So much of our behavior was picked up by what we’ve learned along the way, or what we’ve been taught by others, but just because we’ve always done something one way, or those around us have, doesn’t mean it’s the best way for us today. Many of us can get stuck in the past and continue to practice behaviors that no longer suit us, or perhaps never did, because that’s the way we’ve learned how to do it. But, just as you can learn something, you can unlearn something and try something new, something that might work better for you, something that honors who you are today, or who you’re aspiring to be. So how do we break out of old patterns and start making new, healthier, ones?
First, recognize the patterns. Start paying attention to those times in your life when you feel things aren’t working or you’re not getting the desired result. Ask yourself what you could do differently. How you can make changes to get the result you’re looking for, or at least with the intention of it. Look for areas in your life where you find yourself saying things like; “this always happens to me,” or “people always treat me like,” or maybe “I never get to…,” start looking for the patterns and make a note of them, write them down, when they come up, think back to when you started noticing the patterns in your life, were they always there, did something change, did you change, but most importantly, how can you start to change those patterns?
Be accountable. It does us no good to talk about change, to have the intention of change, without taking action to make change happen in your life. Taking action also includes take responsibility for past actions that have gotten you to a place of dissatisfaction or dishonoring who you truly are. Own the actions of your past. This may seem like a negative thing, but in truth it’s positive, because you acknowledging the mistakes of your past to make better choices, positive choices, as you move forward. I am a firm believer in not faulting ourselves for things we never learned, or were taught from someone who may not have had the best teacher themselves, we can’t fault ourselves for not having the right tools, but we can fault ourselves for knowing we don’t have the right tools and continuing to use them anyway. If you need someone to back you up on your changes, tell a trusted friend what you’re setting out to do, sometimes just saying it to someone else will keep us accountable to ourselves and keep us working toward our goal.
Keep your emotions in check. I’ve said this many times, feelings aren’t facts, they can trick us, they can be from situations and relationships that are not a part of our present life, so watch what comes up when you start to make changes, because when we change our behaviors old feelings like to sneak up on us and throw fear our way to stop us from doing things differently, they may even tells us we can’t change, but we can, so watch for those emotions as they try to get in your way. Unchecked, they’ll pull you back to the original place you’re working to move on from. If you can identify where and why they’re coming up, you’re better able to navigate around them and be honest with yourself about your fears and feelings from the past. Fears are a good indicator that you are not living in the moment, you are living in the past.
Find the lessons in any situation. I always say, it isn’t, or wasn’t, bad if you learned something from it. When we find ourselves in a place we don’t want to be, there’s always a lesson there, and then it’s up to us to not find ourselves there again, but, for many of us, it typically takes more than one lesson to drive the point home, but it doesn’t have to. If something doesn’t go well, or end up the way you had intended, look for the lesson in that, learn what you can do differently the next time, and when the same situation comes up, and it will, look for the warning signs and navigate around it.
And lastly, when we consciously make an effort to make different choices things change, we change, and we start to make choices that are better for ourselves, choices that honor who we are today, and not the person of the past. We have a choice each and every day how we are going to engage with the world, how we are going to behave, react, how we are going to allow others to engage with us. That is all up to us, and no one else gets to dictate that except us. Turn off the “auto-response” of how you always have done things and ask yourself why, and if that way still is in line with who you are today.
Your day today doesn’t have to look like your yesterday, you have the power to change old ideas and patterns that no longer fit in line with who you are. Make different choices, make choices that honor you, and soon those choices will become your new normal. SLAY on.
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you often just do what you’ve always done, or what you’ve been taught, without asking yourself if those ways still suit you, or ever did? Do you often find that you’re not getting what you want, or the desired result from your choices or actions? Do you see patterns in your life where the same choices are causing you pain, disappointment or frustration? What can you do differently to change those outcomes? What behaviors do you recognize in yourself that no longer serve you? Make those changes SLAYER, just because you’ve always done something one way in the past doesn’t mean you have to continue to do it that way, unlearn what you’ve learned, and, learn something new, learn a new way, try new things, and find a way to find more self-love, honor and respect for yourself by making better choices for yourself.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you