Session 5: Choosing, Not Choosing, Commitment and Habits

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You can listen to Pam’s presentation of the session by clicking on play below. 


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Session 5 PDF (opens a new window)


Are you going to chose the life you live? Are you going to vote with your life energy for what will make you happy? Are you going to treat yourself well?

You are in it for the long haul with your body and your thoughts. If you choose self-awareness you will have that self-awareness and the experience of “being inside your being” as a constant companion from now until you take your last breath.

At age 15 you wonder what everybody is thinking about you, at age 45 you don’t much care whatother people are thinking about you, and at age 85 you realise they weren’t thinking about you in the first place. Even your mother does not spend every waking minute thinking about how you should live your life. If you go much beyond “where to go to eat tonight” or “what movie to see”, letting others choose for you is a dangerous business.

Besides, letting anyone else choose for you is wasteful. No one else knows you well enough. What would be 100% for you right now? Only you know. Only your client knows for him/herself. What will you say yes to in your life? What will you say not to? Think of yourself as the majority shareholder in your life. What are the strategic decisions that will help you flourish into the next decades?

Coaching Tips

light_bulb_ideaYour clients may at times feel trapped in inaction. They might find it hard to make decisions, to say yes, because that would close off a possibility. But possibility can be a trap if overindulged. Encourage your clients to dwell in actuality. To choose, take action and create a life.

Not Choosing: ‘Have to’, ‘Ought to’, ‘Need to’, ‘Must’, ‘Should’

Pressure words. In NLP we refer to them as Modal Operators of Necessity. Notice when these words find their way into your client’s language. This is not the language of someone who is choosing.

You can offer an assignment to a client who notices and wants to change the pressure words they are living with. Catch every pressure word for a week and turn each of them into “I want to”. As you evaluate having made that statement in your head, wonderful insights are available. Yes, I do want to. No, I don’t want to but I don’t want to disappoint someone and that is more important to me. No, I don’t want to and I’ll fi nd the courage to say so.

Most of us at some time have felt it was easier to be a victim, we may have a habit of bonding with others by commiserating about our impossible circumstances. Those conversations have no place in a coaching relationship. As a coach you can identify with the client i.e. “I can tell you feel that way” without identifying with the problem i.e. “yes, that is awful”.

When you identify with the client, you are confirming that to the client “it” feels awful. But you are also assuming that the client can change “it” or the way they think about “it” or both. This is a place for the coach to use maximum rapport. It is not about confrontation, rather it is assuming a frame – the client is bigger than this situation, and he/she can choose.


Why is it that we want to _____________ but we don’t take action? Do we not really want to; is it a should? Are we lazy or undisciplined? Do we have limiting beliefs? Are we fearful? We think and say we are committed to wanting something for ourselves, but no action follows that voice of commitment.

To learn about commitment, the coach and client search with extreme curiosity – this can be a minefield of self-recrimination for the client, for the truth about how the client commits. When is commitment easy? When has the client committed to something, then the actions that were required to keep the commitment followed easily and naturally? How can clients model themselves to discover their own natural style of commitment?

Often commitments are invisible to us. There is no debate, no question. We don’t wonder for a minute about taking an action or not taking it. That is the point! We are so deeply committed that action is, if not automatic, close to it. No doubt, no struggle.

Start looking for where your behaviour demonstrates that you are deeply committed. Do the same as your clients. Discover the underlying structure. We have never met any parents who had to decide whether they felt like feeding their children that day. We’re talking about a lot of meals here, a daily (if not hourly at times) commitment. For 18, 20 years or more.

What are some strategies? Filling out a chart, calling a friend, planning a reward, setting a time limit – there are so many ways of getting committed, and sizes of commitment to make. Earnest commitment comes when the client takes time to develop a highly individualised strategy. As a coach, you can offer possibilities, but once again, the client will create a better strategy. Often the client’s new strategy sparks from something you have offered, so you don’t need to hold back.

At the same time, don’t make figuring it out your agenda. Toss options into the mix and let go of them. The client is expert, once again. Action follows thought, and when the thought is rich enough, action follows easily, inevitably.

  • Lose weight
  • Spend time alone
  • Spend time with a child
  • Make the phone calls
  • Get organised
  • Visit friends
  • Eat better
  • Exercise
  • Write
  • Learn about ….
  • Read books


We change our eating habits one meal at a time. We get adequate rest one night and one nap at a time. We fi nd inner peace one moment at a time. Many lifestyle changes can occur by incorporating small habits into our lives. We like to chunk down to five minute habits. Five minutes rarely feels overwhelming. Even on the days we don’t feel like it, we will do something for five minutes.

What five-minute habits, what tiny steps, would support your movement toward the way of life you want? Items that have shown up on habits lists include things like spending five minutes holding a pet, writing a postcard, reading something funny, being grateful, getting through the mail, making a phone call, listening to language tapes. You may say one can’t make progress at the rate of five minutes a day, but it is movement. Many clients are amazed at the disproportionate result in terms of quality of life as a result of what feels like a tiny time investment.


Please ensure that you have read Pages 42 – 45 and have listened to the MP3 recording before completing the following exercises. Please then post your completed work in the Comment box at the bottom of this page. We recommend that you complete your work in a Word Document so that you have your own copy. Thank you!

Developing Healthy Habits

Exercise 1

Track your own habits for a week or a month. Use a daily habits sheet and a periodic habits sheet. The periodic sheet will include things that you do regularly, but perhaps only a few times a year.

Please reflect on and write about your findings.  What do you want to do less of? What don’t you do enough of? What do you want to do more of? In short, what changes do you want to make? (250 – 500 words)

Exercise 2

Start collecting healthy habits – begin a collection of habits that you enjoy and that enrich you in some way. Record your habits and create a menu that you can choose from. You will not be saying yes to all, or even any of these habits at this time. Just concentrate on articulating them, planning them out. When you are in a position to commit to the habit, the “figuring out” work will be done.

Quick Habits – 30 seconds to 5 minutes

  • Stop and put on a ½ smile
  • Pause for 30 seconds before eating a meal
  • Write down 5 things that you are grateful for before going to sleep at night
  • B-R-E-A-T-H-E
  • Watch 11:11 on the clock
  • Take a 5 minute lie down

Periodic Regular Habits – things you may do weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly

  • Go the theatre or a museum
  • Walk slowly through a park or garden near where you live
  • Play a musical instrument
  • Go somewhere where you can dance
  • Paint or draw
  • Attend a lecture or seminar
  • Leave the phone off the hook for an entire day


  1. Exercise 1:

    I want to watch less TV

    I would like to eat healthier food at a set time of day

    I want to sit down less

    I would like to spend more time painting

    I would like to spend more quality time with my husband and children

    I would like to take more exercise

    I seem to spend a lot of time not doing anything!

    I am always in a rush in the morning.

    Exercise 2

    I always read before going to sleep

    I always think about the good things in my life just before going to sleep

    I always sit with my colleagues at work and have a really good laugh.

    I attend painting workshops occasionally and go to exhibitions

    Do crafts occasionally

    Eat slowly

    Take a walk

  2. Exercise 1
    I find that I either am going non-stop for consecutive days or else I am spending consecutive days doing nothing constructive. I seem to burn out then need time to recuperate but get too comfortable and waste more time then needed.
    On my days where I am extremely busy I hardly take time to think or reflect on what I am doing. By the end of the day I am stressed out and anxious and usually fall into bed. The lazy days are filled with television surfing and a lot of staring into space and feeling tired. I need to find a balance so that my motivation can be more evenly distributed throughout the week/month.
    Habits I wish to incorporate into my lifestyle are exercising more, as finding twenty or forty minutes a day to work on my fitness which will give me a confidence boost and be good for my health. Along with exercising I wish to drink more water and take better care of what I am eating. With my habit of burning myself out I don’t get a chance to maintain a good routine at the moment. I would also like to take more time to read as it is a pastime I immensely enjoy, but again I either spend two full days reading and finishing a novel or I don’t read at all.
    More acute habits include worrying constantly, overthinking the tiniest situation, snacking without being hungry, wasting time on social media and generally putting myself down. These are all habits I wish to do less of.
    Overall I think taking the time to sit down and make a detailed and realistic routine schedule (weekly/nightly) would be the greatest habit to aid all the new habits I wish to incorporate into my life. It would set me goals, remind me of them and make me feel accomplished when I complete the tasks, thereby hopefully keeping momentum going within myself.

    Exercise Two:
    Exercise more, drink more water, eat healthier, stop worrying about things that cannot be changed, get out more, let go, spend more time with family, spend more time with friends, read more, smile every day for all the blessings, laugh more, go dancing, stop second-guessing yourself, learn to enjoy the moment, be happy standing on your own two feet and be more affectionate and open.

  3. Looking at my habits sheet over the past week , I can see that I send quite a lot of time sitting and watching television. This is something I would like to change. I would like to use some of this TV time to journal or maybe read a book. I could also use some of it to clean my house so that I am on top of that . I could also use it to learn a new skill like crocheting which I would like to learn. I think I am fairly balanced in relation to exercise in that I incorporate exercise into my weekly schedule. The reason this works is that I can do some exercise during lunchtime at work so that I don’t need to go out again in the evenings to do it. I also cycle most places and I may do a walk in the evenings when Im walking the dog. I suppose it is easier to do things when there is a purpose behind them, like for me I cycle to get to work . I walk to walk the dog or to go to the nearest shop.
    What I would like to do more of is be more organize , I tend to waste time by not being orgazined for work, so time is wasted in the morning choosing what to wear that day , whereas I could have chosen it the night before. I also tend to waste time making breakfast and lunch in the morning. This can lead to me rushing and being later for work that I would like which can cause me some stress. I think I need to be more organized at night-time and have this prepared before I go to bed so that it takes the stress and rush off me in the morning .
    I want to start my day with 5 minutes of tai chi but again I haven’t incorporated it completely into my daily routine . I do it sometimes but I would like to get up 10 minutes earlier and do it every morning . This is really only a matter of setting my clock and getting up when it rings rather than lying there for those 10 minutes. I feel this would set me up for the day in a calmer, more balanced way.

    Exercise 2 – Habits that you enjoy and that enrich you in some way.
    Juicing preparation,
    Non procrastination
    Learn to dance
    Learn a party piece
    Do more challenging things
    Make new friends
    Attend interesting talks
    Go to theatre shows even if it is on my own
    Make my own creams
    Learn how to make more remedies
    Become more holistic, in what I use in my home and on myself
    Travel more
    Take a chance
    Say YES more

  4. Developing healthy habits –

    Exercise 1 –

    Ultimately I want to spend less time with people that don’t contribute to my wellbeing, in non-productive situations and to limit my time with wasteful resources such as social media. I feel that I don’t visit former colleagues enough or stay in touch with friends I had from past jobs, school and from other areas of my life such as people in my community and I would like to make time to spend with these people, as individuals they all have their own qualities and with regular contact and by spending time together in various capacities, this would give valuable insight to one another. I want to enhance two languages I know by being able to speak fluently and confidently in each. I want to write and develop a screenplay, or form of entertainment that consists of black adult humour comedy. I also want to travel more to historical locations and to learn more about various cultures that excite and interest me.

    Exercise 2 –

    Spend more time gardening and reading.

    Go to museums, cinema and theatre more often.

    Play a musical instrument.

    Write more frequently.

    Do more adventures sports and hobbies.

    Go hiking and spend time outdoors more often.

    Meditate for 10/15 minutes per day.

    Take a 5/10 minute nap after stressful or strenuous tasks to clear mind.

    Spend time alone to reflect on situations and tasks.

  5. Session 5: Choosing, Not Choosing, Commitment and Habits.
    Exercise 1
    In terms of my every day habits i started recently to do some yoga in the morning and that feels really good and i would like to stick to it and do it on the daily basis.
    I am a chocoholic;) and i have a habit of eating a chocolate bar with coffee each morning. In the end I am not sure any more if it is the chocolate that i crave or just the habit almost automatic thing i do. I have decided to stop this habit and I try not to buy chocolate so I cannot have it in the morning .
    I am exercising but i feel like i would like to exercise more. So it will become my habit to swim or go for a dance class each week.

  6. ass 5.1
    Developing Healthy Habits Exercise 1
    Track your own habits for a week or a month. Use a daily habits sheet and a periodic habits sheet. The periodic sheet will include things that you do regularly, but perhaps only a few times a year.

    Please reflect on and write about your findings. What do you want to do less of? What don’t you do enough of? What do you want to do more of? In short, what changes do you want to make? (250 – 500 words)
    smoking is the first habit i have tracked, i smoke 20 to 30 a day, i smoke more when im trying to quit , i awake at 6am and before exercise i smoke 2-3 with coffee until my mind has awoken , i then always do one hour of exercise,and smoke after, then coffee break i smoke, before work i smoke , every time i stop i smoke ,i tried missing the first smoke, in order to cut down, i said to myself smoke one less a day in 30 days i would be a non smoker, it did not work in a down period id smoke more again, i keep telling myself tomorrow will be different, but tomorrow just turns into another tomorrow ,my resistance is alarming as i’m the only smoker in the house ,im a bad example to my children im 53 and suffer shortness of breath, i need to get more leverage as will power is not enough, fear not enough , i feel i need to strengthen my will power with practice ,and see it has a mental exercise, has i detest weakness,
    this course i set aside 3 hours each afternoon to complete the course,i would study and restudy,each day in fully understanding the course, doing at least one segment , my habits start i will listen to a podcast, make a coffee,a smoke look at Facebook, answer emails ,study the stock market, then find myself, behind my schedule , i want to be more focused and complete my intentions rather than allowing my mind to wonder, i notice i waste hours of my day this way , hours that could be much more productive as with my children, i spend hours long hours working thinking, but in truth really unproductively

  7. 5.2 breathe deeply, list my achievements, visualise my day,gratitude list ,be mindful, count to ten, tell myself i can, stop negative thought,help someone else be of service, remind myself the reason im doing this ,look at the end result, take stock at night reflect on my day would can i improve on,
    help out someone less fortunate, give away things i dont use any more,let go of a bad habit, or someone who is negative influence, try a new hobby, get away for a week, let the kids decide on what to do,go to a concert, do nothing for the day, just be with my partner, learn something new read a different type of book ,

  8. I have been making an effort recently to fill my time with positive things and have taken up yoga classes twice a week and am trying new/learning new things, going out for walks and writing down 3 things I am grateful for in a gratitude app everyday (which I haven’t done consistently every single day!). I don’t watch a lot of t.v. or news and I noticed that I don’t talk to friends and family enough. I would like to take up doing yoga everyday and meditation and also more reading. I also purchased some weights but never use them, so I would like to start getting into a routine of using them also. I would also like to be more experimental with cooking and try a new healthy recipe every week. I would also like to make sure I get a good belly laugh everyday also! Every month I would like to walk with my walking group somewhere new. I’m pretty good at being productive with my time and also knowing when I need to relax and do nothing and not feel bad about it. I also think I could spend more of my time helping others so I will look into volunteering.

  9. Exercise 1
    Reflecting on my habits over the last week – I recognise how much I enjoy my present lifestyle . As I’m presently recovering from having a brain tumour removed & won’t be returning to my part time social work role until mid oct – I’ve been using this time on my recovery – taking time to heal emotionally from the major shock first & foremost of having the diagnosis as I would be healthy , fit & very active hence why my physical recovery has been so good !! So I see life in a different light now, as I appreciate more fully the simple things on offer- the waves, sun, wind , nature, my husband, children, dogs, parents, extended family who’ve been so supportive & friends who have been by my side.. Ive continued with my yoga teaching returning 5 weeks post op this has been so important to me, being in regular contact with other like minded people, having a structure to my day, having an enthusiasm to get up and at it, attending the gym daily or walking the dogs giving me some valuable ” Me Time”.. However I’ve noticed I definitely spend too much time checking into to Facebook. Looking at all the biz some I enjoy some is unnecessary and not of interest- so I feel I need to address this and back off alittle as its become a habit to reach for my phone and check it out.. Although I need it for my yoga business and contact through what’s app for my kids who are in Dubai it definatelynhasits benefits as well..Its about getting the correct balance back as I’ve noticed I rarely set the phone down …

    Exercise 2
    Drink more water
    Consume less caffeine 2 cups max per day
    Look at alkaline based diet
    Continue gym work outs cardio & weights programmes
    Learn to feel confident using click in shoes when cycling outdoors
    Attend a yoga practice rather than always teaching
    Continue with own yoga home practice & meditation , pranayama ( breath work)
    Socialise with friends
    Continue living the moment
    FaceTime kids in Dubai
    Laugh lots
    Offer gratitude for each day
    Positive attitude ” mantra – I am strong , I can do this”. Whatever it maybe

  10. SESSION 5

    Track your own habits for a week/month. Use a daily habits sheet and a periodic habit sheet. Reflect on and write about your findings. What do you want to do less of? What don’t you do enough of? What do you want to do more of? In short, what changes do you want to make?

    Exercise 1:

    Reflecting over the past week, I can see that I’m continuously on the go with no me time built in some days while other days I spend way too much time chatting on the phone or researching info on the internet and procrastination sets in. When I’m not working, I seem to spend a lot of time sitting alone, either lost in my thoughts or watching tv. I need to find a balance, discipline myself and organise my time better. I need to make out a to do list each week, break it down into daily tasks, decide the amount of time I require for each and build a time schedule around this. I have noticed that when I’m focused and there is a deadline, I seem to get things done much faster and on time.

    Habits I would like to incorporate into my life include, taking time to walk a short distance each day. This will allow me to not only get some fresh air into my lungs but will also allow me to clear my head and come back to my desk with revitalised energy. I’ve been told recently that I’m dehydrated and need to drink much more water. I would also like to get into the habit of doing this and also removing processed foods entirely from my diet. I have gotten into the habit recently of not socialising or going out to the pub, so fun and recreation has diminished in my life. I’m interested in musicals and joining a musical society which meets one evening per week is now on the agenda. I noticed also I have a habit of feeding a mood, let that be when I’m either bored or feel excited. Having realised I’m an emotional eater, I need to break this habit also.

    Exercise 2:

    Start collecting healthy habits. Begin a collection of habits that you enjoy and that enrich your life in some way. Record your habits and create a menu that you can choose from. You will not be saying yes to all or any of these habits at this time. Just concentrate on articulating them, planning them out. When you are in a position to commit to the habit, the figuring out work will be done.

    My healthy habits include:

    • Meditation
    • Taking 5 minutes out just to be present in the moment
    • Listening to relaxing music for a few minutes
    • Making a gratitude list
    • Turning my phone off at lunchtime
    • Going to visit a friend and doing something ‘girlie’
    • Walking the beach
    • Reading a romantic novel to just switch off
    • Watching Wayne Dyer videos on You Tube
    • Taking dance classes
    • Sketching
    • Writing and using positive affirmations
    • Making a ‘To Do List’ and sticking to it

  11. Session 5 – Choosing, not choosing, commitment and habits

    Exercise 1
    I’ve reflected on my habits over the last week and I have noticed several things; some of which I was aware of and some I wasn’t. On a daily basis I would like to reduce the time I waste reading online news and dealing with emails; all of which invariably leads to wasted time clicking on links and reading articles. On a weekly basis I’d like to shop for groceries less frequently, perhaps do a larger shop once a week and reduce the amount of time wasted racing to the shops when bread and milk run low (which also leads to me becoming distracted and buying things I didn’t go for anyway).
    I’d like to increase the frequency I drink water and be more mindful of eating healthily. I’d like to incorporate a quick, daily meditation, go to bed 15 minutes earlier, remember to take out my contact lenses earlier in the evenings, make more calls to family and friends, see my friends more frequently and incorporate a 5 minute “personal choosing time” within my day. I work in a primary school and when the young children have completed their work they get “choosing time”. I seem to flit from one task to another and forget that I’m important too.

    Exercise 2
    Quick habits: do a quick meditation on my walk to work each morning rather than think about all the chores that will await me when I return home from work, complement someone every day (I started this a while ago and then “forgot” to continue), show gratitude loud and clear every day (it annoys me when kindness isn’t acknowledged), initiate a random act of kindness every day (I tried this yesterday when a lady at work was looking very stressed; all I said was that in 5 minutes time she would feel better than she did right then – who knows whether it was true but it put a smile on her face) and have a quick glass of water whilst working out what to do next (I spend a lot of time thinking so this could actually be a large glass of water!).
    Periodic Regular habits: get up 15 minutes sooner and go to bed 15 minutes earlier, incorporate a 5 minute “personal choosing time” within my day, give myself a manicure or pedicure now and then, spend 5 minutes with my adult colouring book, set aside Friday evenings for time on the sofa watching a movie with the family, shared cooking one night a week (I usually take charge of this but would love to share the experience as it’s much more fun), impulsively pop around to my neighbour now and then for a coffee or to share a bottle of wine (she’s on her own and would love the company), set aside time for my family tree project which I started some time ago and read more.

  12. Exercise 1
    Ultimately I want to worry less and be less scared of consequences to things I think might happen. I want to put myself first instead of being overly concerned about letting other people down. I want to spend more time with my family and friends and be less lazy using excuses. I want to spend less time on my ipad and more time conversing with people rather than looking to see what they are doing.
    I want to be healthier and go for walks without finding an excuse. I want to feel confident in my abilities and be assertive when networking with professionals. I want to watch less tv and do more things around the house. I would like to be more creative and use all the resources I have bought with the intention of making something and just do it. I want to be more honest about what I want and need instead of being scared to say anything.

    Exercise 2
    I enjoy listening to vinyl music
    I enjoy watching feel good films.
    I enjoy seeing other people happy
    Learn to say no without guilt.
    Take time to relax and listen to my breathing.
    Realise that I have a fantastic family and tell them that I love them.
    Make more of an effort to try new things.
    Read a book rather than play on ipad.

  13. Session 5
    Exercise 1
    Choosing,not choosing,commitments & habits

    It’s been a rocky month with lots of ‘inner views’. Do I really make conscious choices,all the time or is it the old habits,patterns and programing making me unconsciously and convieniently make choices every day?How my choices affect my daily living and life in general?
    Well,I’m on the go a lot and when I’m not I collapse and know it’s time to stop and recharge my batteries.I’d love to choose to learn how to pace myself throughout the day so I don’t feel overwhelmed or drained at the end of a long day.I spend 3-4 days a week on my own with my children(because of the nature of my husband’s work).My days all look the same.I find mornings before school stressful.I now choose to try and get up 30min before my kids do and hope to minimise the stress.
    I meditate and do Reiki/Crystal work every night.I’d like more of that in the mornings before the boys are up.
    I find this course really challenging and it’s taking me ages to process everything.I’m well behind and I’d like to be more regular and catch up on the course.I want to be more organised and manage my time better.

    Exercise 2

    What I’d like more of…

    I’d like to act more and react less.I’d like more quiet time,more walks in nature.I’d like to dance and sing more.It used to always make me happy and balanced.
    I’d like to exercise more,spend more quality time with my family (with quantity I feel quite overwhelmed).I’d like to take my husband out on a date more often.
    I want to start up my own practice and do what I love.I want more love,joy,peace and gratitude in my life and want to reflect that on everyone around me.
    I definitely want to be more organised and pro active in using my knowledge,experience and all the available sources to improve my finances.

  14. Session 5
    1. My habits includes difficulty in getting out of bed in the morning especially during the winter; I need to find a way to overcome this as I get frustrated with myself when I’m late for appointments.
    I spent too much time on household chores and struggle to leave the house looking untidy, a little OCD I think but not sure if I want to change this. What needs to change is to recognise when my body says it’s tired and take a break instead of pushing through the tiredness, that way I’m listening to my body and responding.
    I’m very routine in that my life consist of going to work, visiting my family, talking to friends on the phone, food shopping, occasional other types of shopping, going to the gym doing Pilates and yoga. Occasionally I swim sauna and steam. I’ve noticed I’m developing a habit of using alternative medicine such as acupuncture which I’m quite enjoying and would like to develop this more. I procrastinate a lot, in that I make promises to do something about training contracts for example but don’t following through. I watch a lot of TV repeats while on my laptop; I don’t think this is a bad habit as I am getting things done. More recently I’ve spent a lot more time visiting and looking after sick members of the family. Occasionally I visit friends and family who live in other parts of the country. Likewise I go to the theatre about 6 times a year. I’m in a choir so attend practice weekly and am involved in local choir concerts about 10 times a year. A very bad habit is to talk for far too long on the phone, these can be over an hour. I need to work on changing this.
    2. Habits I would like to develop includes: reading a book a month, expanding my social group, attend more spiritual workshops, Rest more and enjoy it, go walking in the country, use time management to organise each day more constructively, find some time in each week to do some arts and craft, do 1 hrs. meditation per week, buying eating and juicing organically. Be kinder to strangers, I’ll start by knocking on a neighbours door to check they are OK.

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