In this debut self-help guide, an executive coach explains how to shed bad habits in personal and professional life.
For Kaplan, who holds a doctorate in psychology, having willpower is not the answer, as it won’t lead to sustainable habit change. Instead, he says, one must undergo what he calls a “waking-up process,” consisting of mindfulness exercises that include taking a “habit inventory” to become more fully aware of subconscious behaviors, such as grimacing whenever a problematic colleague appears. He then outlines various steps to prepare for successful habit change, including setting what he terms “R.E.A.L” goals—realistic, evaluative (measured results), action-oriented, and time-limited. He discusses common barriers to change—e.g., value conflicts, such as how a family tradition of bonding over food may compete with a desire to maintain a healthy weight—and offers tips to overcome such obstacles: for instance, after overeating at a family dinner, take a walk to burn extra calories. Kaplan also recommends daily meditation and, crucially, developing a “three-question mantra,” by which to consider—and thus become more accountable to—one’s ongoing choices and actions. Kaplan wraps up by noting that his book touches on the same “inside secrets” featured in a 126-hour coach training program he co-developed; he also provides a link to his coaching website. While one aim of Kaplan’s brief book is surely to serve as promotional material for his consulting services, there are also some useful and practical exercises. More client examples would have been welcome, but Kaplan nevertheless offers down-to-earth suggestions for the professional and personal realms, including reducing your nighttime TV viewing if your habit goal is to get to bed earlier. His guide could be a solid quick-start manual to helping readers start to recognize and ultimately change some fundamentally self-defeating behaviors.
Slim but still helpful behavioral guide.