When it comes down to it, generating change is all about breaking patterns; breaking cognitive and behavioral patterns ingrained in your life that you’d never bothered replacing.. until now.
Let’s start with what it means to break patterns. Behavioral patterns are actions that happen in the same way over and over again. Enough so that you can predict what comes next. Cognitive patterns are also the same way. They’re thoughts you have over and over again in the same way. Our brains are quite efficient. It’ll find ways to conserve energy, and it does so quite effortlessly by shifting your life experience into autopilot (read: behavioral and cognitive patterns). If you want a life that’s fulfilling, you have to break these patterns, so that you’re in control, and not on autopilot.
On a behavioral level, you can break patterns in a number of so many different ways. You can approach it from a cognitive-behavioral approach, where you identify the antecedents and consequences of each behavior. You can also approach it from an NLP approach, where you learn to identify and replace unresourceful beliefs. Another great way to approach breaking behavioral patterns come from setting triggers/anchors to install positive and desired behaviors. It all depends on what your situation is, and what goal you’re after. I can write a whole book about behavioral approaches and to do it justice, I wouldn’t be able to squeeze it into one blog post (so more on this later!). Instead, let’s talk about where we can start today to break patterns.
Cognitive patterns – you know, the critical voice in your head, the limiting beliefs you may not be consciously aware of, and the stories you keep telling yourself about who you are and how life is – happen every day, more times than you can count. The fastest way to break cognitive patterns is to first, be aware of your critical voice, limiting beliefs, or your story you want to change. Then, identify your end goal. How do you want to talk to yourself, see the world, and what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? If you’re using negative words like, not or less, then you’re falling into a vicious cycle and pit. Instead of identifying what you don’t want, identify what you do want – otherwise, your brain will unconsciously look for more of the things you don’t want in your life.
The easiest way for me to explain the vicious cognitive cycle is neuroplasticity. Your brain is malleable. Your brains are made of billions of cells called neurons. These cells communicate with one another. Pathways are formed to help you create memories, opinions, thoughts. Neurons that wire together, fire together. In English, it means, the more you keep firing specific neuronal pathways, the more they’re likely to fire next time (remember when I said our brains are efficient? This is an example of this). So stop firing thoughts like, I’m too stupid.. I’m not interesting enough… I don’t have what it takes. Identify the unresourceful thoughts. Write them down – and then cross them out. Underneath the unresourceful thoughts, write down the thoughts you want to have. Fire more empowering thoughts and beliefs. This is where you come in. What are the beliefs you want to believe, and what kind of life do you want to have come to you so naturally that you forget what it was like to feel small and helpless in the first place?
I’d like to share a little story with you today. Once upon a time.. little Sam liked to walk through a forest. He always took the same path each time, because it was easy. But one day, he noticed a blue and red bird he’d never seen before. He wanted to get closer, as the bird’s song was quite unlike anything he’d heard before. As he followed the bird from branch to branch, listening under each tree, he realized he had never seen plants like the ones he was seeing today. Not on his routine path. As he took in the sights and sounds, he continued to follow the light and direction to reach the other end of the forest to his destination, but this time, his path was magical and left him in awe of life once again.
Contact Me if you’re ready to stop living small and want to begin your life transformation today.
You need to live YOUR life. No one else can, or ever will. Your life is your gift. Don’t waste it. #SingularPresence
Photo courtesy of @shan_mcinnes