Have you ever wondered why you do something over and over again knowing that it’s not the best decision for you, but you try again hoping for a different outcome?
Yup, me too.
It’s the definition of insanity, doing something over and over again expecting a different result.
And this, my friend, is what keeps us stuck in pattern loops, or we can also say habit loops.
Insanity… Stop the Insanity!
We all have familiar pattern loops, and thank goodness! Our brain was designed to survive, and therefore, it creates memory loops to stay efficient. Can you imagine if we didn’t have pattern loops? We would struggle to eat with a spoon, ride a bicycle, drive a car, or brush our teeth. We welcome the automatic loops. But what happens when they negatively affect us?
As you navigate through any negative behavior you’re trying to change, the desire may be there, yes. But as soon as the trigger or urge is too great, or you begin to feel bad, you give in to avoid a feeling you don’t prefer.
The old familiar habit loop kicks in and takes over. It’s as if all self control and desire are thrown out the window! So how does one change a habit loop?
Here are a few ways to disrupt the pattern:
- Be okay with not being okay. In other words, sit with the feelings of “not feeling good” for a few minutes. Now, this isn’t white-knuckling or being full of anxiety here. This is noticing how you feel. What words can you describe the emotion? Is it anger? Frustration? Boredom? Hunger? Disappointment? When you get honest with the feelings associated with your triggers, you can begin to disrupt them by NOT acting upon them. What you feed grows, what you starve dies.
- Use SABER – Say STOP out loud, Acknowledge your thinking and ask is it really true or could there be something else that is true? Next, BREATHE. When you take a few calming breaths, you will automatically move into a calmer state. Embrace that you’re doing good work by bringing awareness to how you’re feeling. Lastly, Redirect your thoughts to something that will serve you better, like going for a walk or calling a friend.
- Think it through. Whatever it is tempting you to do a particular behavior, think through the decision before acting. Just by pausing to reflect before you act, you’re one step ahead of the game.
There is more to disrupting behavior patterns and it does take practice, however, you can make significant gains in changing a habit loop when you apply the tools listed and just by having awareness. Too many times we move into autopilot – allowing our subconscious to take over and run the show.
If you’re ready to learn more about habit loops and associations, sign up for the FREE class this coming Monday, the 26th at 12 noon. I’ll be sharing my secrets and more. And get ready for the next Try Dry for 30, May edition. We begin May 1st!
With deliberate awareness, rest assured that you can stop the insanity and gain control over your negative habit loops. It takes time, and practice.