AMA: Change your habits, change your life (for the better)

Catherine Dixon
Mar 4, 2018

Welcome to my AMA.

We can make a decision to change ourselves in a moment. To actually change takes time,  commitment and a successful strategy. I specialize in helping people positively change through identifying the habits that support them and the ones that don't.

Whether you are leading yourself, an organization, building a team, starting up a new business or part of a  new project: your attitude, self-care and self-development habits are the difference that makes a difference. Choose them wisely.

I have worked with thousands of people, led workshops, seminars and written extensively on the subject.

If you have a personal change in mind, ask me.

Catherine Dixon says:

This AMA will end Mar 5, 2018 10AM EST

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Questions and Answers about The Power of Habits. 

Mar 4, 10:08AM EST0

Why does it hurt so bad to break up with a first love?

Mar 3, 9:40AM EST0

Hi Olivia,

I am sorry if this has happened to you. Heartbreak is real and one of the most painful things we can experience.

The time we truly fall in love someone, however wonderful and life-affirming that can be, it involves personal surrender and vulnerability. When we really fall in love, we give us some concept of "control" because real love is not about control. When first love comes to an end, whether we choose it or not, there is a sense of loss, grief, and mourning and sometimes anger and resentment and jealousy.  It is a powerful cocktail of emotions. It shows the depth of our feeling and the power of the heart. 

Through break up with any love, first or otherwise, in my opinion, it is best to allow yourself to experience the feelings without censorship and finding enough time for yourself and enough support. Talking, journaling, reflecting - all these methods of healthy self-expression help us to heal. I do think it is best not to rush into another relationship too quickly before we have processed our feelings.  We need time to heal and to honour our feelings and emotions.

Last edited @ Mar 3, 3:47PM EST.
Mar 3, 1:40PM EST0

What advice would you give someone seeking to overcome codepency in a relationship?

Mar 2, 9:12PM EST0

Hello E. S. Wynn,

I have worked with many clients with relationship issues including narcissistic abuse and co-dependent patterns. That said, I don't define by labels, I don't diagnose people either. I work with the person in front of me on their terms and so my advice actually is kept to a minimum.

I am interested primarily in two things:  what they are currently experiencing and what they want to experience. Our work is all about creating the steps to bridge the gap. We focus on creating habits that empower and self-empowerment skills are just as necessary in a relationship as they are when we are not.

In co-dependent relationships, often a clear sense of self-identity is obliterated and there is a total enmeshment with “the other", often supported by a belief that life cannot be endured without a partner, whoever the partner is.

The areas we might work on are:

  • Reclaiming a sense of autonomous self
  • Self-awareness and self-reflection
  • Personal Values and Motivation
  • Self-care habits
  • Personal Goals and Relationship goals
  • Relating language and communication patterns
  • Having a sense of empowered-unity rather than co-dependence

Thanks for your question, a very good one and most important in these times where even relationships are commoditized and seen as status symbols of having "made it".

Last edited @ Mar 3, 3:48PM EST.
Mar 3, 11:02AM EST1
What is more important between discipline or good habits?
Mar 1, 7:24PM EST0

Hi Biamorais,

Interesting question.

A discipline is a commitment and a practice and a good habit is also a commitment and a practice. Sometimes people find the word discipline off-putting as it has connotations with sacrifice, hardship, and unpleasantness. Discipline can also be understood as a form of self-love and self-care to becoming a better and healthier person which benefits everyone in our life apart from ourselves. 

However, you relate to discipline, however, in the early stages of installing a new habit, a disciplined mindset will be absolutely necessary because the behaviour is still unlearnt and unfamiliar and it takes some time until our brain has wired a new pathway and made a new network. So I think that they to some extent are inextricably linked and when there is more of a "wanting to" instead of a "having to" attitude, the need to steel ourselves and have "discipline" becomes less of an issue.

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:26PM EST.
Mar 1, 8:38PM EST1
How long does it take a person to leave a bad habit?
Mar 1, 5:03PM EST0

Hi Lothric,

There is a common idea that it takes 21 days. That is not entirely accurate. 66 days is more likely and more. AA talks about the threshold 90 days and I think that is for good reason. So between 66 and 90 days and longer in some cases. It will also depend on so many personal factors so apart from the length of time, I encourage my clients to look for their own personal indicators and measure them day by day.

The more important decision, however, is to install a more supportive and healthier habit in place of the one that you are leaving.

Last edited @ Mar 3, 3:48PM EST.
Mar 1, 8:42PM EST0
What are the most common bad habits in society and how can they be solved?
Mar 1, 9:42AM EST0

Hello Behko,

I work with the individual and groups of people rather than society and if I answered for society it would be an opinion rather than a fact.

So, I will list some of the common bad habits I have encountered at the individual level:

The most common “bad habits" are the ones that don't support the individual's long-term well-being. Sometimes based on lifestyle and sometimes based on thinking patterns, emotional responses, and low self-worth.  These could be:

  • Neglecting the fundamentals: Sleep, movement, nutrition, rest and recovery, hydration.
  • Using substances and compulsive behaviour (shopping, gambling, food) to suppress what you need emotionally in your life and using them as a pain reliever
  • Lack of honest self-awareness
  • Automatic thinking (not being present)
  • Lack of empathy and awareness of others
  • Not having life goals and thinking that life "just happens" to you and that you have no agency in the results
  • Not being fully accountable for your actions and behaviours
  • Procrastination
  • Not prioritizing what is important
  • Not understanding your own values as a way of making decisions

Thanks for the question. 

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:28PM EST.
Mar 2, 10:49AM EST0
What do you usually talk about in workshops? How is your dynamics with people?
Mar 1, 8:42AM EST0

Hi WestHilldan,

My workshops have several titles ranging from:

  • Resilience 
  • Optimal Wellness
  • Building Effective Teams
  • Inclusive Leadership

They are all about the environment:

  • The inner environment: our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and values and our attitude
  • The outer environment: Our communities, our family, and the environment we work in.

We need to create healthy environments in both.

When we trust, value ourselves and feel included we usually feel engaged and empowered and the same goes for the wider environment. 

I talk about the role of stress and trauma and the impact it has on our long-term performance and effectiveness.

I talk about micro-habits and personal goals.

I have a very hands-on facilitative style with people.  I have been told I am warm, passionate dynamic and personable. I believe people learn more when they can be in control of what they want to learn and when they are interactive and not just passively listening (though there is a time and a place for that). I use exercises that appeal to and engage different learning styles, so I mix it up a bit. 

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:34PM EST.
Mar 3, 11:33AM EST0
What is the toughest thing about your job, and what makes it worth it?
Feb 28, 1:52AM EST0

Hi Michael,

What brilliant questions.

Tough things:

  • working with conscious and unconscious resistance that believes that everything is hopeless,
  • working with people with a fixed mindset not willing to look at themselves, and
  • working with deeply rooted self-sabotage patterns.

What makes it worth it?

  • seeing people shine and become excited by the possibilities opening up in their lives, 
  • seeing people step into their true, authentic power,
  • seeing people so much more alive and fulfilled because of their self-development decision to empower their lives.

That is why I continue, that is what brings me deep satisfaction.

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:38PM EST.
Mar 3, 11:43AM EST0
Do you do your sessions live, or is there a possibility for online sessions as well?
Feb 28, 1:37AM EST0

Yes, Maricar, I work on skype and zoom so there are possibilities for online sessions. 

Last edited @ Mar 3, 11:44AM EST.
Mar 1, 8:19PM EST0
How do your clients find out about you? Do you do any kind of promoting?
Feb 28, 1:06AM EST0

Hi Hinagy,

I have built my practice mainly through referrals and networking and it remains the main source of people coming to book sessions with me. I have also professionals (GPs) who have referred people to me. 

I do have a website and a LinkedIn account and I am starting to use Instagram. 

I have found that running workshops, group work, speaking engagements and attending conferences have also been useful in helping people understand how I can help them.

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:42PM EST.
Mar 1, 7:59PM EST0
How do you identify yourself as a professional? Are you a coach, a psychotherapist or something else?
Feb 27, 10:59PM EST0

Hi Tracey,

I call myself a wellness coach for simplicity though I am qualified in several therapeutic disciplines and practices. This includes being a clinical mindfulness teacher, cognitive hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner, acupuncturist, shiatsu therapist, chi kung teacher, HeartMath coach, EFT and TFT practitioner.  I am a professional coach and facilitator and those skills are very helpful to use with my other tools.  

I don't diagnose people though I have worked extensively with people who have medical and mental health conditions including several years within the NHS. 

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:45PM EST.
Mar 1, 8:08PM EST0
Do you have a formal education in this field? What are your qualifications?
Feb 27, 10:23PM EST0

Hello Flyinpine,

Thanks for the question.  I am qualified in several therapeutic disciplines and practices. This includes being a clinical mindfulness teacher, cognitive hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner, acupuncturist, shiatsu therapist, chi kung teacher, HeartMath coach, EFT and TFT practitioner.

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:48PM EST.
Mar 1, 8:10PM EST0
Do you work by yourself, or do you have a team?
Feb 27, 6:50PM EST0

I work by myself though I am a great believer in collaborations. I have worked successfully with other practitioners including a homeopath, a GP, and a nutritionist. When I work on events I usually work with a team of associates.

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:50PM EST.
Mar 1, 8:12PM EST0
When did you first choose this career path? What was your dream job when you were a kid?
Feb 27, 5:52PM EST0

Hi Lothric,

I started this career path in 1997 when I studied shiatsu and began practicing in 2001 at the end of my training.

There were quite a few things that fascinated me though I remember wanting to be a doctor when I was very small. My father was a dentist and my mother made me a little white coat, like his. He gave me old dentistry tools in a doctor's bag, a prescription pad and a toy stethoscope to wear around my neck!

Later in my teens, I thought about journalism. 

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:51PM EST.
Mar 1, 8:18PM EST0
Do you have a most memorable client you have worked with?
Feb 27, 5:23PM EST0

Hello Jov4EE

I worked with a Catholic Nun in her mid-70s. I had no idea until she told me what she did for a living! She was very open-minded and was very interested in energy healing and healing emotions.

I also worked with a survivor of the concentration camps. I will never forget seeing the tattoo on his arm. 

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:52PM EST.
Feb 27, 5:37PM EST0
How long have you been working in this field?
Feb 27, 4:39PM EST0

Hi Silvija,

Since 2001, when I qualified in Shiatsu. It takes three years to qualify which helped me transition from another career and into this one. 

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:53PM EST.
Feb 27, 4:47PM EST0

What kind of issues do you specialize in?

Feb 27, 4:26PM EST0

Hi Nkojic,

I specialize in:

  • Low self-worth
  • Feeling dis-empowered generally
  • Feeling disengaged from other people
  • Low energy, lethargy, and low mood
  • Crisis in career direction and life direction
  • Break down in intimate relationship/s
  • Relationship breakups and break-downs
  • Feeling that you are overwhelmed in life generally
  • Disliking one’s physical appearance and body image


Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:55PM EST.
Feb 27, 4:45PM EST0
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Feb 27, 3:52PM EST0

Hi Caroline,

There are three achievements that come to mind.

I founded a multi-practitioner wellness centre in West London some years ago. The vision was to have a dedicated place with skilled practitioners all helping people raise their energy levels. The acupuncturist worked with the hypnotherapist and nutritionist. The clients also practiced meditation, yoga and chi-kung and self-healing, with the emphasis on raising energy levels and awareness. It took a lot of work, negotiation, learning and caring, and was a collaborative effort.

I also wrote a holistic self-care programme for people in recovery. This was used in the NHS among other places and ended up being used by a few hundred people. I was asked to present my findings at several conferences.

I was part of a team that helped homeless people get back to work. It was a very high profile programme in London because it had support from many different people.  It taught me a lot about my assumptions. The programme was very successful in that most of the delegates found employment after participating in the programme.  

Last edited @ Mar 3, 2:58PM EST.
Feb 27, 4:29PM EST0
What does your work day look like?
Feb 27, 7:45AM EST0

Hi Ivana,

If I am working at an event, then it will be an early start.  So I pack up everything I need the night before and lay out my clothes. It saves so much time in the morning.

I start the morning by sitting up and “centering.”  A few minutes of peace and contemplation then I write up things that I need do to that day. I always have an intention for the day.

These days I need to be structured because there is usually a lot to think about and a lot to respond to.  I find the more organized and prepared I am, the more present I am to respond to what the day brings, and believe me, each one is very different.

I never really know what my delegates really want and how to engage them until I walk into the room and work with them. 

If I have one-to-one clients then I book them on the same day. That gives me a block of work. Clients can be in person or on Skype. I leave time between sessions to write up notes and prepare for the next person. These days I never see more than 4 people in a day.

I also do a lot of research and work on my own development, which involves reading, studying and talking to others. This is work too. I am currently studying to be a clinical supervisor with the National Council of Hypnotherapy and I am putting together my portfolio. I am also writing a new book.

Last edited @ Mar 3, 3:03PM EST.
Feb 27, 5:29PM EST0
What are the best habits to form that will make a world of difference in your life?
Feb 27, 1:23AM EST0

Ones that focus on self-empowerment, self-worth, and self-care. 

Mar 3, 1:49PM EST0
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