If you’ve seen the movie “Groundhog Day” Bill Murray relives the same day over and over again. At first, he’s baffled, then angry and eventually he starts having a little fun with it as he realizes he can use the day to create whatever type of experience he wants and if it doesn’t turn out well, no big deal, he can try again tomorrow.
So many of us walk around with “Groundhog Day of the Mind”. With this firmly in place, we have the same thoughts which lead to the same emotions, the same behaviors which create the same responses…day after day. What I find so interesting about this is that we struggle to understand why things aren’t changing, why we’re still stuck with the same habits that are leading us to frustration, illness, and unhappiness.
What do I mean?
- Let’s say you’re frustrated with the way your body looks and feels. You may want to make changes but with the same thoughts leading to the same actions…you’re unlikely to make different choices that’ll lead to different results.
- Let’s say you’re frustrated with the lack of recognition, impact or income your job brings. You vent your frustrations to your coworkers and your family but with the same thoughts leading to the same actions…you’re unlikely to make different choices that’ll lead to a different and more rewarding career.
- Let’s say you’re frustrated with your relationship or desire to find a new relationship. You may want to make changes but you still have those same thoughts that lead to the same feelings which lead to the same beliefs, actions, and behaviors…leading to the same results.
See where I’m going with this?
Without awareness, some reflective intelligence and then some “pattern interrupt” to catch ourselves when we’re doing this, we’re reinforcing a well-worn path that unfortunately, doesn’t lead us to where we want to go.
So what can we do?
We can’t change anything we’re not aware of. So, the first step is awareness. This also requires an amount of reflective intelligence which involves that awareness of what we’re doing, along with clearly seeing how those thoughts and actions have created certain outcomes. It’s important to see it clearly in order to create different actions that’ll lead to a different result.
Once you see this all clearly, what can be helpful is a “pattern interrupt.” This can be a word or phrase serving as a reminder to stop the familiar thoughts from creating the predictable outcome you know so well. A phrase can be anything that resonates with you such as stop, pause, no, breathe, etc. It really doesn’t matter what you say to yourself as long as you stop the thought from gaining momentum.
Once you use your pattern interrupt, use a new and more empowering thought. Infuse it with emotion and let that gain momentum. Of course, it’ll feel uncomfortable at first but with repetition and consistency, if you commit to the pattern interrupt and a more positive and empowering response, it’ll eventually create new neural circuitry in your brain. This new circuitry will eventually become more charged than the old negative circuitry that kept those familiar thoughts engaged for so long. Over time, that new pattern becomes the new response and your new positive results will be your proof.
Be patient with yourself. Those old thoughts and patterns may have been there for decades and they’re so firmly in place, you barely know they’re there. Kind of like a fish doesn’t know it’s in water. But, even though it’s familiar, that doesn’t mean it’s working for you and it doesn’t mean you can’t change. It only means it’s familiar.
With some awareness, a pattern interrupt, a new empowering thought and a determination to create a new “track”, you’ll be leaving “Groundhog Day of the Mind” behind for something that serves you so much better.
Have you changed a thought pattern for something that’s bringing you a better result?