Tag Archives: Josh King

Why “Practice Makes Perfect”

Posted on September 22, 2015

PracticeOften, the process of making lasting change requires trying new and unfamiliar things. Maybe it’s walking to work a different way so you can avoid a tempting or triggering location. Maybe it’s practicing new coping skills in the face of an old problem. Maybe it’s reaching out to other people when you normally would go it alone.

Deliberately practicing new behavior has three effects: 1) you get better at doing it, which increases the odds that you will be successful at it when it matters,  2) you start to replace the old habits with new ones, and 3) you develop the habit of replacing old habits!

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3 Reasons ‘Practice Makes Perfect’

Posted on February 3, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect
Josh King, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change
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“Transforming a habit isn’t necessarily easy or quick. It isn’t always simple but it IS possible.” ~Charles Duhigg

PracticeOften, the process of making lasting change requires trying new and unfamiliar things. Maybe it’s walking to work a different way so you can avoid a tempting or triggering location. Maybe it’s practicing new coping skills in the face of an old problem. Maybe it’s reaching out to other people when you normally would go it alone.

Deliberately practicing new behavior has three effects: 1) you get better at doing it, which increases the odds that you will be successful at it when it matters, 2) you start to replace the old habits with new ones, and 3) you develop the habit of replacing old habits!

First, remember that when you are trying out something new, it is best to practice that skill when the stakes aren’t too high. You wouldn’t want to shoot your first ever free-throw in the NBA finals! Instead, practice a new skill when the pressure is low, so you can get used to it and fine-tune it in relative comfort. Then, you’ll know just what to do when you really need it later.

The second effect, replacing old habits, is a big one. Recent research has shown Continue reading

5 Tips for Building a Strong Support Network

Posted on July 1, 2014

How to help your potential support system really be helpful
~Josh King, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change

Support for RecoveryMany people start using substances (often as teens) as a way to engage socially.  The reality is that almost all substances with abuse potential initially have a “social lubrication” effect (i.e., they are dis-inhibiting, relaxing, anxiety-reducing, buffers to self-criticism, enhancers of pleasure, etc).  The problem?  Further down the road (and sometimes right out of the gates), use patterns become much more solitary, withdrawn and isolated.  Many have suffered through conflicts with family and friends and, by the time they seek treatment, feel disconnected from potential supporters of change.  In addition, to break the destructive patterns that are in place when they seek treatment, they have to distance themselves from current friends who engage in the same behavior (party pals etc).  The reality of “loss”…that is the loss of the relationship with the substance and with the people around it…and the awareness of distance from potentially supportive family and friends makes the early stages of change very hard to tolerate at times.
Research has shown time and again that having a robust support network can significantly reduce the odds of relapse Continue reading

Slipping off the Path of Addiction Recovery

Posted on March 18, 2014

Anatomy of a Relapse
~Josh King, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change

TetherRelapses (and lapses and slips, whatever you want to call a return to old behavior) are frustrating events. Sometimes it feels like you’re (finally!) on the path you want to be on, and then, out of the blue, you fall off of that path and feel like you are back at the beginning (and that is sometimes what people tell you!). While it can feel like a lapse happens without much warning, it’s best to think of it as a process that happens over time. The reality is that people tend to drift towards a relapse, like a boat that has lost its mooring and is drifting out to sea. The movement can be slow and can go almost unnoticed until you are already adrift. By knowing what is “mooring” you to sobriety, or the changes you want to make, you can be more aware of when the “mooring lines” are getting cut and you are drifting into a lapse to old behavior.

Change-Supporting Activities

When you change your use of substances Continue reading