WE USUALLY PROPOSE OURSELVES A CHANGE OF HABITS ON TWO SPECIFIC DATES: AT THE BEGINNING OF A NEW YEAR AND AFTER THE HOLIDAYS…
A few days ago, a manager with whom we have been working on changing her leadership style messaged me. This woman had unconsciously adopted a series of patterns, patterns that she identified as the only way, according to her beliefs, lead to success and recognition.
During working sessions, we analysed how, throughout her professional career, she had adopted a series of skills as a valid set of concepts that had little to do with her true existence. This way of functioning had been generating such incongruity between her ways of feeling and acting, that each time, it manifested itself in greater discomfort.
If what we do is incoherent with what we feel, that’s not something insignificant. Incoherence creates stress; and stress, a chemical in our bodies called cortisol. This repetitively segregated element, over time, ends up affecting our immune system and, consequently, diseases become present.
CHANGING BEHAVIOUR PATTERNS: A BRAVE ACT… AND A REBELLIOUS ONE!
Changing a pattern is a daunting task. In her email, my client told me that she had been able to identify the patterns she had “bought” throughout her professional career and that before her, an open door whose threshold she respected, had appeared. And changing the pattern means, in some way, stripping off our identity which was built layer by layer, with criteria chosen based on our restricted freedoms.
Crossing that threshold is to stop projecting the past over and over as our only way to create our future. It is to stop repeating actions and stored reactions in our unconsciousness and that are triggered without even requiring them. On the contrary, it is to add a new lane to our highway of life, it is to get out of the rut and trace a new path.
In fact, consciously changing a behaviour pattern is the most effective way to abandon an ordinary life and begin an extraordinary life, both in a professional or a personal environment. This, undoubtedly, requires determination and courage.
DECIDING TO CHANGE A BEHAVIOUR PATTERN IS BETTING ON OUR POTENTIAL
Joe Dispenza, in his book Supernatural: How common people are doing the uncommon, overwhelmingly affirms:
‘When our conduct matches our intentions, when our actions agree with our thoughts, when the mind and the body act together, when our words are coherent with our actions, there is an immense power behind us.’
Being coherent means abandoning our internal fight and recovering our wellbeing. And it also means to be a light or reference for people who surround us. This way, coherence activates a sort of magnet that attracts those who are involved with us. It’s pure physics, energy in vibration.
THE TWO BASIC ELEMENTS THAT CONDITION A CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR PATTERNS
Changing habits, abandoning a way of acting that we have repeated over a long period of time is not easy. But it is an affordable challenge if we have two key aspects in mind:
1. We can only change a pattern if we are ready to assume the consequences of change. It is what in neurolinguistic programming is called the ecology of chance. It references an internal progress that we can experience while facing challenges or objectives that we have set for ourselves. Thus, in certain circumstances, a part of us may disagree with modifying a habit. This triggers what we could call an internal “saboteur” that, in a subtle way, prevents us from successfully completing our purpose.
Let’s look at an example. Imagine that you are saturated from work. It’s clear that you need to delegate more to get rid of the workload, but every time you decide to distribute the tasks that you have been doing for a while, a thought of distrust haunts you: ‘I better do it. I could have finished it between the time I was counting and reviewing it’, or also ‘I’m not going to overcomplicate my life, I’ll just do it, that way I know for sure that the work will be done the way it should be and in a timely manner’.
This is clearly a control pattern, and changing it means, precisely, letting go of control. This has consequences that can be difficult for us to assume, such as being questioned, disappointed, displaced, and so on.
The interesting thing about this point is to consider what repercussions the modification of a pattern can have for me, and, necessarily, to answer this question with honesty. This will lead us to detect which aspects of my personal development I should work on. This way, and following our example, personal thoughts may appear regarding insecurity, low self-esteem, lack of empathy, etc.
Working on what has been detected is a necessary safe-conduct for the successful modification of a pattern.
2. Generating a pattern change implies creating a new neural network. That is, to establish new connections in our internal circuitry. In order to do this, we need to draw a new neural path that is as fast and automatic as the pattern we wish to abandon has been. And this process requires dedication and perseverance.
To make it more manageable, we can divide this process into three fundamental stages:
a) Analyse and recognise. It is about observing oneself. Analyse what type of behaviour we are repeating, and in what specific circumstances. It also consists of recognising the emotions that this behaviour harbours without judging or recriminating oneself.
b) Resign and redirect. This stage is crucial, it is the moment in which I make the decision to abandon the pattern that has been conditioning me. It is linked to point number 1 about accepting the consequences of any change. It is the moment in which we shift the focus of attention from an old pattern to a new possibility.
c) Create and repeat. This is the peak moment, the moment in which I begin to shape the new behaviour that I have chosen. It is a creative moment. Here, I like giving answers to powerful questions such as: How do I want to think from now on? How do I want others to see me? How do I want to act? How am I going to behave? How do I want to feel? What will my emotions be like?
Once the answers are structured, it is time to put them to practice, to shape a new pattern of behaviour. To recreate situations in the mind where I can put the new pattern to practice and repeat it as many times as necessary until reaching that precious sensation of familiarity. That is the moment where we are beginning to automate it.
And finally, the outcome arrives. Confident of my new ability, I begin testing it in real life. An ordinary situation where my old pattern was automatically reproduced becomes extraordinary since my performance already corresponds to a new pattern. It is consciously chosen and a shaped product of my determination.
Congratulations on being the scriptwriter of your reality!