We’ve all been there. You just reacted the same way you always do or maybe you dated that same person again even though you swore you never would.
Patterns affect almost every part of our lives. From how we make decisions right to the people we choose to be in our lives.
The thing about repeating patterns is you never grow or get a different outcome. And generally, we are trying to create different outcomes in our lives. I mean, hey, if you’re not…good for you but I am always trying to be the best version of myself. And part of that comes down to changing patters of behaviour.
So how does one even go about trying to change a pattern?
Step one: Recognize the pattern.
Let’s use the example of eating sweets at night. As you reach for the cookie or ice cream, recognize that you are in a pattern. This can apply to any pattern you want to change. Another example is interrupting. Let’s say you tend to interrupt people when they’re speaking. Notice when you do it.
Step two: Don’t judge yourself.
This is usually the hardest part. When you recognize yourself repeating a pattern (eating sweets at night or interrupting), don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t be harsh on yourself. Just notice the pattern and get ‘curious’. Curious about why you may be doing what you’re doing.
Step three: Write it down.
There is so much power of pen to paper. Write down the patterns you want to change and write down when you notice they occur. Then get ‘curious’ about why it’s happening and what may be prompting it. Write everything down about the pattern you’re trying to change….where do you think it comes from? When is the pattern most prevalent? What’s your reaction when you repeat it? What are the consequences?
Step four: Choose a different thought/act/pattern.
Replace the pattern with a new one. Rather than eating sweets at night, you drink a glass of water or tea instead. Rather than interrupting, you stay quiet until someone’s done talking. Maybe you practice really paying attention to what the person is saying. Write down what you want instead of the pattern you’re trying to change.
Step five: Repeat above as often as you need.
The reality is, the more you pay attention to your intention, it will eventually change. If your intention is to change a pattern, following the above will help you to change that pattern. But it takes time. A LOT OF TIME.
Patterns take time to establish and they take time to change so again, don’t be hard on yourself. Just continue to go through the steps until you see a change. And another word of advice, just choose one pattern at a time. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps.