a career coach can help you gain clarity on the specific habits that need to be addressed.

Active Listening

A career coach actively listens to your concerns, challenges, and goals. Through attentive listening, they can identify recurring patterns and behaviors that may be holding them back.

Reflective Questions

A career coach asks thought-provoking questions to help you explore your habits and their impact. They encourage self-reflection, helping you gain insights into the underlying causes of your unwanted habits.

Objective Perspective

A career coach provides an objective viewpoint, offering fresh perspectives and helping you see blind spots that may hinder self-awareness.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

– Aristotle


Step 2: Understanding Triggers and Rewards

Habits are often triggered by specific cues and followed by rewards that reinforce their existence. To rewire unwanted habits, it’s crucial to understand these triggers and rewards. Ask yourself, “What triggers this behavior, and what reward am I seeking?”

Continuing with the previous example, the trigger for constantly checking email might be feeling the need to stay updated or fear of missing something important, while the reward could be a temporary sense of relief or a distraction from challenging tasks. By identifying these patterns, you can start to disrupt them and replace them with healthier alternatives.


In the case of negative self-talk, the trigger could be a mistake or receiving constructive criticism, and the reward may be a temporary sense of familiarity or the illusion of avoiding further failure.

A career coach can help you uncover the underlying triggers and rewards associated with your unwanted habits. They will guide you in examining the circumstances, emotions, and thoughts that precede and follow the habit. By analyzing these triggers and rewards together, the career coach can assist you in developing a comprehensive understanding of the habit’s origins and the role it plays in your life.

Probing Questions

A career coach asks targeted questions to uncover the triggers and rewards associated with your habits. They help you explore the emotions, circumstances, and thoughts that lead to the habit and the positive outcomes or relief you derive from it.

Analysis and Reflection

Through discussions and analysis, a career coach assists you in connecting the dots between your habits and their underlying triggers and rewards. They guide you in identifying the subconscious motivations behind your behaviors.

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

 – Franklin D. Roosevelt


Step 3: Replace and Reframe

Once you have a clear understanding of the triggers and rewards associated with your unwanted habits, it’s time to replace them with new, positive behaviors. Identify alternative actions that align with your goals and values. In the case of checking email excessively, you could replace this habit by scheduling specific email-checking times during the day and setting boundaries for uninterrupted work periods.

Additionally, you can implement strategies such as time-blocking, where you allocate dedicated time slots for important tasks and prioritize your work accordingly. As you integrate these new behaviors, reframe your mindset and focus on the positive impact they have on your productivity and well-being.


Instead of engaging in negative self-talk, you can replace it with positive affirmations or constructive self-reflection. Reframe your mindset by reminding yourself of your strengths, acknowledging areas for growth, and seeking solutions rather than dwelling on mistakes.

Career coaches are skilled in helping clients explore alternative behaviors and reframing their mindsets. They can suggest practical strategies and techniques that align with your goals and values. A career coach may introduce new perspectives, provide resources, or offer exercises that encourage the adoption of healthier habits. They will guide you in reframing your thoughts and self-talk, empowering you to embrace positive change.

Customized Strategies

A career coach collaborates with you to develop personalized strategies to replace unwanted habits. They consider your unique circumstances, goals, and strengths to suggest alternative behaviors that align with your desired outcomes.

Cognitive Restructuring

A career coach helps you reframe your mindset and challenge negative thought patterns associated with your habits. They provide tools and techniques to shift your perspective and cultivate positive thinking.

Skill Development

A career coach may introduce specific skills or practices that can support habit change. For example, they might teach you time-management techniques, stress-reduction exercises, or mindfulness practices to help you adopt healthier behaviors.

“Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”

– Charles Duhigg


Step 4: Consistency and Accountability

Consistency is key when rewiring habits. Create a plan and commit to it. Set specific goals and define measurable steps toward change. For example, establish a goal of checking email only three times a day and gradually reduce it to a more manageable level.

Consider enlisting an accountability partner, whether it’s a colleague, friend, or mentor, who can provide support, encouragement, and gentle reminders to keep you on track. Regularly assess your progress and adjust your strategies as needed. Celebrate your wins along the way, as this reinforces the positive change you are making.


Set a goal to practice positive self-talk for at least five minutes each morning. Write down affirmations or reflect on recent achievements. Share your progress with a trusted friend, who can check in with you regularly to ensure you’re following through.A career coach serves as an accountability partner throughout the habit-rewiring process.

They will work with you to set specific goals, break them down into actionable steps, and create a timeline for implementation. By regularly checking in and providing support, a career coach helps you stay committed and motivated. They offer encouragement, celebrate your progress, and help you overcome obstacles that may arise along the way.

Goal Setting and Action Planning

A career coach helps you set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) for rewiring your habits. They assist in breaking down those goals into actionable steps and creating an action plan.

Check-ins and Progress Evaluation

A career coach holds regular check-in sessions to review your progress, offer support, and provide constructive feedback. They help you stay accountable to your goals and celebrate your achievements.

Motivation and Encouragement

A career coach provides motivation and encouragement during challenging times. They remind you of the positive changes you’ve already made, reinforcing your commitment to rewiring your habits.

“Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”

– Napoleon Hill


Step 5: Patience and Self-Compassion

Rewiring habits is not an overnight process; it requires time, patience, and self-compassion. Be realistic about the challenges you may encounter, and understand that setbacks are a natural part of the journey. Instead of being overly critical, practice self-compassion and learn from these moments.

Embrace the process and focus on progress rather than perfection. Remember, every small step forward counts and contributes to your overall growth. If you find yourself slipping back into old habits, remind yourself of the progress you’ve made and refocus your efforts on the positive changes you’re implementing.


If you catch yourself slipping into negative self-talk again, remind yourself that it’s part of the process, and don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, take a moment to refocus and engage in positive self-talk, reminding yourself of the progress you’ve made so far. A career coach understands that rewiring habits take time and patience. They provide a safe space for you to express your frustrations, setbacks, and doubts.


Guidance on Practicing Self-Compassion

A career coach will offer guidance on practicing self-compassion and maintaining a positive mindset during challenging moments. They remind you of the progress you’ve made, help you learn from setbacks, and reframe them as valuable learning experiences.

Emotional Support

A career coach offers emotional support and understanding throughout the habit-rewiring process. They create a non-judgmental space where you can openly express your struggles and frustrations.

Reframing Setbacks

A career coach helps you reframe setbacks as learning opportunities rather than failures. They guide you in extracting lessons from setbacks and adjusting your strategies accordingly.

Self-Reflection and Growth Mindset

A career coach encourages self-reflection and cultivates a growth mindset. They help you practice self-compassion, emphasizing that habit change is a journey requiring patience and a focus on progress rather than perfection.

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

– Louise L. Hay



Rewiring unwanted habits is a transformative journey that empowers you to take control of your personal and professional life. By following these five steps – awareness and identification, understanding triggers and rewards, replacing and reframing, consistency and accountability, and patience and self-compassion – you can successfully navigate this process and create positive change.

Remember, habits are not set in stone, and with dedication and persistence, you can build new behaviors that align with your aspirations and propel you toward career success and fulfillment.


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Coaching 4 Companies – Your premier executive coaching service


We are a young, vibrant, and diverse executive career coaching group, with the operation registered in 2019, however, the formation was a 45-year career lifetime in preparation. During that period our founder Wayne Brown observed and worked with leaders of all levels in organizations across industries and cultures globally.

Based on that exposure, our company has intentionally set out to support those practicing the art and science of leadership – or as often referred to, “Executive Talent.” These are people who acknowledge that they are not experts. They are open to opportunities for continued growth and carry the desire for learning what is needed to become a success in today’s complexity and uncertainty.

To this end, we have purposely structured our company and engaged with associates in strategic global locations, so that we are able to provide the full suite of transformational executive career coaching, facilitation, and education support required.




  1. “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg
  2. “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear
  3. “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One” by Dr. Joe Dispenza
  4. “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck
  5. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey
  6. “Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives” by Gretchen Rubin


  1. “How to Break Bad Habits and Form Good Ones” by James Clear
  2. “The Science of Habits: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change” by S.J. Scott
  3. “Rewiring Your Brain to Create New Habits” by Srini Pillay, M.D.
  4. “How to Change Bad Habits and Master Self-Control” by Kendra Cherry
  5. “The Habit Loop: 5 Steps to Creating New Habits” by Kendra Cherry


  1. The Power of Habit” TED Talk by Charles Duhigg
  2. How to Break Bad Habits” TEDx Talk by Judson Brewer
  3. The Habits of Happiness” TED Talk by Matthieu Ricard
  4. How to Rewire Your Brain to Improve Your Life” TEDx Talk by Tom Bilyeu
  5. Change Your Habits, Change Your Life” by Bob Proctor




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