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Establishing Habits Workshop

Updated: Jan 12

Did you know that the 21 days number associated with habit formation is based on building a physical habit, not a mental one? That when we have a pattern of behavior and thought that is preexisting, we need to unlearn that before the new habit can become sustainable?


Think of it in terms of the four stages of learning.

  • Unconscious Incompetence: we don't know what we don't know.

  • Conscious Incompetence: we are fully aware that we don't know something or how to do something. This is a very uncomfortable place to be if you care about the topic and no big deal if you don't expect yourself to have that expertise.

  • Conscious Competence: we can do something, but it takes intention and commitment. Often there's a lot of flipping back and forth between Conscious Incompetence and Conscious Competence.

  • Unconscious Competence: that behavior has become so much a part of us, that they take very little effort to do, such as driving your shoes or being so lost in thought that you forget you're driving.

Behaviors are in the realm of Conscious Competence. Habits are in the realm of Unconscious Competence. If you have a preexisting habit, how can you change it or leverage it to help adopt the behavior you want?


There are three parts to a habit loop: a trigger or cue, the behavior, and a reward. The trigger lets us know it's time to do the behavior. A reward is immediate and creates a positive emotional response which releases dopamine so we want to do that behavior again in the future. We can create our own reward by substituting a celebration like doing a happy dance, smiling, giving ourselves a high five. As long as it creates a strong emotional response and happens immediately after the behavior it will be considered a reward. The key with the behavior is choosing the right behaviors and making them so small that doing them consistently is incredibly easy. This helps us overcome the inertia associated with starting a new behavior.


I teach a workshop on Establishing Habits based on the wonderful book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, pHd. If you would like to offer this to your organization or group, I'd be happy to discuss this with you!

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