Changing Habits: 101 | Zachary Phillips | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Why Habits Form

    • 3. Consider This

    • 4. Make Slow Incremental Changes

    • 5. Behaviour Triggered Changes

    • 6. Tip The Lead Domino

    • 7. Leverage The Power of Social Proof

    • 8. Class Project

    • 9. Track Your Performance

    • 10. Cold Turkey Works

    • 11. Quick Recap

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About This Class

Learn How To Change Habits – Cut the bad ones and add some good ones!

By taking this course you will learn the strategies that have enabled my clients and I to be able to:
- Quit sugar and alcohol completely
- Consistently wake up earlier
- Exercise twice per day
- Instil a daily meditation practice
- Find time for self-care and hobbies

Once learnt, this set of skills can be applied in every aspect of your life.

Warning: There are no quick fixes, short cuts or miracle cures. Real, sustainable change takes time and effort. It needs to be implemented correctly and tweaked to fit your life circumstances and personality. But it is possible. You just need to put in the work.

Your journey starts here, and now.

Welcome to the course!

Contact Me:
Website: | Social @zacpphillips

Further Resources:
How To Get Your Sh!t Together (multiple chapters w/free access)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Zachary Phillips

Meditation, Writing, Self-Improvement


Zachary Phillips is a mental health advocate, author and mindset coach. In these roles he has helped thousands of people move from a place of barely surviving to passionately thriving.

He is the author of eight books including: How To Get Your Sh!t Together and Mindfulness: A Guidebook To The Present Moment, and the creator of the Depresso Espresso web comic.

He is also an instructor on Skillshare and Insight Timer, teaching mindfulness meditation, personal development, and creative writing.

He is a qualified school teacher, personal trainer, martial arts coach, and disability support worker. Working in these industries has given him a depth of experience teaching across multiple topics, to learners of all ages and ability levels. It has also enabled him to con... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Welcome to the course. Changing habits 101 This course will give you an overview of the different skills that you need to cut the bad habits and add good ones. These are things that have helped me personally and my clients to quit sugar and alcohol completely. To be able to wake up earlier, to exercise twice per day to be able to instill a daily meditation practice as well as to have time to practice self here and learn new hobbies. We all do things that we want to cap. We all have things that we want to improve upon. In this course. I will teach you the skills that actually work to implement those changes in a sustainable long term way that works and that sticks my name. Zachary Phillips on online mental health advocate, author and a life coach. I help people to go from a place off, barely surviving to passionately thriving. So without more to go, let's get into it. Start changing those habits 2. Why Habits Form: before we get into the specific techniques off habit change. I just wanted to do a little bit of a look into what I have it is and why we formed them. I haven't is something that enables us. It's like a quick fix. It's a short cut, a short cut of thinking, a short cut to decision making, ab brains and evolutionary wise. We want to save as much time as much energy. So what do we do? Rather than thinking about every single process, we form habits and the reason I'll have it stick with us because they work for us in the past. So bad or good habits that just a habits in general form because that helped us to provide a workable solution so often times people inebriate themselves as a way to deal with mental stress. This would be considered a bad habit. If you return to the drink or alcohol or cigarettes and you want to stop that, it's a bad habit. But why did you form that happen in the first place? Because that thing helped you to deal with that problem sufficiently quite unquiet. Conversely, if you have worked out that every day. When you wake up, you exercise, and that's just what happens. And that sort of set you up for the day. You set yourself up for a good start, but the habits just there, you've sort of got into the habit off doing it. It just happens. And that's just how your mornings are, with creatures of habit by nature, and we form habits very easily and very quickly. And that's great because it means that you can change those habits with a bit of effort. Some will be more resistant than others, particularly those that involve chemicals, because you've got that addictive factor in there as well. But what we're gonna do in the next few videos will be going through different strategies that can use to break and change and add habits. I want to think of habits as a double edged sword, the ones that you don't choose, the one that you don't implement, that a negative that is causing functional declines or long term bad things to happen in your life. Whatever that is, there be dangerous. But habits can also be very positive. You can use them to shape your life. You can use them to change the very fabric of your day of your mental state, of your body, off your output. How by implementing certain things. When this happens, I do this, and by doing that thing, it will lead to positive results. Because when you do that thing every day consistently in response to a trigger, good things will happen. 3. Consider This: So first you need to start choosing what happens you want to add and what happens you want to take away. But there's a couple of things I want you to consider before you just start changing everything. It needs to be life appropriate. What I mean by that is is we all have different lives. My social life, my family life, my personal life, my job, life are different to yours. So that happens. That I can just change or that I can work to changing will be easier or harder, depending on that so quick example, I wanted to start intermittent fasting. That means eating it between a certain gap, and some people do it where you eat in the morning and fast for the rest of the day on other people to do it at night, that for May I eat dinner at night with my family. So it for me intermittent fasting had to happen in the morning. Does that make sense? It wasn't life a perforated. So you need to consider your life factors and how that will impact your ability to change. Depending on where you live, you might not be able to just instantly change to becoming a vegetarian or vegan. If that's the habit you want to change because you need to start learning where the shops are, you might be living in a place that just doesn't cater for that sort of lifestyle. That's what makes sense. The second thing you need a few or you need to realize is that have it is like a lifelong thing that you're instilling a lot of people with diet changes or exercise regimes or any sort of, you know, new hobby, meditation, all that sort of stuff. They go too hard too soon. I looked at the approach of going well, Could I maintain this for six months? So many diets, just caloric, restrict or so many exercise regimes Just ask too much time initially, at least, that you just couldn't fathom the idea of doing six months. This is why you joined the gym. You are so keen on it or you start. The diet is so keen you stick to it and then a week or a month later, you've dropped it completely. It has to be six months or more. Ideally lifelong. Can you maintain this for your the rest of your life. Now your goal will be far, far, far down the track. But each step in my mind should be life appropriate. So we're gonna get into this when we start talking about how to actually do these, have it habitual changes. But start thinking about long term, not just real quick, and that will give you more ability to maintain and the more chance of a habit sticking. You also need to get your family on board if you're to change something that's gonna potentially impacted them, or even if they're doing your changing something that they're not going to change, that can cause some friction. So once again that die. If you're looking to cut sugar, for example, it's very hard. Other people are bringing sugar into the house, or at least not really being considerate, constantly offering you the desserts, all that sort of stuff. It's very hard, so it's always good to get your family on board, and more than that to explain to them why now, why it is important, both of them and for you. You need to really have a solo grass of why you're trying to change the heaven and money might seem obvious where you're gonna be like. Well, of course I know why I've got Of course I want to eat that. Of course I wanna know. Exercise more meditator will do this hobby or whatever. Whatever it is, quit alcohol Doesn't matter really strongly. Understand the Why If you know exactly why you want to quit, I hope you know exactly why you want to exercise daily. Spell it out yourself, even write it up. Put it on the board, explain it to your family. Clearly, if you could explain why it really sticks because it's no longer just I'm gonna exercise daily for the point of exercising daily. It's I'm gonna get feet out. Stronger, healthier. Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Bruce, my strength look hotter. Whatever it is, right? No, you're Why be able to express it to yourself and express the other people that will help get other people on board? And if you can get your family or friends of the people living with you onboard, man, now you've got that back and forth. You've got that debate. You got that discussion and you're going to start changing habits so easy up Excel stick, you'll be able to talk through with each other. And that's actually one of the things social proof I'm going to get to a little bit later, without further ado, let's get into it on the first topic off small, incremental changes. 4. Make Slow Incremental Changes: So, as I said, changing something very quickly leads to basically leads to failure is an opportunity to go cold turkey with quitting some stuff. I'll talk about that later on. But in general, I found for myself and for my clients small, incremental changes a typically easily absorbed. And the best example of this is waking up early and waking up really is a good little habit to stop changing. And maybe you should try. This one is set your alarm for one minute earlier than when you've been waking up. So let's say you're waking up at seven o'clock. You could try and go. I'm just gonna wake up at 5 30 right? You might be able to do that for a couple of days, but very quickly you gonna be fatigued and it's gonna fail. It's gonna be a habit. That finals a better approach would be to have small, incremental changes. Every day we wake up one minute earlier. So today, waking up at seven. The next day, 6 59 the next day, 6 58 And so now I get it might take you 3 to 4 months to get down to 5 30 if that's your goal. But it's such a slow increment. One minute is not noticeable, but over time you can lock it in, and if you find that you're going too fast, stop in the centre off. You might get out of 6 30 stay there for a month. Then, after a month of 6 30 wake ups, you drop down to six o'clock, and after a month of that, drop it down one minute every time to 5 30 Does that sort of makes sense the same thing? Small, incremental changes when you're trying to instill a meditation, have it start with one minute per day. And if you're interested in meditation about a bunch of videos on there, just check my profile. Check the links down below. Start meditating. It's amazing for you. It's a great habit to start, but you know the books all of the experts recommend. You should be doing like 45 minutes to an hour every day. That's unreasonable. Nobody can just have that much time now. Meditation gives you time. It makes you so much more focused. But you don't get that initially, so it just feels like at the start at least that you're wasting time. So start with one minute a day and you can combine these two. And this is a good thing with habits, right? This is the Give me the next video, but you can actually combine them. If you've got one minute more waking up, you could add that minute to exercise. You could add that minute to meditation. Slow incremental changes. Let's look at exercise, for example. People want to start exercising and they go gung ho. Problem is, is you're not designed or you're not able to do that. You can't just very quickly go from doing nothing. Catch potato style T exercising every day. I've got myself to a stage now that I exercise maybe an hour in the morning and then about two hours a night for three hours of every day, basically some days on as much. But basically every day you spend exercising. When I first started exercising, I could barely run a kilometer and Bailey, due to push ups literally. If I had to try to do what I do now, then I would have burnt myself out, and there being many times in myself and with other people that have seen that they start exercising way too much and then they burn themselves out and they get sick or they get injured. Slow, small, incremental changes. What's the smallest change you could do that? You can keep adding on incrementally. You wanna start doing the dishes more? Don't start cleaning more five minutes every day. Set a timer and you're okay. I'm going to stop doing five minutes per day. Bang, Lock that in. Then once you lock that five minutes in, make it six, make it seven. Make it eight and so forth eventually gonna hit Napa Limit. And that's fine because there will be upper limits to the time that you can commit to any one thing, but slowly starting it. You can always start with one minute and then two and then three and so forth. Slow incremental changes can stop instilling that habit 5. Behaviour Triggered Changes: the next concept only introduced you to is behavior traded. And there's true things in here that I want you to consider. The 1st 1 is when? When should you put in these new habits? Well, if it's adding and you happen if it's doing something new, like an exercise meditation, that sort of stuff, I think the best place to do it is the first thing in the morning. The reason being is that you've just you wake up and then this is what you do. It's establishing a morning routine, establishing morning ritual. So I wake up. I meditate. I do a learning Russian lesson, and then I exercise, and this whole morning ritual takes about an hour and 1/2 roughly, and every morning is the same. Why do I do it this way? It's because I know that I've locked it out. I've done those things, and they guaranteed to be in my day. I'm like the idea of behavior triggered. So the trick is, I wake up. I do my meditation exercise in Russian lessons. That's just what I do. I also use behavior triggers as ways to so there treated myself to do it throughout the day . So one thing I wanted to work on was posture. I had a terrible posture slouched. So the behavior trigger I worked on was every time I walked through a door, that would be the trigger to me to remember to fix my posture. That's a great one. Because if you think about it, you're walking in and out of doors all day and just a quick little thing like a posture check like a mindfulness check, like a calm breath of you wanting to get over anxiety, that sort of stuff behavior triggered. The idea is that you can use something that you do daily to trigger a positive habit. Also on behavior triggers. It's important to know when you're triggered, do something negative. So, for example, if you know that after dinner, every time you go to the alcohol that you go to the cigarettes or you do something negative that you want a quick if you know that's triggered based on something external to you, then you can arm yourself better. You go. OK, I know that after, you know I'm gonna feel like this, so I'm gonna instead do this other thing. I'm gonna do some self care and just do some distraction. I'm gonna call someone. I'm gonna do something that will cause me to not follow with this negative heaven. Does that make sense? If you know that, Okay, When I'm around alcohol to come out, drink. If I'm out at a place that has alcohol and I'm drinking, I'm eating. Sorry, I may drink. So it would be better to go to a non licensed Vigna or alternatively, I know that if I'm out drinking, I'll probably want to smoke. So I should be ready and prepared to deal with that. The idea is considering using behavior triggers to help cause good habits to form. I do them in the morning, do last thing before bed, Do them as soon as you walk in and out of doors or when you meet someone. Whatever the behavior trigger is, think about something happens in your life or that relates to the habit. Do you want to change sugar based off that? And alternatively, look at the triggers that cause you to do certain bad habits and start addressing that prior to it. So if you know something is gonna come something happens whenever I see this person when I'm in this certain situation, whenever this happens to me, I turned to a bad habit. Started dressing it prior to that. Don't try and stop the habit. Try and address the behavior Address with life circumstance first, so you don't have to deal with the habit Apple. 6. Tip The Lead Domino: The next way to change habits is the lead domino approach. So this could be by instilling a good habit. You can cut a bunch of negative habits in the process, so I'll give you a couple of examples number one if you know that every morning at 6 30 you're gonna wake up in exercise on that exercise is gonna go for half an hour, and you just lock that here, That forces you to have to go to bed at a certain time at night. Otherwise gonna be tired for the next day. It forces you to cut down on your drinking or drug, taking it not because you will be lethargic and feel terrible in the morning. Now, obviously, you're gonna have trouble with that, at least initially. But if you know I'm gonna get up guaranteed and you lock that in, it's gonna call you at night to stop thinking. Do I really want to have this next drink? So I really want to take this drug. Do I really want to stay out this light watching you chip the lead domino In this case, the thing that's gonna cause all of the other changes is locking in the positive change in the morning. Yeah, so for me, I love to gold on food. I love to just eight, and when I eat, I'll just eight tapes. But I don't get fat. I don't want to get overweight. I don't want to ruin my physique. I don't want to get unfit, So how can I balance that? So I I don't want to calorically restrict because I don't really believe in that is a diet function it doesn't. Doesn't sit with a six month goal, right? Don't be starving for the rest of my life. So what I've done is I've quit sugar and I intimately, fast. So when I do eat a in a small window and I don't eat sugar based traits which means that when I do eat, I can eat as much as I life as I like. Right? So the lead domino in this case waas changing the diet culture and changing the time that I eat to certain times. Now those to have it changes, I implemented those with, you know, small increments, the behavior tree and all that other stuff that I'm gonna talk about in the rest of this course, but it helped to instil other things that enabled me to do things that I loved. For example, gorging on the food right? So if you can work out that implementing a certain habit will impact you in other ways, use a leverage and run. For example, if you're struggling to save money, if you want to get better at saving money, then cutting down on alcohol or tobacco will directly lead to that. For example, you could say, Well, I want to learn how to do rumba dancing. Put the money first towards that, and then you don't have the money for the cigarettes. Do you see how that could help you? If you put the money towards the dancing, you don't have it for the cigarettes that will help you to cut down the smoking. Obviously, there's lots of floor, and that's a very small example. But by pushing down the positive puff, it will take away your resources and ability in time to do something negative. It will help you cut that by Defoe by a lack of physical resources in this case and money 7. Leverage The Power of Social Proof: we are completely social animals. So a amazing way to force you to sort of almost guilt you into sticking to your habit. Father. Quitting or adding is social proof. Tell people tell people widely, I'm going to quit sugar. I'm going to learn the guitar. I'm going to exercise daily Whatever is put it on your social media. Tell your family Write it up. Put it on the wall. Tell yourself daily until your family daily tell everyone. Tell them to check in and say, Hey, call me on this. Am I exercising? Have I started that business? Am I doing this thing? Do you see me meditating? Did you see me eating that sugar tree? Right. And the reason this works is that not only will you feel the pressure from them the overpressure them saying Hey, you know I'm looking at you. I'm noticing. I saw that you do this. You also won't want to let them down. We as humans have a desire to be true to our word. We want to make sure that we are, you know, consistent. So if I say hey, I'm no longer get eight Children and I go to stop pulling that trigger into my mouth. I feel that inconsistency. And then you add to that the social pressure. If this person that's at the dinner table looking at me and you just know they're thinking like, Hey, didn't you say you weren't gonna do that? That really adds a little bit of white to the ability to say no, the the ability to just add a little bit more discipline because ultimately it's a choice you choose, whether you want to put the food into Matthew Truth, whether you get up and exercise right and obviously where you're trying to step the debt to make that choice as easy as possible. This as a little bit of sort of guilt power almost, and there's negative connotations to that. But when used appropriately, it's very helpful. That was particularly true for me quitting sugar. It's very hard. There's sugar in everything, but I said it to my paranoia. Is it to my family? Said it online to everyone that follows May and I was, I will stick to it because I said I explicitly said Hey, calming on it, checking on me and make sure I'm actually doing this because this is important. And then they did. And every time I was tempted like, yeah, but then you're gonna be going back on your word. Then people will see that you failed. Then people will think you're not that discipline right on that pushed me through now, prior to be being successful with quitting sugar, I tried and failed. That's okay. It's okay to fail provided you get back on the horse. And if you do failing, you've used this social proof. Say, Hey. Yeah, I failed. I ate the sugar. I stopped exercising. I didn't practise my guitar. Whatever. That's fine. Help me again. I'm gonna try again. This time I'm gonna get longer this time. I'm gonna beat that record. This I'm going to be sober for 60 days and as opposed to 30 I'm gonna try and get longer. So you social proof to help and support you If you do fail because chances are when you start implementing stuff, you will you will stuff up. That's fine. Provided you get back on and keep going 8. Class Project: so adding to the concept of social proof, we're gonna do the class project right now. And what we're gonna do is basically gonna write down a habit you're gonna change either something that you can add or something you take away that happen I'm gonna change is X or I'm going to start meditating daily. Write it down. That's literally the class project right down the habit that you gonna do, put it out there to the world and look at everyone else's habits. And just if you see someone else with a habit, just come in. Say hi, how are you going with the exercise? How's your diet going? Have you been practicing that so class project right down there, How you gonna change? Start commenting on other people's habits. And yet let's help each other with that social perf. Get some 9. Track Your Performance: a similar approach to social proof is tracking. Tracking your performance? Tracking How many times you doing something Tracking with eating, tracking how many times your smoking or drinking or the amount of doing it. This is more of a personal one. Basically, the idea is this. If you want to change your habits unless you died as an example, it's a very simple approach to just literally right down the food you're eating. Just get a pen and paper, write down the date and just write down what you eat. This does two things. One. It lets you know your progress and let you know with cold, hard data exactly what you're doing, so you can see if you're improving. You can see if the habit is increasing if you wanted to or decreasing if you want to, you can see where you're succeeding and where you're failing. What it also does ease and in the diet. Example. If you are about to eat a doughnut and you're right, I doughnut down. You have to write that down so it gives you a time to pause the time to question. Am I doing the thing that I want to be doing right now. And if you end up meeting the item from your tracking, it suggests that you're not that serious on the habit. It suggest that you need to consider the why a little bit harder. So you track what you do to know how you're actually doing with the habit and also to keep you a bit more honest. It allows you to look back over and see if there are any behavior triggered. Things I see every Sunday I tend to run out of time to exercise. I just don't get around to doing it. Why? Well, then you can look into your your process is something on a Sunday that is not on the other days or whenever this person comes over, I typically have a cigarette. Maybe there's something in your environment that is causing something. You're not aware of it. Tracking gives you data and give you a person to be honest, too. Yourself. Yeah, So what I've found for me personally, I got one of those Wall Diaries. You know, that's like 31 days of the month and for the habit. Don't instill. I'll just put a tick. If I've done it. So, for example, the most recent habit that I'm implementing is doing a Russian. Listen, just a five minute Vyron app. Now, every day I will put a little tick or a little are to represent Russian and then I can see that. Okay, I've implemented this. I've done I can look back. Did it? Did it did it, Mr Day. Did it? Did it? Did it make sense that I can check And I found that once I've been doing that for a while, it gets rolling. It's cool. I'm gonna put that little tick up there, right? It's silly, but you're sort of crossing, crossing stuff off lists or writing them up, give you that little sort of endorphin rush. You feel good. It's feels a bit silly, but, hey, we're But we're trying to hack ourselves to get habits into our lives. So that's one of the approaches that I find a a sort of 31 day, month based calendar. And I found that after I've been doing something for about a month to two months, I don't need to travel anymore for walked in. I'm just doing it that have it has set, so give that a try, start tracking it and checking over your performance 10. Cold Turkey Works: so the final approach is almost the direct opposite off the 1st 1 Small, incremental changes. This involves going cold turkey now. The reason I say this is because sometimes some habits can just be bank stopped or they can just be started. You know that cold turkey approach One day you just decide no more smokes. And there's some research evidence to suggest is that often times people find a lot of success from just one day just deciding to stop now. I personally have had some success with this only when I very, very, very clearly understood why I wanted to stop. The reason being is every time since I don't want to stop it, ban. Unless I had a very strong understanding of why I'm doing this. The cravings, the desires that habitual want was too strong. So, by all means tropical turkey approach. But no, your why Clearly, I try to sort of almost do the small incremental changes and Nicole Turkey almost in tandem auras appear. So with with the waking up early, you could start waking up early. They're very small increments, or you could do a big jump with stop, for example, how often Allah and then slow incremental changes. And then you feel ready. Another big jump. Give it a try. Things that work for me or for people that I've met may not work for you, and vice versa. The whole idea of this is to try a bunch of stuff and keep stuff that works because you'll find an approach tohave it. Change that works for you. This course is basically an overview off a bunch of stuff that does work, So try it all, but then you'll start seeing okay. Social proof really works for me, but the behavior triggered thing. I just can't seem to remember. Fine. All vice versa. But you'll find approaches that works for you. You might go, huh? Zack said. That cold turkey can work. I've never actually just trying to stopping. And you? Today we'll just stop smoking and it will work. Some of you will just be able to do that and great for whatever reason, for your personality, for your mental state, your life. Circumstances called Turkey works for you. Awesome. For other people, small, incremental changes works. But other people that tracking the behavior cheated, lied, dominant social proof or whatever it is, find what works figure 11. Quick Recap: So I want you right now. Start considering some of the habits that you gonna change and do the project. Let me never happens. You're going to change and let me know your progress because I'm super curious to see what happens. You've instilled on what happens. You've cut. So do the class project right down the heaven. We're gonna work on an update me on how you're going and let's let's start a little bit of community and checking in on each other to make sure that everyone else knows exactly what we're doing in keeping each other honest with that social proof. Remember that we want toe sort of get our family involved, understand the wire for ourselves on the wife of them, make sure it's viable for six nights, you know, doing something too hard too soon that you can't maintain major life appropriate for your life. And remember that all of these different approaches that we've talked about will work for some people and not for others. That's okay. Find what works for year now just above you really love. If you could review my class, it's gonna say, Hey, can you appear a little review please click. Sure. And just a short review. It really helps me both to spread the word and just makes me feel good, cause I know that I'm helping you guys. And on that topic, if you want to get more of what I'm doing looking to my vlog, my blawg, my podcast on my books Hit of my website at Zachary, hyphen Phillips dot com. And you can find me on social everywhere at Zach P Phillips. Like I said, I'm gonna put it out some more courses on specific habit changes and go into each little thing in death. So follow me on skill share for some more catch up.