From: Howie Jacobson <>
Subject: New Podcast Episode: My Coaching Evolution: How to achieve lasting, effortless, and transformational change

In this podcast I open up about an exciting new method I've adopted that helps my clients erase bad habits completely and permanently.

Watch or listen here:

For most of my career, I thought this was impossible. I learned - and it was reinforced by ACT - that there's no "delete" button for our thoughts. All we can do is develop a more functional relationship with thoughts like "I deserve a half gallon of Ben and Jerry's after the day I've had" - as in, not believe them and act on them.

But then I discovered the new science of memory reconsolidation.

That's not a coaching technique, or a therapeutic technique. It's actually a brain process that's at the heart of learning.

Learning anything.

Because if you think about it, every change we want to make in our thoughts, feelings, choices, and habits is about learning something new.

Bad habits are just things we learned to do in response to particular triggers to achieve certain desirable outcomes.

And now we've decided that the costs of those habits outweigh their benefits.

But even though we understand this intellectually - "I know this ice cream is not making me happy and it's certainly not making me healthy" - we persist in the habits because, well, they're habits and that's how habits work.

For much of my coaching career, I helped clients do 2 things to overcome bad habits:

  1. Remove as many triggers as possible

  2. Identify and practice alternate behaviors until those also achieve habit status that can rival and usually outcompete the original habit

Those are damn good strategies, and they work a lot of the time.

The trouble is, the original unwanted habit - notice the linguistic shift from "bad" to "unwanted," which is highly intentional - is still there. So now there's a competition going on between the new habit and the old one. And when we're tired, or stressed out, or anxious, or pissed off, or sad, the old habit often wins.

The science of memory reconsolidation has discovered, really just in the last 25 years, that the brain has a mechanism for completely erasing the thought patterns that create most of our unwanted symptoms. And those symptoms include thoughts, emotions, and habits.

The idea is that all those symptoms arise from what are known as implicit memories. That's a fancy way of saying that we learned something so important, it went straight into memory without our becoming aware of it.

One example of an implicit memory is when you learned to ride a bicycle, or tie your shoe. You can't "remember" it like you can remember the capital of Greenland, but the memory simply "comes alive" when you put your feet on the pedals or grasp the aglets of your shoelaces.

We also have many implicit memories that, when activated, trigger habits that we long to be rid of. Those memories live in our brains and basically predict greater suffering if we don’t engage in the habit.

And even though your rational adult mind knows that Ben and Jerry’s before bed is a terrible idea that will move you farther away from what you want out of life, the implicit memory that “ice cream = relief from emotional suffering” is way too strong in the moment to yield to grown-up concepts.

The new method I’m working with focuses not on the symptoms produced by the memories, but on the meanings of those memories. And the science of memory reconsolidation shows that we can actually change those meanings. And once they’re changed, the symptoms they’ve been producing simply vanish.

Engaging in new behaviors that are in alignment with our goals and values becomes effortless, even in the face of triggers for the old behaviors. The change is lasting, and cannot be reversed by stress.

(Important distinction: this isn’t about erasing factual memories, but changing the present-day meaning of those memories. You will not forget that you had a cat named Tipsy or that your brother used to tease you about liking cauliflower.)

In this episode, Glenn Livingston helps me trace my evolution as a coach, through the various schools and models and influences. We culminate the conversation with a deep dive into memory reconsolidation coaching, with principles and examples.

Watch or listen here:

If you’d like to experience this new form of coaching from me, hit me up at

Enjoy the conversation, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts! Best place to share them is on the Plant Yourself blog, in the comments section below the post: