Episode 170: From motivation to automation: how to create change through consistent habits – with Julie DeLucca-Collins of Go Confidently Coaching

New Year’s resolutions are easy to make but how do you keep going when the motivation disappears?  With the power of habits.

Julie DeLucca-Collins is passionate about the fact that change is possible, and it’s possible when you feel good through positive reinforcement of habits. 

She explains the different automations your brain makes, how to build habits that stick over time, and what to do if you stop practising a good habit.

Today’s guest

Julie DeLucca-Collins of Go Confidently Coaching

Website: Go Confidently Coaching

Instagram: Julie DeLucca-Collins

Facebook: Julie DeLucca-Collins

LinkedIn: Go Confidently Julie

YouTube: Casa DeConfidence

TikTok: Julie DC Business Coach

Julie is a highly sought-after speaker, business coach and author of the top-selling book Confident You.  Featured on prominent media outlets such as FOX and ABC, she is dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs to build and grow successful businesses.A certified Tiny Habits and Thrive Global coach, Julie provides holistic guidance to her clients.  Her influence extends to the airwaves, where she hosts a radio show, Confident You, on a top-rated Global Radio network.  Always looking to give back, she serves as a member of the Governor’s Counsel for Women and Girls in CT. Additionally, she has been honoured with a nomination for the prestigious LeadHers Award by the United Way’s Women United group.  When she’s not working with her clients, she’ll be recording episodes for her top-rated podcast, Casa De Confidence®, which she co-hosts alongside her #hothandsomehusband. 

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • [2:11] How Julie learned what makes people successful. 
  • [6:26] The benefits of working in corporate America. 
  • [8:20] How Julie found out about the power of habits and habit creation. 
  • [10:23] Why you can’t rely on motivation to change. 
  • [12:25] How to create a habit. 
  • [13:35] The link between habits and emotions. 
  • [15:05] The best way to build tiny habits. 
  • [17:50] How to celebrate yourself without being cringy. 
  • [21:04] Why you should always acknowledge your achievements. 
  • [22:40] What happens in your brain when you make a new habit. 
  • [24:17] Common misunderstandings about neuroplasticity. 
  • [25:35] Techniques to make it easier to rewire your brain. 
  • [28:29] The human brain’s ability to change. 
  • [29:50] How long it takes to form a new habit. 
  • [31:43] How to know what habits will serve you best. 
  • [35:07] The best way to manage your inbox. 
  • [36:30] What to do if you stop practising a good habit. 
  • [42:42] Why easy wins are so important. 
  • [44:50] The strength of old habits and how to break them. 
  • [49:10] Using apps to help you build habits. 
  • [50:22] What causes addictive behaviours and how to overcome them.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

Episode 170: From motivation to automation: how to create change through consistent habits - with Julie DeLucca-Collins of Go Confidently Coaching

Jeremy Cline 0:00
It's the start of the new year, and chances are you're now motivated to make some changes to your life. This is the year you're going to exercise more. This is the year you're going to change your job. Trouble is, however motivated you feel now, that motivation is just not going to carry you through. So, if you can't rely on your motivation, what can you rely on? Well, that's what we're going to talk about in this week's episode. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Jeremy Cline 0:41
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. If you want to know how you can enjoy a more satisfying and fulfilling working life, you're in the right place. We've got some great interviews lined up for 2024, so make sure you subscribe to the show. You can do that by taking out your phone and hitting plus or subscribe or follow, whatever it is on the app you're using to listen right now. A new year often comes with new year's resolutions. You decide that this is the year you're going to start going to the gym, eat more healthily, change jobs, start your business, you get the idea. And then, what happens? You lose motivation. You find yourself doing the same as you were doing before. Nothing has changed. So, what if I told you that it's not motivation that's going to help you hit your goals, but habits. That's what we're talking about this week. And I'm delighted to be joined by Julie DeLucca-Collins. Julie is a certified Tiny Habits and Thrive Global Coach. She's a speaker, a podcaster, the author of top a selling book Confident You. And by the time this episode comes out, she'll be a TEDx speaker. Julie, welcome to the podcast.

Julie DeLucca-Collins 1:54
Thank you so much for having me, Jeremy. It's such a pleasure to be here.

Jeremy Cline 1:58
Why don't you start by giving us a brief introduction to who you are, just so the audience knows that they're listening to the right person?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 2:05
Thank you again. You kind of stated already where I am in my life. Today, I am a Tiny Habits coach. But before all of this started, I began my career first as a teacher, and then I switched from teaching to corporate America. And I began to grow through the ranks of a national educational company. That is probably one of the best educations I got after going to college. And it was really being in the corporate world and being able to, for the most part, learn and grow and have people mentor me in my career that really helped me to be able to navigate and learn about leadership, learn about work culture, learn about some of the things that make someone successful. By the time I left corporate America after almost 20 years in this career, I was Chief Innovation Officer, which is a different kind of title, but the title really went to describe what I did with the company. I was very good at business development and sales, but I've also learned, and I was very good at operating and setting up contracts and running the operations. So, I oversaw both of them for the organisation, and I'm proud to say that we had grown many new business lines for the company, went and started many different endeavours, had a non-for-profit that we started as well. So, I was overseeing a lot of that, and really what I loved is being in a position to be able to then create a wonderful culture of leadership and helping others, just like someone had helped me along the line as I was growing through the corporate ranks. I left corporate to launch my own business as a consultant and coach and speaker when I was laid off with a pandemic. And I had already been thinking that this is where I was going to go. I had been doing a lot of leadership, volunteering at local organisations here where I live in Connecticut, and I really loved working with women who were just emerging leaders, individuals who were starting their careers, and it was incredibly rewarding. So, that was my plan in 2020, when I was offered a separation package because my company was hit incredibly hard through the pandemic. The thing that happened that I didn't anticipate is that, although I was working with these individuals and leaders and career women, I started to get a lot of questions from other individuals that said, 'Hey, I'm starting a business, do I need an LLC? Or I'm starting a business, how do I find clients? Or do I need an email? What is that like?' And a lot of that stuff is things that come very naturally for me. I'm very strategic when it comes to planning and thinking, and I can see a big picture, but also understand some of the details that are required. So, I started to work with one woman here and there, helping them grow their business. And the next thing you know, this became the bigger offer and the bigger service that we offer, or that I offer. And the other thing that is my love, and I would say my favourite thing, is podcasting. My husband, at the beginning of the pandemic, I was having a big birthday, and he ordered me podcasting equipment because he knew that this lockdown was going to be more than two weeks. And I've always thought of starting a podcast. That podcast is now a top-rated podcast. And you and I, of course, have Pat Flynn in common, and that's how we met. And everything that I know about podcasting came from his courses, from his, again, leadership and mentorship. So, that is who I am. And again, thank you again for having me.

Jeremy Cline 6:08
It's really interesting to hear someone talk in such glowing terms about corporate America, because it tends to have a bit of a stigma, or it tends to be something that a lot of people want to escape from. But you put it in terms of opportunity, development, learning and growth.

Julie DeLucca-Collins 6:25
Yeah, I think that I will say, and I am no stranger to being that person, that at some point in my career I really had the Sunday night scaries, or the Monday morning blues. I am no stranger to that. The one thing that I have found is that in my life, and even now, I look for the opportunities and really the gift and every little or big thing that happens. And yes, I will tell you, there were some very difficult times for me in corporate America. Number one, I'm a woman; number two, I'm also a minority, I'm a Hispanic descent. And at times, corporate America is not necessarily a very welcoming environment, but I had to come to terms with the fact that the experience of being in the job, being an accompany, all came down to me. It came down to how I was going to choose to have this experience be for me. I can either be the victim or feel antagonised or feel like this is all happening, it's terrible, woe is me, or I can decide I'm responsible for how I show up, I'm responsible for having a positive outlook, even if we're going through difficult things. And we're humans, we're always going to have some difficulties between relationships, but we have the choice to show up and to decide who we want to be in any circumstance.

Jeremy Cline 8:06
And where did this particular interest in habits come in? So, you're Tiny Habits certified, people might be familiar with the book of the same name, where does the fascination in that come from?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 8:20
The biggest thing for me when it comes to habits, and this is the one thing that I tell all of my clients, is I am a product of the things that I need the most. We have such desire to always improve, and for me, this has been one of the biggest things that I've always looked for. I am a lifelong learner. And what I found is that, for success in my career, I needed to create the right infrastructure. I am my best client when it comes to habits, and that's why I decided to get Tiny Habits certified. But when I started in my career, I knew that I couldn't just be the person that flew by the seat of her pants, I knew that I couldn't be the person who didn't have some strategic way of doing things. My dad was in the military, Jeremy, and at first, I really was very, I would say, resistant to the discipline, to the monotony, I used to think, of doing things in the same way. But when I started to explore implementing habits, that all of a sudden created more success or momentum for myself, I thought, 'Wait a minute, this is kind of good.' And I started to implement those, and that's how implementing habits and my fascination with habit creation and habits for success, high-performing habits all came into play.

Jeremy Cline 10:01
Let's dive into this, because one of the things that I've become aware of is that motivation by itself just doesn't seem to be sufficient, certainly, to get you going through the long term. Can you just talk a bit to that, and why it is that motivation is just something that you can't rely on, and ultimately, it does let you down a bit?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 10:22
I'm so glad you brought this up. This is one of my favourite things to talk about. Motivation, I remember thinking to myself, if I could just feel motivated to do the thing, I will be great. However, the one thing that I didn't understand is that motivation is that unreliable thing, and you cannot really make up motivation. You end up building motivation, but once the big day, for instance, we're talking here, and this is released in January, many of us have many goals that we want to accomplish, so we're very gung-ho, the end of the year is a great opportunity to take stock of where you are in your life and decide, oh, I'm not here yet, let me get motivated to join the gym, let me get motivated to go after that course, to finish something I started, to travel more, whatever it is, your motivation, once you have really paid attention to what you want, is going to be high. The reason we can't rely on that motivation is because, as life begins to happen, as things go back to normal, and by the way, your automations return, because all of the things that we do every day already are, for the most part, an automation that your brain has created. Your brain likes to be efficient. It likes to do things a certain way, so that it doesn't have to spend energy in being aware. So, motivation is going to go by the wayside. And when things are very difficult, Dr Fogg, the author of Tiny Habits, talks about that the harder a task is, and the more motivation it requires, the harder it is for you to create a habit. I want to tell your listeners, because I think there's a misconception out there, and based on the research, again, Dr Fogg is a behaviour research scientist for many years, and one of the things that he has found in studying this is that many individuals, again, feel that that motivation is what's moving them ahead. But it's not the motivation that gets us to change, it is not repeating something for 21 days, 66 days, whatever the number may be out there, right? But what really creates a habit is the emotion, is the feel good. So, when we start to do something that doesn't require motivation, and it's fairly easy, then the likelihood of us being able to do it and do it consistently will be greater, therefore, your brain will start to automate that. So, motivation is unreliable, but necessary to create a behaviour. But you'll build that motivation once you feel good and once you see that you're creating this consistency.

Jeremy Cline 13:28
I'd like to dig into this link between habit and emotion, because that's a way of putting it that I've never come across before. I mean, if I think about routine habits, like having breakfast, that kind of thing, I basically have the same breakfast every morning, because it's easy, I don't have to think about it, I like it. Okay, yes, I've been doing this for years and years and years and years, and I don't feel particularly emotionally invested in my breakfast. So, yeah, I'm curious as to what's going on here with how emotions fit in?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 14:02
Yeah, so the motivation is, again, that thing that it's going to be fleeting, based on what your focus is. As far as a breakfast, you created a habit of having this meal. However, for you, you don't have to think about it, you said that, right? So, having the same breakfast actually makes you feel a little bit more confident that you're starting your day, it's not something that it's going to require energy, it's not something that is going to be something that is out of the ordinary, takes you out of your comfort zone. So, therefore, you're feeling good. Like, okay, it's just breakfast. So, therefore, there is a good feeling in there. There is something that, even though you may not be thinking about it, there's that piece that is the status quo. Your brain is not into, oh, wait, what am I going to eat? What should I eat? Should I have this? And your brain thrown into a little bit of discomfort. That ability to have the same meal, for instance, I do the same thing, one of my favourite tiny habits is drinking water, and I used the framework of tiny habits to get myself into drinking at least, I would say, 86 ounces of water. And people may say, 'Oh, that's a lot.' But you know how I established this habit is, I have three little dogs, every morning, they need to be taken out. Well, I need to let them out. Because if it's cold outside, I don't think I'm going to be outside with them for too long. But when I do that, that is my prompt that reminds me to do my habit. So, every time, and this is what the recipe is, every time I let my dogs out, then I fill my water bottle, because the water bottle is right next to the sink. So, the premise of tiny habits, the anatomy of a habit is, you have to have the ability to do the behaviour, you have to, B, do the behaviour, and C, celebrate it. So, after I fill my water bottle, because that's all I'm going for, it's my tiny habit, I am not going for, oh my gosh, I'm going to drink all my water right now, no, I'm going to just fill my water, so I can set myself up for success, once I do that, I celebrate. Or when the dogs come back in, and they're all excited, I'm like, 'Guys, look, I filled out my water bottle', and that makes me feel proud, look at me giving myself props. That begins to automate that behaviour. Because my brain is going to look for that, oh, I did that, I did the thing that is normal, is part of the routine, and you begin to feel comfortable. So, feeling comfortable, feeling proud, and for many of us, when we've established a habit, it typically comes after we've been able to see success and give ourselves credit, and we want to continue to feel proud. When we're going to the gym, for instance, we may not love it at the beginning, but if we've been able to stick to the routine, and we start to see the change, and we start to hear people, 'Look at you, you're buff', then that's something that's going to make us feel really great, and it's going to help us keep up with the routine.

Jeremy Cline 17:22
Cynical Brit in me is kind of thinking, 'What!? Celebrate!? You mean, like every time I have breakfast, I should be celebrating that!? I mean, come on.' I mean, is this something which is helpful in establishing a habit, or is this something which is worth aiming for, for a continuation, even if it carries on for years, and it's something that you do every day? And if so, how do you it so that it's not like cringy?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 17:48
Okay, you are so on point. Can I tell you, as a Tiny Habits coach, anytime that we celebrate, we talk about celebration with clients, that is the first thing that they have an issue with. And like, 'Oh, celebrate? I don't know. It seems silly. I don't think it's for me, I'm not going to do that.' However, celebration doesn't have to be crazy. Celebration doesn't have to be, and wait, the listeners can't see that, but for my clients, I have a little pom pom that I wave at them when they do something great, because I want to make them feel happy and good and give a little dopamine to the brain. Your celebration doesn't have to be cringy, it doesn't have to be big, like oh, wow, look at me. Yay! Celebration can be as simple as thinking of, 'Oh, go me, I had my breakfast. Oh, great, I'm starting my day off right. I'm nurturing myself.' Celebration can be just as simple as giving yourself a thumbs up. A lot of times, we really think of, and again, our brain goes into making up a story, but really celebration, I'll give you one of my favourite celebrations, every time I'm trying to or working on something that is challenging, but I'm just going to get started, I'm going to maybe open up that accounting program. I'm not the accountant in the business, but I do have to be aware of the financial part of the business. It doesn't come naturally. It's not great. My habit is not going to be to spend an hour going through my reports. But my tiny habit is that I'm going to open the accounting program. And that's tiny. That's the first step. Once I open it, if I decide to spend time in there, great; if I don't, great, because I was already successful and opening, which is that tiny thing that I was just going for. And then, the next thing that I do, I keep a picture of my niece on my phone. And I'm showing you, she's 10 now, she was four in this picture. And it's a great picture of her giving me a thumbs up and smiling and having this little mischievous look. So, every time I look at that, I can't help but to smile at her. So, the same thing, that is my little celebration, is making myself feel good for whatever effort I just did. When I go for a walk in the mornings, sometimes I don't really feel like going for a walk, but if I come back in, and I just take a deep breath after I come in, I'm like, 'Wow, great job, Julie. Good job getting that walk in.' That little hit of dopamine is that celebration. We also use the word shine, instead of celebration, it's the feeling of shine, that feeling that when you crumple up a paper, and you throw it in the wastebasket, and you make it, Right? Oh, I did it. That's exactly the type of celebration that we're going for, something that's going to be quick in the moment, and really mint and solidify that you did the right habit and will remind your brain like, 'Oh, I feel good after I did that.'

Jeremy Cline 21:04
I think for me, it's the end of my Monday evening Pilates class, where especially now it's getting darker in the evenings, it's always a bit of a frantic rush, because Mondays is when I've got to get my daughter ready for bed and that kind of thing. And you know, I'm on the clock, and I kind of think, 'Oh, God, this is just too much hard work.' And then, I go to the class, I think, 'Do I really want to be here?' But always, always, always, pretty much without fail, by the end of the class, I feel glad I did it, I feel energised, I feel like I've had a decent workout, I feel like I've added more protection to my body from strains and that kind of thing, and generally, slightly getting a little bit older. And so, yeah, I almost always come out of that class thinking, 'You know what, I'm glad I did it.'

Julie DeLucca-Collins 21:55
Yeah, for sure. When you remind yourself, and for many of us, if you went to your Pilates class, and you got there in the wintertime when it's cold and dreary, and you just went and didn't give yourself credit for going, pretty soon, your brain will begin to say, 'Well, it's cold, you don't have enough time to get there. You're going to be rushing, you're going to be late anyway, why go? Wait till next week.' Then, you're going to start to listen to that voice. So, it's very important to acknowledge yourself for what you did. Because then, it really does become that automation.

Jeremy Cline 22:37
I don't want to dive too deeply into the science, but I would like just to touch on it. Neuroplasticity is a word I've become aware of more recently. So, yeah, I mean, when you create a habit, what is going on in your brain?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 22:52
Yeah, when you're creating a habit, you're actually creating a new neural pathway in your brain. The simplest way and the way that I like to explain it, because sometimes we need to just have things explained to us in an easier manner, think of all the things that you already do that are automations as superhighways in your brain. When you are making your breakfast, sometimes when driving to work, and we don't even realise that we drove here, and we get there, and we're like, 'Oh, how did I get here?', that's because your brain has automated that. And it's already created this neural pathway. When you're creating a new habit, then the reason that it's difficult, the reason why we want to make it so tiny and create this automation as soon as possible, is because we're building a brand-new passageway. We're building a new way for our signals in our brain to travel. And the best way to do it is, the more that we have these signals travel through a new passageway, the more that this is going to become the new superhighway, as opposed to the old one. So, we want to go ahead and do that. The one thing that many people don't understand when it comes to neuroplasticity is that we have the ability, we're never going to erase programming that is in our brain already, and this is something that a lot of people think, 'Well, when I'm going to create a habit, whatever new habit, whatever habit was there before is going to go away.' That's not how that works. And this is why sometimes we revert to old habits that maybe are not serving us, things that we don't really appreciate. But we have the ability to be able to change in so many different directions. Now, what was the first thing that you heard about neuroplasticity? I am curious.

Jeremy Cline 25:03
I think it was just this idea, I think reflecting back on what you just said, that the brain isn't fixed, that it is malleable, that it can be influenced, that you can create these kinds of new pathways in the brain, not that I really understand what that means, but I'm thinking of the people who might say, 'Oh, that's just the way I am', I think neuroplasticity is the idea that, to an extent, but actually, there are things that you can change.

Julie DeLucca-Collins 25:32
Absolutely. And by the way, the other thing is that we have the power, and again, whether you're creating these new passageways, or rewiring is another way in which people talk about it, rewiring your brain is an easy thing to do, as long as you are giving yourself credit for that rewiring, which is that celebration or shine. There's a lot of things that people can do also to boost that neuroplasticity. There's different things that we take for granted that are really a great way for us to begin to build that better mindset, and also, be able to give our brain the ability to grow and rewire and create these new cognitive pathways in our brain. You want to make sure that you are getting enough vitamin D. Your brain is an organ, and you want to go ahead and make sure that you're eating right, you're feeding yourself foods that help you be more clear focused. Many times for me, I can tell you that, if I am eating a lot of processed foods, I tend to get a little bit of a brain fog. And I've noticed this, so if I have something big coming up, I'm going to make it a point to eat healthy, to eat things that are going to be beneficial for my health, more apples. I keep apples in my kitchen all the time, because sometimes you want to go in, and you want a snack, you want something crunchy, and I know that that's one of the big things. I also make sure that I get enough sleep. I mentioned to you earlier, my doggy got hurt. I was not sleeping very well last week. So, I took naps. And I know that that's not possible for everyone, but even if you begin to take some deep breaths at work, that helps your neuroplasticity, and it helps you to be able to then help your brain learn new things, learn new ways of doing things, and also, create those new rewiring or, again, engage in the structure and reorganising the structure and the functions of your brain.

Jeremy Cline 27:54
So, taking the analogy you used earlier of effectively building a new highway in your brain, if I can extend that, it sounds like when you talk about eating habits, sleep, exercise, all that kind of thing, what you're doing is almost like making the terrain easier to work with. So, it's easier to build that highway. So, you're kind of cutting down the dense jungle or the big mountains and just making it this nice kind of flat thing over which it is much easier to build this new highway.

Julie DeLucca-Collins 28:26
Yeah, and that is the superpower of our brain. And as humans, we take for granted our ability to be able to change. There's hope for all of us; we are not stuck in behaviours that don't work for us. We have the ability to continue to allow our brain to reorganise itself and make those new connections. For instance, if you look at the study of individuals that have had brain injury, that maybe parts of their brain have been damaged, there have been in many studies of instances of people recreating and being able to do things that maybe that other part of their brain was in charge of, but that's the damaged part, but you are able to then create that behaviour. So, there's a lot of things that can help you, but I highly encourage individuals to be present, feed yourself, get enough sleep, drink enough water, those learning things reinforce the new things that you are learning. Just don't learn something or read it, but go back and practice it. That's also going to help to strengthen those new connections.

Jeremy Cline 29:47
How long does it take to form a new habit?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 29:50
As long as it takes. You just have to make yourself feel good about it. I think that, for me, it varies. I want to encourage the listeners to not think of days, but think of a habit as a little seed. And this is the one thing that we talk about in the Tiny Habits Academy. Habits are like planting little seeds. Once you planted, as long as you're watering it, as long as you are nurturing it and giving it sun, it's going to grow. But you want to go ahead and give it enough room to grow and make sure that you need to do the things that it takes. And that is, do your little behaviour, celebrate it, and if you, for whatever reason, think, 'Oh, it's going to take too long to do that, oh, wait, I don't have time', or you're just like, 'I don't feel like it', then you are not creating a tiny habit, so you need to scale back your habit. Or maybe you are pairing your new behaviour to a prompt that is not a very good or well-established prompt. So, therefore, you need to look at whether or not that is a small enough habit or a good time to do that habit. And therefore, your brain is going to start to automate that. And then, you're going to be able to create that new habit in no time. Now, I will tell you, there's some things that I've been able to get started with right away, and some things that have taken some trial and error to figure out what the right structure for my habit is.

Jeremy Cline 31:34
What are some of the things that you can do to figure out what habit might be most helpful for you? So, I'm kind of thinking that, say you've got a specific goal, like running a marathon, then clearly, there are going to be certain habits, like running however many times a week and diet and that kind of thing, which will lead to that. But if it's something, I don't know, a little less specific. So, you talked earlier about starting your own business. Say someone is looking to quit their job and start their own business, and they kind of think that there probably are habits which will help them, but in terms of what they might be, they just don't know where to start. So, maybe give that person a bit of guidance, or it doesn't have to be that specific context, but the thoughts that someone can test for themselves to figure out what's going to be a habit which is going to serve them.

Julie DeLucca-Collins 32:32
One of the things that I highly encourage individuals is that they become a master of their time. I think, for many of us, we live by default. We also live by somebody else's demands on our time. Our time is one of the best commodities that we have, it's the most important thing. We can't get it back once we give it away or it's gone. So, for anyone who is in a place where they are thinking maybe starting a new business, or even in their career, I highly encourage you to create a little bit of productivity habits. Because whether you're in a job or working for yourself, there are going to be different things that are going to be required of you during your time, that may not be really fun activities, or they may not be those tasks that everybody, we'd look at the business owner, and they're maybe speaking in public. People look at me and say, 'Oh, Julie, look at you, you get to speak in public, or you're in podcasts or you help clients.' Yes, I do a lot of that. But I also do some of the stuff that is not great, that is not fun, that is not exciting, that I don't really love, like I talked about. Creating habits of time are the things that serve me. And obviously, there's different layers to this, Jeremy, because once you start to organise your time, what kind of activities are better off for business owners to do or not to do, and that's another conversation. But ultimately, I will give you one of my recipes. Number one is, I look at my calendar, and I create what I call an ideal calendar; many people have this concept as well. And I look at what my week is supposed to look like. As a business owner, it is very important to understand where you're spending your time. Because a lot of times, we're going to think we're really busy at working in our business. But we're not. We're just maybe researching how to do something, as opposed to doing it. And that's because your brain is telling you, 'Oh, it's going to be hard to do that. You don't know how to do it yet.' Yet, it really is about us just trying, starting small. So, the best habit you can create is, create pockets of time for yourself. The other thing is, whether you're in a career or whether you're a business owner, another great habit that is important to have is how you manage your inbox. I know that everybody loves email, I have this love-hate relationship with email. But the best thing that you can do is also know that, every time you're checking email, someone is probably putting their priorities on you. So, the thing that I recommend for individuals is open up your inbox and give yourself maybe 10, 15, 20 minutes, never at the beginning of the day, because then you're starting your day just with doing somebody else's priorities. My first thing when I start my day is, I look at my calendar, and I review what my goals are, what my tactics to achieve those goals are, and my priorities. The top three things I want to accomplish today. So, today is Tuesday. For me, the top three things that I want to accomplish today is, I want to go ahead and reach out to customers or reach out to potential customers who I have been working with. That's a priority for a Tuesday. Those habits and knowing how you're spending your time is going to be very crucial in you finding success.

Jeremy Cline 36:22
Let's talk a little bit about what happens when you, if you like, fall off the waggon in relation to habits. So, to give you a very real example for me, when the pandemic started, there was a fitness celebrity, a guy called Joe Wicks, who started his basically daily YouTube workouts, and loads of people joined in. And, surprisingly to me, I basically was doing his workouts every weekday, pretty much. I would get up, I would go downstairs, get my exercise mat out and do his workout, which was 20 minutes. And then, I think I got a cold or something like that. And I just thought, 'I need to be kind to myself, let myself recover. I don't have to do this. I think it's going to actually make me feel worse.' And of course, what happened then was that I stopped, and then I just didn't get back into it at all. So, yeah, I mean, how do you stop that happening? If something gets in your way, how do you stop it completely wrecking the habit?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 37:24
So, I think I already know why that happened, but I have a question for you. Let's say you spent a week, so first, you weren't feeling well, you weren't up to it, you needed the rest, you needed to recalibrate your body. So, after a few days went by, what was the thought? Was it, oh, you've missed X amount of days? What was the first thing that came to mind after you thought, 'I haven't been working out for a week'?

Jeremy Cline 37:56
Well, I think that I was actually enjoying not doing it. It was almost like there could have been pressure on myself. Again, it's one of those things like we were talking about earlier, you started thinking, 'You know what, I really don't want do this,' and you end up feeling, 'I'm glad I did that.' But it was just not getting up and then going downstairs and immediately doing it. I was kind of enjoying this, okay, I can get up and do something else, go for a walk, have a breakfast first, that kind of thing. And I found myself, I think, enjoying that more than what I was doing. So, that was probably the thought.

Julie DeLucca-Collins 38:32
Yeah. So, you reverted to that old highway, that comfortable route. I'm going to go down this path, I'm going to, oh, I don't know, maybe I'll just go for breakfast, or I'll just enjoy my day, I don't think I really need that. What was happening is, probably, number one, you were excited, you were participating, but as soon as the circumstances sent you back to your old routine, the comfort of the old routine overpowered the new routine. Number two, and I don't necessarily think this was what was happening in your case, but for many individuals, when we miss doing the thing, whether it be for a day, two days, three days, this happens to many entrepreneurs, they maybe don't do the work in their business, because they got side-tracked, or maybe they were sick, and they stopped working their business for a couple of days. And by the time you are going to jump back to the habit or do the work or whatever it might be, your brain starts to rationalise. Well, it's hard, or it's going to take too long, or you have other things to do. Again, your brain, that's that reticular activator in your brain, that lizard brain telling you, 'Be safe, that new thing, that requires us to think, it requires us to be out of our comfort zone.' Also, the other thing that begins to happen is your brain says, 'Oh, you were so good, you were working out so hard, but now you've missed, you've failed, you're terrible at it.' And then, we go down what I call that beat up spiral. You're beating yourself up for not doing the work, and you're spiralling down. And then, you're not feeling good. So, then, when we don't feel good about ourselves for not doing the thing, the more our motivation is not going to be there to do the thing. And then, the harder our brain is going to tell us that that task actually is. So, when we find ourselves, I didn't do the work, or I failed at what I was doing, or I haven't shown up, don't beat yourself up. Stop beating yourself up. And by the way, that is so normal for us to do. The one thing that I do when I'm in that, so for instance, I've been going for a morning walk in last week, because of the dog having the injury, I was not sleeping well, so I didn't go on a morning walk. My brain started telling me yesterday, 'But you didn't walk all week last week. You're terrible. Who cares? You have other things to do. You're going to fall behind. Maybe you'll get it later on, but don't go this morning.' So, then, I noticed, first, I said, 'Wow, my brain is telling me that I don't have time to go for a walk, even though I don't have anything that I really have pressing to do this morning.' Number two, I normalise it. Wow, my brain is so normal. It's always telling me that it's going to be hard. And rather than beating myself up, I said, 'Good job, Julie, noticing that your brain wants you to not go.' And then, I begin to take the next best step. And the best step was not for me to go for a one-mile walk or two-mile walk or half an hour walk. My next best step was to put my walking shoes on and to go outside and walk to my mailbox, and then come back. After I came back with the mail, I said, 'Okay, you know what, I have time to go around the block once.' And I did. And that is the one thing that many people don't realise, that we again make the task so big, that our brain says, 'Oh, no, it's too hard, too much.' And then, we make ourselves feel bad for not doing it, for having not done it, and it becomes harder for us to get into that new highway, and we always revert to the old one.

Jeremy Cline 42:40
So, it's almost like finding an easy win to help you rebuild the habit that you'd got into.

Julie DeLucca-Collins 42:47
The easy wins are the best wins. If you're eating healthy, and then all of a sudden, you have a pizza for dinner with a couple of pints, then the next morning, it's not going to beat yourself into submission into having a salad and having all these boring foods in essence. Because that's what your brain is telling you. Hey, that sugary, salty, less than healthy meal is better. But have a big win. So, for instance, my husband, he has a habit, it's not my favourite, but he has a habit that he tells his brain that he's got to get to work, he doesn't have time to eat at home, he'll pick up coffee, and maybe a breakfast sandwich on the way in. He passes by the coffee place every morning on his way to work. So, it's an automation that he automatically pulls in and gets it. I had made breakfast for him yesterday, as a matter of fact, and from the time he was upstairs, he got dressed and got himself downstairs, because I was not there to prompt him that he had this other breakfast with him, he walked right out the door without it. Right? That's an automation. And he texted me when he got to work, and he said, 'I forgot', and I said, 'Yeah.' Number one, there was nothing prompting you. But rather than making that big change, guess what he did? He took an apple with him today. Because it was right there in front of the door. I had moved the bowl to right next to the door, so he could see it. And now, he still might have gone to get his coffee and little breakfast sandwich, but he's getting an apple, and the fact that he's going to eat that apple makes him like, 'Oh, good for me, I ate an apple. I feel good.' And then, you start to begin with small, tiny changes that begin to spread themselves out and begin to grow.

Jeremy Cline 44:49
Okay. There's something here, isn't there, when you're describing this, the strength of previous automation. So, if you've been doing the same thing every day for 20 years, it's going to be a really strong automation. And so, the question then becomes, if that automation is actually a habit which you would like to change, so maybe it's putting sugar in your coffee or something like that, but it's just something that you've done for 20 years, you've got a bad habit, which you just find yourself constantly going into, and it just constantly feels like it's stuck in your back, and I know how easy it is to revert to these old habits, even if you feel that you've broken it for five years, reverting back to that is dead easy, so yeah, how do you stop that? Or how do you break these really, really ingrained habits?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 45:41
Such a good question. The sugar in your coffee is a perfect example. I decided to give up sugar in my coffee many years ago. And I knew that it wasn't good. Sugar doesn't make me feel great. I have an autoimmune, and that doesn't help it. And I stopped it. I stopped using sugar in my coffee. And one day, the coffee that I was drinking was particularly bitter. And I thought, you know what, I'm just going to put a little bit of sugar and just kind of take that taste away. Then, the next day, I made coffee. And again, I had sugar yesterday, it's okay, it didn't hurt anything, I'll just put a little bit. Fast forward, maybe about a year later, I was travelling for work, and I was at a Starbucks, and I was putting sugar in my coffee, and I noticed, I had opened all the packages of sugar, and I had one of these very tall coffees, and then, I looked at the packages, and I became aware, and I thought, 'Hmm, that's a lot of sugar!' And I realised that I went back to the normal, I went back to the automation of having sugar in my coffee. It's because I lost awareness. I also lost sight of the person that I wanted to be. We have to really connect with the aspiration, the identity of the person that does whatever habit it is. For me, in that case, was no sugar. I wanted to be the person that was healthy, that didn't have joint problems, that didn't have all the sugar. So, the next day, when I made my coffee, I brought some awareness to the moment. And I reminded myself, okay, I'm a person that drinks coffee without sugar, and enjoys it. And let me smell the scent of a coffee. Let me taste. And I started to make it more exciting to make a cup of coffee where I can really feel the flavour of the coffee, as opposed to the sweetness of the sugar. And now, I'm back to not drinking, and I would say it's six years that I haven't had sugar in my coffee. And there been times maybe I've put like a drop, but I remind myself, hey, good job in putting that sugar in there, but remember, you don't want to be the person that your joints hurt, that has mobility problems because of the sugar. Because remember, sugar is going to make you crave more sugar, Julie. So, I remind myself of these little things, and then, I go back to when I don't have sugar in my coffee the next time, I celebrate it, and I say, 'Good job, Julie, you did it. No sugar, and you're enjoying this great cup of coffee.' So, that's what I want to encourage the listeners. If you want to break a habit, whatever it might be, remind yourself of who you want to be and why that habit is something that is not serving you. And yes, you're going to revert here and there. But when you revert, just say, 'Oh, it happens, it's okay. I'm human, I'm not perfect.' And don't beat yourself up over it, and go back and start again. That's one of the things, automate it, make it a game, gamifying something is really fun. There are a couple different habit apps that I really love, and I use them, because I like to get the little hit of dopamine. Every time I do a habit, I actually hit the little check mark in the thing, and it gives me a couple of different stars that say, 'Good job, you did it.' And then, I like to look at the calendar and see all the little checkmarks for my day, and I think, 'Look at me, I'm on a streak.' And there might be a day I break the streak. And then, I say, 'Okay, another opportunity to begin, let me see if I can make this streak longer than the other one.' And then, that starts to create that automation and momentum.

Jeremy Cline 49:51
And I love what you were saying about identity and how you effectively get to the position where your identity governs your habits, rather than your habits governing your identity. And so, you start with who do you identify with, who do you want to be. This is starting to go a little bit off topic, but I'm just wondering, could you extend this even to habits which would become addictions?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 50:18
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that, for many of us, the identity, we don't, at times, take time to really figure out who we want to be, who we are, especially when it comes to addiction. I know that many times, especially, I will use myself an example, as well, there are certain things that provide me comfort, that made me really create safety in ways. I know that, when I used to travel a lot for work, and I used to have a very stressful time at work, I would come home, and I would always find comfort in a big meal. Okay, I'm just going to eat this meal, I don't care. And without a doubt, not eating healthy and having a big meal made me gain weight. And that was like my go to. And I think that addictions are some ways that you're hitting a part of your brain in which you are feeling good, it's shielding you from something uncomfortable, and you are continuing to do this behaviour, because it just becomes an automation, and you're looking for that feel-good feeling. But the one thing that happens is that it's going to require you to get more of the thing to feel good. It's going to require you to do it more in order to feel the safety, to not feel overwhelmed, to not feel sad, to whatever it might be. So, what you really have to do is, again, pay attention and remind yourself, hey, is this who I want to be, is this the person, is this behaviour serving me? And it doesn't happen overnight. But really paying attention when it's happening and become curious about, oh, when am I doing that behaviour, when am I doing this, wow, how do I feel afterwards, all of these things are things that are very important to explore. Again, we can change, but it requires us to have the awareness of why, where and how we are going to do it, and really not judge yourself, and remind yourself that some of these behaviours that we create, whether they're addictions or habits that are not serving us, they really come from our need to be saved, they really come from that deep seated evolutionary pattern of humans, that our brain is trying to look for the next tiger that is out there to get us.

Jeremy Cline 50:46
Julie, this is one of those topics which we can really only scratch the surface in the time we've got. What's the one thing that you would like people to take away from this conversation? If people only remember one thing, or can only implement one thing, what's that for you?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 53:20
The one thing that I want listeners to have is, change is possible. And change is possible when you feel good. So, think of the person that you want to be. And as you begin to make that small change every day, maybe 1% different, better than before, then give yourself credit for it. And then, you will see that consistent action gets you traction.

Jeremy Cline 53:52
And if someone wants to explore the topic more, we've talked about Tiny Habits, the book, are there any other particularly good tools or resources, you mentioned a couple of apps, which people can dive into?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 54:05
So, there's a couple different ways, and the Tiny Habits Academy, we actually, I don't do it every week, but we host a five-day free habits coaching. Many of us Tiny Habit coaches volunteer our time, and you can get free coaching from a Tiny Habits coach, it's free, nobody tries to sell you anything at the end of it, it takes three minutes out of your day. And in a week, we can help you begin to implement new habits for your life. Some of the feedback that we received with hundreds of thousands of people that have participated is that, at the end of the week, 90% of people were successful at creating new habits. And that's a great resource that individuals can leverage. Again, my habit app that I use is HabitBull, like a bull in Spain. I love it. I know that there are many others out there. But again, I had to trial and error many of them to see which one I like, and I encourage the listeners to do that as well.

Jeremy Cline 55:18
And where would you like people to go if they want to find you and find out more about you?

Julie DeLucca-Collins 55:23
Yeah, so my website is goconfidentlycoaching.com. And if you want to download my resources, you can do goconfidentlycoaching.com/quicklinks, and that's where they can get some of my best resources.

Jeremy Cline 55:42
Excellent. And I will definitely put links to those in the show notes, and I'll definitely put a link to your TEDx talk. Julie, this has been an absolutely fantastic conversation, so much, so much practical advice and wisdom, which I just absolutely love. So, thank you so much for coming on the show and giving us the benefit of your knowledge.

Julie DeLucca-Collins 56:02
Jeremy, thank you so much for doing this podcast. Thank you so much for having me. You are an incredible host. And I appreciate you appreciate the work that you're doing on behalf of the listeners, because these are great resources, you have some incredible shows that I am going through, and you're in my normal rotation now, as I've been prepping to being here with you, I've been enjoying your content. So, you're a great host. Thank you.

Jeremy Cline 56:32
Well, thank you so much for that, Julie, I really appreciate it. Okay, hope you enjoyed that interview with Julie DeLucca-Collins. For me, this episode really reinforced the power of habits, and also reinforced the power of identity in establishing a habit. To give a small example, I am someone who will walk 10,000 steps every day. Doing that has become part of my identity. And so, now my habits build around that. I have my routine, which makes sure that I achieve that pretty much every day. So, when you're thinking about what new habits you might want to establish, first start with the question of who do you want to be. Are you someone who, say, works out three times a week? If you are, what would the person who does work out three times a week do? What would their habits be? You're effectively reverse engineering the result you'd like and ingraining the habits as though you've already achieved that result. I also loved what Julie was saying about awareness. So, if you do, for whatever reason, find yourself breaking a habit, then being aware of it, not necessarily beating yourself up about it, but just being aware, okay, well, I broke the habit on this occasion, so what can I do next time to try and avoid that? You'll find the show notes for this episode, a full transcript, links to resources and a summary of everything we talked about at changeworklife.com/170, that's changeworklife.com/170. There's no doubt that habits can be transformative, but it really helps if you know what direction you're looking to go in. It's going to be really hard to instil the habits of a particular identity if you don't know what identity it is that you want. Well, that's something that coaching can help you with. And in addition to that motivation you might be feeling now to make some changes, having a coach can really help propel you forward. If you're considering a change of identity, be it a change of career, then identifying what that new career might be is certainly something that I can help you with. And I can also provide you with the accountability to start instilling the habits that will help you to get there. If that sounds like something that you think you might benefit from, then go to changeworklife.com/coaching, that's changeworklife.com/coaching, and book a conversation with me to find out more. We've got some terrific episodes coming up for 2024. So, if you haven't subscribed to the show, make sure you do that now, you're really not going to want to miss these interviews. And as always, I can't wait to see you in the next episode. Cheers, and Happy New Year.

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