• Hilary McLellan

Ready to change a habit? Try Piggybacking!



Like with so many habits, we know we will often benefit hugely by changing them. Eating less sugar. Drinking less alcohol. Exercising more. Making regular contact with family and friends.


But the 21st century response is usually ‘Oh I know I’ve been meaning to do that but I’ve just been so busy. Where does the time go?’; often followed by ‘Oh I feel bad now. I’ve let you/them/myself down’.


When we introduce the idea of using Your Virtual Mind Trainer between coaching sessions to our clients there is the usual ‘New Year’s resolution-like enthusiasm’ of ‘Oh yes, that sounds good! Shall I do it every morning?” which in the next coaching sessions five weeks later can often bring us back to the initial response and off we go again.


Commitment to Action. Busy-ness. No Action. Negative self-talk.

Commitment to Action. Busy-ness. No Action. Negative self-talk.


Just like New Year’s resolutions, the majority of those commitments to ourselves dissolve or never get off the blocks!


New approach


So, we have found the need to focus on Motivation and Habit Changing techniques.


The way I have done this is:


- to start a new habit, think of an old habit that you love and won’t be changing anytime soon!


- commit to piggy-backing your new habit onto your old pre-existing habit!


So, for me, my daily (won’t be giving it up) habit is my morning cups of coffee. One when I wake up and one at around 11am.


I’ve committed to ‘piggy back’ the practise of my new habit ie. listening to a Your Virtual Mind Trainer audio on my old one ie. making and drinking my coffee … because I will always drink my coffee every day.


Give it a try - we’d be glad to hear your stories.


Coaching ambassadors


In the meantime, we have been evolving a group of coaching ambassadors who want to use Your Virtual Mind Trainer as a tool for their coaching. Of course, it made sense to speak to them about the challenges we’ve faced with clients in the context of habit changing.


The Coaching Ambassadors group meet virtually for 45mins every fortnight. We focus on developing our own learning and knowledge about Your Virtual Mind Trainer, swap tips on what’s worked and set ourselves homework so we can be confident and knowledgeable when advising our clients. So far, we have benefited by reminding ourselves and our clients that:


- In the nice weather, remember you can listen to audios only while you look out of the window or go for a walk.


- You can run an audio off your phone or laptop to start or close a team meeting. Or even before a team activity of problem solving i.e. ‘Would six minutes listening to an audio about Grit or Determination, Patience or Kindness help position your team for their best performance space?’


Our homework


At every fortnightly meeting our coaching ambassadors group commit to experiencing one particular six-minute audio with or without a 360 video of nature. The most recent audio we chose was from the Train the Mind library and the title was Determination.


This is one of the reviews: “I was struck by the strong emotional response from the questions posed during the six-minute YVMT. I wasn't expecting such a visceral response, but the calmness and constancy of the visual element enabled me to sit with this feeling, allowing it to resonate and help me think things through. Following this experience, I have revisited the same visual/audio combination, which has allowed me to reflect even more on these feelings and identify a positive response to move forward.”


Finally, this week’s coaching ambassador’s meeting was followed by my coaching a client who had been quite reticent about ‘finding the time’ to practice his mind training between our face-to-face sessions.


Five weeks earlier he had agreed (reticently) to commit to three-times six-minute sessions a week. I decided not to enquire immediately and waited for him to bring it up. And that is exactly what he did!


He had indeed committed to the practice and said at around three to four weeks had suddenly noticed the impact of the audio and video content on how he was behaving and responding to ‘life’ both at work and at home. He commented on how he was actually now anxious about losing the practice rather than starting it!





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