This guide offers strategies and visualizations that aim to help readers take control of their own actions.
Business and life coach Goldmann thoroughly examines unwanted habits in this helpful book. Part I addresses the idea of willpower, which isn’t something that can simply be turned on or off, the author says; instead, he suggests that the mind must recognize that there is a “Choosing Space” in between a stimulus and an action, during which a person can take control and decide what specific action to take. In one of the most compelling parts of the book, he describes how people use stories to absolve themselves of their own behaviors, thus making bad habits harder to break. In one example, he describes a person named Pat who says, “I scream at Alex because s/he doesn’t do the dishes.” Simply rephrasing this story to, “When Alex doesn’t do the dishes, I get angry and scream,” Goldmann says, changes the dynamic to allow Pat to take responsibility for his/her own actions. This, in turn, allows a person to act with more integrity. The book includes several worksheets to help readers isolate unwanted habits, identify their triggers, and express ways to replace them. Goldmann also describes a powerful idea called a “Sentinel”—a sort of “alarm” in the brain that signals that one’s actions are inconsistent with one’s intentions; for example, if one wants to break the habit of swearing around young children, one can train a Sentinel to kick in when one is in the presence of kids. Part II offers many exercises to develop and train the Sentinel as well as specific ways to isolate and reverse unwanted actions. Overall, the book does an excellent job of describing how humans form and keep bad habits, and it offers a wealth of effective tools and exercises to remedy them. The overall tone isn’t one of judgment or criticism, which may be helpful to readers who might be defensive or resistant to change. The guide makes its process a personal one in which the reader is fully in charge.
A thorough, conversational guide to aligning one’s habits and actions with one’s intentions.