Breaking Bad Habits

How Coaches Can Turn the Trend

By Rod Macdonald, Certified Coach Practitioner and Tonic’s Resident Coach

and Jamie Bussin

On Episode #136 of THE TONIC Talk Show/Podcast we spoke about why people suffer from habits and what we can do about it. This is an excerpt of the interview.

Why do people struggle with habits? That’s easy to explain and hard to fix. We all get used to things in our lives and get settled in our ways. We’re taught by our caregivers from a young age to believe certain things and to act in certain ways. When we repeat something enough it becomes ingrained in our subconscious mind as a habit.

Are some people more susceptible to habits? Absolutely. Some of us are genetically hardwired to fall into habits, and on the darker side fall into addictions. But there’s a difference between chemical dependency and emotional dependency; which at their root is a chemical dependency, in that it is spurred by neurotransmitters in the brain, but is spurred by emotions and our ability to manage those emotions and how we cope with those emotions.

Where do the habits come from? All of these habits at their root satisfy a need. Anthony Robbins discusses his 6 human needs; the need for certainty, variety, significance, connection, contribution and growth. During Covid-19 and/or if we’ve lost our job, there’s less certainty. That means for some people, less security. Our habits fulfil our sense of security. “I’ll feel better if I have a…” We feel good temporarily and that gives us a sense of control.

What can coaches do to help to break a habit? As a coach, I try to deal with the “now and what comes next”, whereas psychotherapy and counselling deals with the past. If someone has an addiction (or something they can’t untangle themselves) they should seek professional help from a counsellor or therapist with that. That being said coaches can help to form good habits (which replace or nudge out the bad habits). Coaches can help with accountability, but more importantly unrestricted and unbiased support. The average person has other people in their lives who can provide support (ie. family, friends) but those people have their own agenda.  A coach is there to help the client define what they want, and when they want it, and what they’d need to do to get it and then put it into a timeframe and routine and help keep the client accountable.


Combining over 30 years in the field of self-development, Rod is the CEO of the Certified Coaches Federation, one of the largest coach education companies in the world, and a speaker, coach and author. For more information on the Certified Coaches Federation, visit and for more information on Rod, visit

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