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Self Coaching - The How

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Clouds III. Watercolor on paper. Discovery Bay, Hong Kong. April 2020.

How The CTFAR Model works

The CTFAR Model is used in coaching to help us develop awareness of our thinking, which is the first step towards change. For example, let’s say you are having a problem with procrastinating work. Your first model may look something like this:

C - Work project due in 3 days.

T - It might not get done perfectly.

F - Anxious

A - Procrastinate. Ruminate or worry about it. Avoid doing it. Beat up on myself for not doing it. Not actually doing the work.

R- Project still not done and I’m even more stressed about it. Less likely I’ll do a good job because I have even less time to do it well.

So you can decide you are okay with this - some people may prefer to work on tight deadlines and do better under pressure. In that case, you will have realized this is not a problem for you at all. Or you may decide that you don’t like this, and want to do something different. The choice is yours.

Give it a go

Self coaching takes some practice to learn, and it will take time. You can certainly choose to do a little or a lot. I would encourage you to focus on one area to begin with, ideally something that you really want to change, but is not so high stakes or emotionally charged. Like perhaps you’d like to exercise more, or eat less sugar.

Decide ahead of time that you are going to be okay with being confused and that it is okay to make mistakes. After all, you are learning to reprogram your own brain by yourself, a little at a time. It’s like teaching yourself a new language or new musical instrument. You can absolutely learn it yourself through practice and there are abundant free resources available to you on the internet.

Decide ahead of time that you are going to be okay with being confused and that it is okay to make mistakes.

Thought downloads

Start by setting aside 15-20 minutes each day to do thought downloads. For the first 5 minutes just start writing down the thoughts that are swimming about in your head at any given point. You will want to be focused on just dumping it all out. This works best when you are alone and undisturbed, away from your phone and other distractions or interruptions.

This step is about creating awareness. Some thoughts may be about things you need to do, or they may be just recounting what happened that day.. You’ll find that some thoughts may feel a bit more emotionally charged. Like “What was up with so-and-so? Why did they say that?” or “Why did I do that?” Some thoughts can just be words and not a full sentence. No need to edit, censor or judge.

Pick any one thought and run it through the CTFAR model. What do you feel when you think that thought (F)? When you feel that way what do you do or not do (A)? What result do you create for yourself (R)? Don’t worry about “getting it right.” The more you practice, the better you will get at this.

Just do it

Self coaching is not for everyone. Some people just aren’t into self-improvement, and others prefer not to delve too deeply into their thoughts. If you are pretty happy with your life right now, there may be no need to go any further.

But be onto yourself if you catch yourself thinking these kinds of thoughts: “I’ve got too much going on right now to take this on,” or “I’m so overwhelmed already.” There’s a really good chance that this work is exactly what you need to help you get on top of that overwhelm and busyness.

You can learn more about self coaching with The CTFAR Model by listening to the free podcast at The Life Coach School by Brooke Castillo. And you can get more free help working on specific topic areas like weight loss, money, social justice, etc by following other coaches trained in The Model,


Free podcast on how to apply principles of weight management through managing thoughts and emotions. Start here for roadmap for how to get the most out of her podcasts.

Learn more about life coaching through this free podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind and emotions

A refreshing approach to becoming aware of and transforming our unconscious social conditioning and critical self talk.

Money is one of those areas that we all have a lot of thoughts about. And yet it’s not a topic that we talk about much. Learn how to manage your money mindset and get practical tips on personal finances and investments.

Disclaimer: Dr Em Wong is certified life coach through The Life Coach School. Neither she nor IntegrityHealing have financial affiliation with any of the Resources listed above. Please note that these Resources are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to take the place of medical advice from licensed professionals. You are advised to seek consultation with health practitioners for your specific concerns or questions.

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