1.0 Setting the Scene

Welcome Back!

You’re in the home straight, 3 sessions to go including this.

Before we begin, how have things been?


Last week we looked at Distraction Techniques, Positive Psychology and Social Media.

This week we’re going to look at Habits, Small Changes & Big Impact and Problem Solving Solutions.

Before we go any further let’s do our Drill Review for last week.

- Did you use any of your distraction techniques throughout the week?
- How did you find putting your phone on aeroplane mode one-two hours before bed each night?

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. Habits are behaviours that have been repeated enough times to become automatic. To work on our self-improvement, we must think about our habits.

Why is it so much easier to repeat bad habits than to build new ones? They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous!

It is only when looking back years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones become noticeable. We often dismiss small changes because they don’t seem to matter very much. For example, if you go to the gym three times in one week, your body is not going to be much different by the end of that week.

Because of this, we make a few changes, but the results never seem to come quickly enough and so we can slide back into our previous routines. A slight consistent change in our daily habits can guide our life to a very different destination.

Can you think of any habits you have? Try to think of at least three good habits and two bad habits. Discuss with your mentor now, then write them down.


Habits are a double edged sword and bad habits can cut you down just as easily as good habits can build you up!

The Habit Loop:
Breaking habits down into four fundamental steps can help us understand what a habit is, how it works and how to improve it:

The Cue:
Our habits are triggered by cues in our environment. Cues can take many forms: A time of day, an emotional state, or seeing a particular person. The cue puts our automatic habit loop into motion.

The motivational force behind the habit. Once the habit loop has been started, we automatically begin to expect and crave the release or satisfaction that our habit gives us.

The actual habit you perform which can take the form of a thought or an action.

The end goal of every habit. The reward is the reason the brain decides the previous steps are worth remembering for the future.

The reward provides positive reinforcement for the behaviour and causes us to crave the same reward again and repeat the habit cycle.

Choose one bad habit and one good habit and apply them to the habit loop to break them down.

It can help to think back to when you started the habit and consider what the reward was at that point.


Once you’ve broken your habit down and identified the cue, craving, and reward involved, you’re set up to start making changes.

Remember, the habit loop happens automatically and the cravings are going to occur. The important thing is to recognise your cues and cravings and have a plan in place. Is there something else you could do to satisfy the craving or break the routine?


Small Changes, Big Impact
When we want to make changes in our life, whether it’s in our habits, routine, or otherwise, it’s important to make changes we can keep up.

When we try to make big changes, we can struggle to keep consistent and slide back into our old ways. This can make us reluctant to try again in future and make us believe that we can’t change.

💡 Improving yourself by 1 percent per day isn’t always noticeable straight away, but it can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run. Small changes are easier to keep up and lead to good habits that last.

Think back to week 1 when you explored the goals you wish to achieve. Do your habits support you towards your goals? Do your habits enhance the likelihood that you will achieve your goals? Have a quick chat with your mentor.


To make the most out of Small Changes, Big Impact, we need to plan our changes ahead of time. To do this, we need to be able to identify which habits and activities make us feel better and which ones make us feel worse.

That way when we find ourselves tempted to do something that we know will make us feel worse in the long run, we have an alternative option pre-prepared that will make us feel better.

Remember the Vicious Cycle? How we respond to negative events, thoughts or feelings can have an impact on our behavioural responses. Take this example from Charlotte:

“When feeling sad, down and hopeless and the way I have been feeling has been bothering me, I find myself going to my room where I close the door and lie on my bed. In doing this, I just repeatedly think a lot and usually feel worse.”

Rather than going to her bedroom and letting problematic thinking take over, Charlotte could try using a distraction technique or engaging in an activity that makes her feel better such as taking her dog Pablo for a walk around her favourite park.

Can you think of any activities you engage in that make you feel worse in the long run?
Which activities make you feel better?


Being mindful about what makes us feel worse and what makes us feel better is a great way of taking control of how low, worried and stressed we feel. If we can engage in more of what makes us feel better and avoid what makes us feel worse, we will naturally feel a lot more uplifted, optimistic, calm and confident.

Problem Solving Solutions
CBT can help us to think differently about our situation and understand the patterns of our thoughts, feelings and actions. Despite this, life can still cause us to suffer and things happen to us which are not a consequence of negative thinking.

There is a difference between problems we can solve and ones we can’t solve.

It is very easy to become overwhelmed by problems that we are having. Sometimes working through our problems can be a very simple and helpful technique to make us feel better.

Problem Solving Solutions consist of 5 stages we can follow:

Stage 1: Break problems or stressful tasks down into more manageable parts.

Stage 2: Write down / mind-map to understand and work out solutions. Get the problem out of your head and down on paper so you can see it more clearly!

Stage 3: Pros and cons of solutions. Are they achievable and will they lead to a satisfactory outcome?

Stage 4: What do you need to achieve this? How long will it take? Do you need help?

Stage 5: Review how it went. Were there difficulties? Was it successful?

If further work is required, repeat step 4 with other steps in order to achieve your aim. If you are still struggling with your problem, perhaps look at other solutions you could investigate in step 3.

Now, to put this into action. First of all, what is a problem you have recently experienced?

Write it in your booklet and click through the next five steps to complete the rest of the exercise.

Stage 1: Break down the problem or task into smaller more manageable parts
Can you be more specific about the issue? Is there one main problem or several separate problems that will need to be addressed?

Stage 2: Write down or mind-map to understand and work out solutions.
When we think about our problems, it can be difficult to keep track of everything going on and our perceptions can become distorted. Writing down our issues helps us to reflect much more clearly on problems and makes them seem manageable, even when there’s a lot going on.

As you start to write down the issue(s), it’s likely possible solutions will start coming to mind as you go. The more detailed you can be about the problem, the more solutions will come to mind.

Stage 3: Pros and cons of solutions. Are these achievable and will they lead to a satisfactory outcome?
Try to be as realistic as you can. Are you asking too much of yourself? Are your solutions going to lead to the outcome you want?

Stage 4: What do you need to achieve this? How long will it take? Do you need help?
This stage is all about being specific and thinking about the practicalities. Try to identify exactly what and who you need involved to carry out your solution.

Stage 5: Review how it went. Were there difficulties? Was it successful?
If the problem still persists or new problems have arisen, you can always go back to review step 4 or start the process again.

Session Summary

This week we covered the importance of habits and how they can have a huge effect on the quality of our life. We looked at how making small changes to our life can create a big impact on our overall experiences and wellbeing. We touched on problem solving solutions and how we can break problems down to make them more manageable. Finally we focused a little on goal setting.

Mini Mindfulness


Activity Planning - make time for an activity which makes you feel better.

Practice using the problem-solving solutions five stage method we have covered in this session to at least one problem you face this week.

What are you grateful for? 🙏
Write this down now.

❤️ Everyday, I can grow by at least 1%. I am committed to making the person I am today an improvement of who I was yesterday.