Let’s face it, we like habits. They create a sense of order, comfort and predictability. In the process of developing our habits, we also create patterns. Patterns are the habits that we do continuously. Sometimes it’s good to have a habit because it helps us remember things and it definitely makes life easier.
However, some actions do more harm than good. Those are the habits that work against us so it’s helpful to break free from these negative patterns as soon as possible. Why? These patterns can lead you down a destructive path and make life harder in the long run.
How do you break free from negative patterns?
These tips can help:
1.Recognize the habits that don’t work for you. The first step to take is to identify your negative patterns. Take a look at your health, relationships, work, surroundings and ask: What areas of life aren’t working the way I’d like them to? What needs to change?
- Perhaps you’ve taken some action and regretted it afterward. Or you don’t like how your body looks and feels. Maybe you don’t like how you’ve been responding to others. See if you can find out the reason behind this feeling.
- Make a list of all the areas of life that are working, and what areas need improvement.
The goal here is to find out what you don’t like as well as what you do like
2.Take responsibility. After identifying the habits that need to change, the next thing is to take full and complete responsibility for them. Blaming others gives away your power and does nothing to move you forward. Accepting full and complete responsibility is an important step in taking your power back.
- You can’t change anything if you keep blaming someone else. The best way to solve any kind of challenge is by taking responsibility for your actions or non-actions and making a plan of action that you can follow through with.
- Becoming accountable for your actions gives you the power to change your destiny. Don’t settle for “it’s ok”, “it’s fine” or something similar. Taking responsibility is the first step in making change happen.
3. Manage your emotions. Emotions are the driving force behind any action. They can move you forward or hold you back. Be mindful of the emotions that are taking you down an old slippery slope. Instead, process what you’re feeling and then choose emotions that move you toward what you want.
- Begin journaling around how you feel from day to day and why. Then ask questions like: “How could I feel better?” “What do I need?” If your emotions are working against you, how can you process them so they stop taking you down? Then, what’s one thing you can do to move you one step closer to a better feeling?
4. Look for the lessons in the situation. After you’ve identified an issue, do a debrief to see what worked, what didn’t and what could be done better. Maybe you took advantage of someone’s lack of understanding or took a shortcut that caused more harm than good.
- Perhaps you failed to think things through and now you’re facing the consequences from those actions. The point is to learn from our own mistakes and do better in the future.
- Once you see your actions clearly, what’s the lesson that can be learned from it? What would you do or say differently next time?
5.Take a different path. Before you act, play that action all the way out. Will you be glad, proud and happy that you did that? Or, would you be filled with regret and remorse? Would that action hurt someone or make their day? Playing out these scenarios can save you lots of pain and regret.
- If you’ve changed your mind about something you were going to do or say, and changed it for something you’re proud of, acknowledge yourself! We’re so good at letting ourselves know what we haven’t done well, yet often fail to congratulate ourselves on something positive. Acknowledge any forward thinking or action. It’s also how you build self-trust. If it’s something the old you wouldn’t have done but this new version of you did, it’s worth celebrating.
Making changes can be a challenging process, but once you do, you’ll be surprised at how those changes create positive outcomes in your life. Most importantly, you’ll be moving towards the health, life, relationships, lifestyle, finances and anything else that’s important to you.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute