I think it’s important to get to know yourself. Not just on a surface level but right down deep to the core.
Not just your likes and dislikes but your beliefs and why you do the things you do.
Something I’ve always focused on is behaviour. When you find yourself doing and saying things, feeling like you are making a choice to act a certain way if you take a step back you might come to realise that you’ve just been falling into a familiar habit loop over and over again.
That you’ve become so accustomed to your past behaviour that you turn to it whenever similar situations occur without actually considering if it’s the best way to respond.
What do you do when you find yourself experiencing the same situations over and over again.
No matter how much your life seems to change you find yourself going through the same old, same old.
Who’s to blame?
Why is it happening?
And most importantly, how do you break the cycle?
I’m going to have start researching more so I can make references but what I do know is that blaming yourself rarely helps.
You don’t need to blame anyone else either. Instead, just know that you can change things.
It happens because our brains get lazy, they love repeating patterns and loops even when they aren’t most beneficial. We handle situations however we know how and sometimes we don’t have the knowledge or tools to react in a way that will be helpful in the long run.
Before you know it, you’re finding yourself in the same situations and reacting similarly to how you first did. Nothing has changed aside from the fact that you’re now 6 years older.
Breaking the cycle starts with acknowledging your circumstances because like a popular song lyric states ‘you can’t fix what you can’t see’. When you find yourself in that familiar situation don’t go into autopilot and just do what you usually do because things will never change that way.
You have to be conscious and self aware enough that you can stop and ask yourself ‘What is the most helpful way for me to respond that will achieve my desired outcome?’
This will be a trial and error thing but the advice I can give is to remember that you have no control over anyone but yourself and when thinking of your desired outcome make it based on how you want to feel.
Often when we’re busy we’re overwhelmed and stressed. We find ourselves only hoping and wishing for things to slow down. We tell ourselves when I’m not so busy I’ll have more time for x, y and z.
And we believe it too. But I often find that the busier I am the better I am at balancing everything I have going on. Then as soon as things slow down I find myself much less productive with my time.
Being busy forces us to manage, it’s a sink or swim situation. We either manage or we don’t. But when we have more free time, the pressure is off, there are no obligations and much more freedom to choose.
So it’s easy for the habit of laziness to kick in. But it could just be because you need a break.
We all have them.
Cosy socks, worn out joggers and a stripy fleece (or maybe that’s just me).
I find that most people go back to old favourites be it an outfit combination, shoes, a book, movie, tv show, hairstyle, nail colour, a person or a place.
We do it because as people we are drawn to what we know. And perhaps we also have that bit ingrained in our brains that seeks safety. And what is safer than something you know, definitely not something you don’t know.
I was watching what is probably my favourite Australian TV recently ‘The secret life of us’. I could have watched something new, something I’d never seen before but instead I returned to an old favourite.
Granted there is no issue of safety here but I think it sort of proves that even though we don’t live the same way we used to, that bit of our brain that links safety/comfort with familiarity is still very much active.
It happens to the best of us and sometimes it’s what we need. Falling off-track serves as a necessary reminder of what we’ve learnt or how far we’ve come.
Noticing that your habits and practices have dissolved and been replaced by your former unhelpful ways is just a sign to get yourself back on track.
Perhaps it could have been triggered by something like stress, which effects many of us.
But the amazing thing I’ve learnt is that awareness is fundamental, if you were once ‘on track’ you can always get back on track.
Whatever triggered you to fall off-track it’ll be worth dealing with it or else you might find yourself getting off-track again and again.
My writing habit was born from journaling which explains why I write with such confidence.
I’m used to writing about my thoughts on life and things I’ve experienced, in fact I’m incredibly comfortable doing it.
Granted a blog is more open than a journal but the practice is the same.
It’s been more than a decade and since I first started journaling and more than 7 years since I started my first blog.
And looking back over 10 years, my writing has improved so much. I can’t promise I’m the best at it but I’m confident that I’m better than I used to be.
Best of all, it’s something I love to do.
It’s easy to get slack and fall off of all your useful practices. Often we don’t even notice until days or weeks have gone by and then you think to yourself, I can’t remember the last time I meditated.
Once you fall off it can be hard to get back on track. You might even start to get comfortable to the point where you stop keeping up with other habits too, like a domino effect.
Then you find yourself wishing you could sharpen up, wondering ‘How did I go from a consistent daily practice to feeling so detached from it that starting it up again doesn’t feel possible?’
What you need to do is raise the stakes, give yourself something to lose. Life has a way of working out that sometimes the stakes are raised without you and so you’re left with 2 choices (think Darwin), evolve or die.
Well more like keep up or fall behind.
Either way, the choice is yours.