Jason Wittman Life & Mentor Coaching
http://MyCoachJason.com http://TheParentsCoach.com

Vol. II, Issue 1
December 28, 2009

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- A Note from The Coach

- Life Skills: A New Way to Look at New Year’s Resolutions

-Feature Article: Planning on Stopping Smoking or Other Not So Good Habits? Here are Some Useful Suggestions

Please add "ezine@MyCoachJason.com" to your whitelist or address book in your e-mail program, so that you have no trouble receiving future issues!

To my dear readers who might have wondered why they have not gotten any ezines from me in the past year and to my new readers who signed up for this ezine and haven’t ever seen one, welcome and welcome back to my newsletter. This ezine has been silent for the last year because I was doing way more work than any one person ought to be doing. I was working full time as a counselor for one of the best residential drug and alcohol residential rehabs in the U.S. while, at the same time, coaching my private clients. I love to do both types of service and get great joy and satisfaction from knowing that I have been able to contribute to my clients’ growth. I knew that riding more than one horse at a time can become quite difficult when the horses start to go in different directions. As my coaching clients became more numerous and my personal life and interests diminished, I recognized that something had to give. As much as I loved working in the rehab, I knew I had to let it go.

So here I am, in bed, doing Morning Pages. A luxury I have not had for the past year. Almost all of my creative writing comes out of my doing Morning Pages (See ezine #4 for a full explanation), so you will be seeing many more ezines and blog posts this year.
 It’s good to be back at the writing desk. I have been around this planet for a bunch of time and have a lot of experience living life to the fullest and I really have the desire to pass those skills on to you all. When I was a grad student at Cornell University, I had as an advisor a very learned professor, Uri Bronfrenbrenner.  Professor Bronfrenbrenner once made a comment that has stuck in my mind, ever since. I was telling him about my latest new counseling innovation and he interrupted me, saying, “The trouble with you doers, who refuse to write anything you do down, is that you are going to be gone and no one will know anything you did or learned!” He got to me and I have been writing ever since.

Welcome, again. This ezine’s focus is on exploring new ways to approach the New Year’s resolution process and insuring success in changing the habits people invariably decide to change at this time of year.

I hope you are having a wonderful Holiday Season, and wish you all the health, happiness and success in the coming year that are your birthright. I will be here, as your coach, when you need me. 

PS: Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is
serious. So Enjoy, Already!

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End of the year discount on coaching packages until the end of January!!!

Call me and take advantage of my end of the year resolution special, 25% off of my regular rates. If you start counseling with me before the end of January, 2010, you will be locked into that rate for as long as you are my client. Call me soon at 323-850-8005 because when January 2010 is over, so is the special!

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A New Way to Look at New Year’s Resolutions    

I believe that any endeavor in business and life can be thought of and designed as a winnable game worth playing.  In analyzing what makes a game a game, there are a number of features that stand out. First, a game is played for a finite period of time. There is a beginning, a period of play and a conclusion, at which point a winner can be declared. Second, at the conclusion of the game, the score for that game becomes final; nothing can be added to it. Third, when the game is over, both the winners and the losers analyze the game to figure out what they can do to improve their performances in the next game. Forth, people or teams that lost a game and continue to replay that loss without learning from it and using that new learning to practice for the next game, continue to lose. Fifth and finally, the next game is a new game with a new score board set at zero. When the player(s) start the new game, the focus is on playing full out, now. If the experiences of the losses of past games are still the focus, the new performance will not only suffer but they will probably get the same outcome.

In life, people who continually fail and live depressing lives, envision life as one continual game so all their past failures are carried forward as evidence of the impossibility of ever winning.  The winners use past loses as merely feedback and an indication of areas of their lives that are in need of improvement. They look at each period of time that they are engaged in a particular quest in their lives as a new game with a new score card. They have learned what they needed to learn from past experiences (games) and approach the current challenge with all the fervor and enthusiasm that would accompany the beginning of any new game.

We tend to use calendar cycles as points to review the progress of our lives. Birthdays, anniversaries, and at this time of the year, New Years, become those review points. I am proposing that this New Year we adopt a new way of assessing the past year. Let’s look at the past year as a game that is over. What happened happened! The only thing left to do is to analyze our performances. Where were we exquisite and where, and even more important how, could we have done better. Then, as all winners do, we practice the skills that need improvement and move on to the next games – in this case the ones we are playing in the year ahead -- with a clean score, with total enthusiasm and commitment to improving our game.

The problem with most resolutions people make at New Years is that the resolution’s underlying message is, “If I hadn’t been such a ……this resolution would not be necessary!” This year instead of resolutions, try substituting a Plan of Action for your life games that will incorporate the lessons learned from past experience, both positive and negative, while focusing on playing your life full out. Successful businesses usually have a business plan that has individual plans for all the parts of the business. That’s how they are successful at playing the business game. My commitment for this year is to better create plans of action for the life games I plan to play and then play them, full out, with no reservations. I plan to share some of those in future articles. What are yours? If you are reading this on my blog, comment below. If in my ezine, please email me.

©2009, Jason Wittman

Would you like to reprint this article? You can, as long as you
publish the entire article and include this complete blurb with
it: "Life Coach Jason Wittman publishes "My Coach Jason's Tips
for Winning at Life" monthly ezine. If you're ready to
jump-start your life, you can find more FREE tips, FREE
subscription information
, and how you can benefit by his
coaching at http://MyCoachJason.com "

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Planning on Stopping Smoking or Other Not So Good
Habits? Here are Some Useful Suggestions

It’s almost the first of the year when, for some strange reason human beings go through a curious ritual of making resolutions to change those things that didn’t work out during the just concluded year. The problem is that they might have all sorts of good intentions when they make those resolutions, but they lack most of the internal tools to keep the resolve up long enough to have any success. It’s one thing to acknowledge that a behavior has not been working in our best behalf and it’s another thing to let go of that behavior and all the short term goodies, sometimes referred to as secondary gains, that were derived from that behavior. It’s the biggest thing of all to actually make the changes.

For most folks, this won’t be the first time that they made these same resolutions. After many attempts that ended in failure there is a part of their inner mind that is as negatively powerful as the undesirable behavior. That part has a voice that says, “So what is going to be different this time? It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s just going to end in disaster as usual.”  Variations of this mantra will show up in one’s internal conversations. Sometimes it will manifest itself nonverbally as defeatist behaviors such as procrastination or flat out giving up. One way or another, unless this part becomes convinced that the desired change is winnable, it will sabotage all efforts.

What follows are some concrete suggestions for how to use your mind to successfully assist you to once and for all win the resolution game. Although I am talking about stopping the use of tobacco products, the suggestions are equally applicable to any habit you might want to change.

One of the most resolutioned behaviors is the use of tobacco products. These days with fewer people smoking, a more health conscious population whose tolerance for second hand smoke is at an all time low, and smoking banned from all public places and public transportation, the external pressure is on to stop. External pressures, on their own, are not usually enough to get one to resolve to stop. But all that pressure on top of becoming aware of the deteriorating condition of their lungs, as evidenced by smoker’s coughs and frequent colds, makes it hard to ignore that nagging feeling that maybe the jig is up and that they had better quit now before it is too late.

Tobacco is the perfect drug. Its ingredients are both a stimulant, nicotine, and a calmative agent, acetaldehyde (the first metabolite of alcohol and the probable cause of hangovers). It is a literal smoke screen and it gives one something to do with hands. What more could you want? Well, maybe, the ability to breathe fully and live long. The problem is that those are long term goals and they are usually trumped by short term gains because the emotional costs of giving up those short term gains are too painful to withstand. Until the cost of the short term gains become too high or are satisfied by other means, smoking will remain as an entrenched habit.

If you are one of those who is resolved to be successful this time, here are a couple of my most useful tips:

A lot of folks use nicotine replacement aids, like the patch, to make the process easier. They work. The main reason they work has less to do with withdrawing from the nicotine -- the body will be detoxed after a couple of weeks of abstinence -- than giving the inner mind three months to get used to functioning without the physical act of smoking.

If you are going to be using patches or some other type of nicotine replacement source like nicotine gum, you should know the physical addiction to nicotine would be over in a matter of weeks if one was to just quit cold-turkey. The main reason why the course of treatment with patches lasts for three months is two-fold. The first is that reducing the amount of nicotine in the system in increments gradually makes it less of a jolt to the system than cold-turkey. A sudden jolt could produce sufficient anxiety to trigger the urge to resume smoking. Furthermore, an even more important reason why the patches are used for three months has to do with the other part of smoking, the secondary gains or payoffs. There will be three month of break from the physical habit of smoking during which time the person will have the opportunity to develop new behaviors that will more responsibly satisfy those needs. A third and most important reason has to do with how the inner, or sub-conscious, mind works.

The inner mind will automatically carry out whatever programs it thinks are normal and natural. After smoking for an extended period of time, the inner mind thinks that smoking is the normal program and will do everything it can to carry that program out. The longer one stays away from the physical act of smoking the better the chance of the inner mind understanding that just breathing air is the new normal program. Once it gets that that is the new program, the urge to smoke will be gone.

It is very important to understand the concept that the longer the time away from the physical act of smoking, the more solid will be the inner minds adaption of the new behavior. Many people will have a cigarette every once in a while during the three months of the nicotine patch program. Every time they do that, they are effectively starting from scratch in the campaign to get the inner mind to adopt the new behavior. In coaching folks who are using nicotine substitutes to stop smoking, I have found that the success rate is way lower for those who occasionally smoked during the three months than for those who stayed cigarette free.

Regardless of what method one uses to stop smoking, those who daily visualize about their new tobacco-free lives have the most success.  The easiest way to do this type of visualization is to make yourself comfortable in an environment where you will not be disturbed. Take some nice, deep breaths letting them out slowly. As you take the breaths in, notice the parts of your body that are a bit tense and tighten the muscles in those areas even more. Then, as you let the breaths out let those muscles relax. Doing that regularly will teach the inner mind to associate slow, deep breaths with body relaxation. If you have problems with this exercise please use the free MP3 download that you had the opportunity to download when you signed up for this newsletter. If you didn’t, you can do so by clicking here.

Once you are in a relaxed state, you can then run a little mental movie in which you visualize how you are now living a smoke free life. For each scenario where you used to use tobacco products, picture and imagine yourself easily, confidently, and happily doing that activity tobacco-free and notice how great it feels to be able to breathe freely again. Notice how much money you are now able to save or whatever are the reasons why you decided to become tobacco-free. The important ingredient of this visualization is that it needs to be done in the present tense, i.e.: “I am having……” rather than, “I will have…..” The inner mind does not distinguish past from future and only operates in the now so, even though it seems like a strange construction, say, “The next time I am in a social situation, I am totally at ease…” It works the best.

The other oddity of the how the inner mind operates is that it drops out of the sentence any negative modifiers, such as “not.” If you were to visualize “I am in this social situation where in the past I would have always smoked and now I am not smoking…” the inner mind will drop the word “not” out of that sentence and will hear it as “and now I am smoking.” Since English is usually spoken in negatives and double negatives, i.e.: “He is not unkind,” it really takes practice to be able to do a visualization totally using positive descriptors.

As a hypnotherapist, I have always known that what you imagine gets realized. As far back as the Old Testament, Job says, “What I imagined is upon me!” There is a famous study of basketball players practicing free throws where one group physically practiced doing free throws for a period of time while another group did not do anything physically -- instead, only repeatedly visualized making perfect free throws. The group what did the visualization had the most improvement! This works, and if you regularly regarding visualize a life beyond tobacco, you will greatly up the chances of success.

Until the inner mind understands that smoking and the use of tobacco products is a thing of the past, thoughts will regularly occur that call for and urge you to indulge. Since it is impossible to block anything from one’s mind, the easiest way to deal with these thoughts is to acknowledge that they are there and thank that part of you that keeps bringing it up for sharing. Then remember what you were doing before the thought and go back to doing it. For persistent urges, when that voice won’t shut up, I suggest using the following NLP technique: 

Since most people compartmentalize their mind when they describe what’s going on inside by giving each part a voice as in, “There’s a part of me that won’t…..” I find it useful to use that self-description as a way of explaining how the process of changing out of the smoking habit works.

As strange as this seems, there is no part of you that is trying to do you in. All parts of you have good intention, even that part that keeps you using tobacco products.  They are simply attempting to satisfy your needs. The problem comes with the behaviors that some of those parts adapt to satisfy those needs. This is a very important distinction because it takes the fight, that internal, infernal battle, out of the recovery equation. Once we have acknowledged that the part keeps us using has only the best intention for us, we can start an internal conversation where we can thank that part for its concern and intention, and then suggest that it might help us explore other ways of satisfying those intentions -- the ones that also allow the other parts whose intentions are to keep the body healthy, wealthy and well -- to be able to support the new behavior.

The way the internal dialog or conversation would go is something like this: “Thank you very much for your wanting the best for me. Right now I am working on other ways of satisfying those needs you are so concerned about. So, for the time being I would love your support in my explorations for more effective and healthier ways of caring out your good intentions. I welcome your feedback as we try out these new ways. I only ask you to give these new ways a good trial run before judging their effectiveness. I am told that six months would be a fair trial period. I know that since you have my best interests in mind that you will be totally on board to explore even better ways of getting your intentions met then that of smoking. Thank you…Now where was I?” That last question will bring you back to what you were doing before the thought of having a smoke or chew entered your mind. This conversation is an important one to have both before starting a tobacco-free life style and regularly during the initial stages of the withdrawal process. Another way of saying that is “what you resist persists.” The best way to stop negative thoughts is to acknowledge them and then get back to the new thinking. That is what that internal conversation accomplishes.

This all might sound silly at first until we realize that we regularly talk to ourselves. Unfortunately most of that talk is negative, especially when it comes to ceasing bad habits. There are a lot of positive payoffs or benefits that are derived from bad habits so the part that controls that habit will fiercely fight for the habit to continue until it understands that the habit is no longer needed to provide the benefits.

In the case of smoking, there are a lot of payoffs or benefits – nicotine is a stimulant; the second most active ingredient, acetaldehyde, is a calming agent; the smoke, itself provides a literal “smoke screen to ease social discomfort; and the physical act of smoking, the moving of the cigarette to the mouth and back down again and again, gives the hands something to do when doing nothing with the hands is socially uncomfortably.

This process of acknowledging the intention of the controlling part of the mind, and enlisting its cooperation in exploring new methods and behaviors to still achieve the payoffs that the old habit provided, is a great technique because it utilizes the internal conversation that most people already use to explain why they are defeated from achieving their goals by their own mind and turns it into a positive force for change.

Some people find it quite helpful to have a coach to talk to as they go through this process. The inner mind work is much easier to do with a coach as a guide. Having gone through this process myself, I understand the feelings, the emotions, and what it takes to win. So call me and take advantage of my end of the year resolution special, 25% off of my regular rates for as long as you are my client. (When January 2010 is over, so is the special.)

©2009, Jason Wittman

Would you like to reprint this article? You can, as long as you
publish the entire article and include this complete blurb with
it: "Life Coach Jason Wittman publishes "My Coach Jason's Tips
for Winning at Life" monthly ezine. If you're ready to
jump-start your life, you can find more FREE tips, FREE
subscription information
, and how you can benefit by his
coaching at http://MyCoachJason.com "

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The Parents of Teens Tele-Roundtable has a New Meeting Time.

If you are the parent or grandparent of a teen or young adult, this is the call for you. Join me on the telephone conference line for an hour of discussion focusing on parenting techniques and the hassles and joys (there can actually be many!) or raising teens. If you know anyone who might profit from this call, please pass this info on.

If you are planning to join me in the call, please register at the MaestroConferencing website. Upon registering, you will be given a call in number and a personal pin number to use when you log into the call.

The Tele-Roundtable meets every first Tuesday of the month at 11AM Pacific (2PM Eastern).

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The Playing Life Full-Out Roundtable!
A New Weekly Tele-Gathering

I am exploring starting an on-going free roundtable that will focus
primarily on the areas of Inner Game issues of getting certainty
and confidence in one's abilities to play full-out in both
business and life. It would be free and start soon if there is an interest.
It will be not so much coaching as part tele-class, part Q&A and
part mutual discussion on pertinant topics, with laser coaching
when its called for.

To sign up for this Roundtable, just fill in the form below and
push the "Submit" button. I will notify you when the group starts.


Looking forward to talking with you then.

In future issues, I will be selecting a question that is related
to Life Coaching and/or one of the topics I have presented or
one that you would like me to cover. Just send your questions to

Life Coach Jason Wittman, MPS, brings to his life coaching
practice extensive experience in the therapeutic counseling and
coaching worlds. He is a Certified Hypnotherapist,
Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and holds a masters in
counseling psychology. He has been coaching his clients to
achieve winning lives for themselves since the mid-1980s. He
believes that any endeavor in life and business can be designed
into a winnable game worth playing. He assists his clients to
design winnable games worth playing and coaches them to win.

If you would like to explore, risk-free, the possibility of
investing in a Life Coaching relationship with me as your coach.
I offer a brief 30 minute phone consultation where we can
discuss your questions about coaching and if I am the right
person for you. If you would like to schedule an appointment,
email me at freeconsultation@mycoachjason.com

Jason Wittman Life Coaching
P.O. Box 46606
West Hollywood, CA 90046


End of the year discount on coaching packages until the end of January!!!

Call me and take advantage of my end of the year resolution special, 25% off of my regular rates. If you start counseling with me before the end of January, 2010, you will be locked into that rate for as long as you are my client. Call me soon at 323-850-8005 because when January 2010 is over, so is the special!

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9 Jason Wittman. All rights reserved. PO Box 46606, West Hollywood,CA 90046