The Psychology Behind How to Break Bad Habits

Episode 01January 10, 2023

In this episode, Layla and I each share about the latest projects that we’ve been working on in the business that we have built together.

I imagine part of the reason our family turn heads is that we’re multiracial — I’m white, my partner is Black, and my children, in their words, are peanut butter. Not only is there an “exotic” factor, but studies have shown that mixed-race people, like my children, are generally perceived as more attractive.



Todd: So I’m here with Olga, who’s a health coach and a life coach. You’ve talked a lot about things we should do, but what about stopping doing things or breaking bad habits? That’s the hardest thing, right? What’s your advice for giving up sugar or alcohol or obsessive behavior, things like that?

Olga: Well, actually, I am not suggesting that people fight with themselves, and they avoid or break anything because that would constitute violence against yourself. I am a student of Marshall Rosenberg, who developed a nonviolent communication system. Instead of taking away the bad, you add something good. You find exciting, fun, new habits that will naturally substitute.

Todd: Okay, so for example, let’s say you watch too much TV, or you’re addicted to your smartphone. You would try to maybe play outside or do something like that.

Olga: Well, you can develop a lot of new habits and see what works for you. One of the things that I discovered for myself is that willpower is a very finite resource. We don’t have infinite amounts of willpower, so we need to use it very sparingly on short distances. It’s not for marathons. What I suggest, when you’re establishing a new habit that you feel is the right habit for you, you need to use a little bit of willpower to repeat it enough times. Usually, the magic number is 21 days.

Todd: Really? 21 days, why 21?

Olga: I have no idea, but this number keeps popping up from different traditions in East and West and also psychology. I saw in my own practice that it works.

Todd: Fascinating. Let’s say you want to give up sugar, or you want to give up smoking or something like that, a physical substance. Do you have any tips for that?

Olga: Yes. One of the easiest things to do is incorporate fermented foods that break up a chemical dependency on sugars, alcohol, and some other addictive substances. When I work with people who are recovering from any kind of addiction, they don’t have to be substance addicts, fermented foods help a lot.

Todd: Okay. Can you give some examples of fermented foods?

Olga: Absolutely. If you just chop up any kind of vegetable, let’s say it’s cabbage and carrot, you cut it up. You massage it with salt and some spices until its juice comes out. You press it down so all the vegetables are covered with their own juice. Three days later, you have perfect fermented sauerkraut.

Todd: Wow, that’s great. Could you just buy sauerkraut or vinegar or something like that? Would that work?

Olga: Well, unfortunately, it wouldn’t, because most of the krauts that you buy are pasteurized, which does not give you their pro-biotic activity. A lot of it is fake sauerkraut. What I mean by that, is if there was no bacterial activity and their taste comes from vinegar, you do not get this benefit.

Todd: Wow, that’s good to know. I think part of the problem though is even myself thinking, “Oh, I’m not going to cut up a bunch of cabbage and carrots and wait three days.” It seems like it’s too much work.

Olga: Well, it might be. Maybe you can visit a friend who is doing that, or if you have access to a farmer’s market or some natural organic stores, they may provide something that is not pasteurized and prepared the right way.

Todd: Oh, that’s a good idea. Okay, well, thanks a lot. That was some really good advice.

Olga: Very welcome.


Speakers & Guests

  • Kiyindou Yamakasi