Self-Awareness 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
In this episode Willard discusses repetitive patterns, also referred to as habits. 90% of what we say, think and do is the same that we have said, thought and done the day before. What habits are you currently running that are not serving you? How can you consciously choose to create new patterns that will support you in becoming who you desire to be?
Today we’re going to talk about repetitive patterns, also referred to as habits.
Repetitive patterns or Habits; Those things that we do day in and day out, that most of the time we don't even think about.
It has been said that 90% of what we think, say, or do; we've done, said and thought the day before.
We are so conditioned to automatically running these patterns, that for us to come up with new ideas and new approaches to things, we first have to consciously be made aware of the patterns that we run in our lives, then actually make a conscious effort to "interrupt" those patterns.
Think about this for a moment. How many of you drive the same way to work every day? How many people do you know who go to the exact same restaurants? Maybe you follow the same ritual each morning for getting ready for work. Maybe you even eat the same foods every day?
Sometimes we do this consciously because we think it is the most effective way to get something done, and other times, it has just become a habit. At some point we consciously or unconsciously decided that it was the easiest way to do it. The question we need to as, is does this habit serve us?
Sometimes these repetitive patterns do serve us in living the life we desire. They act as “short cuts” that save us time and allow us to be more productive. As we embark on a journey of self awareness and personal development, we start running into repetitive patterns and habits that don't serve us becoming who we desire to be. The challenge for most people is that they are not even aware when this pattern is taking them away from their goal of who they desire to be.
Can you think of ONE repetitive habit that you run that does not serve you? Maybe it’s an unhealthy way that you deal with stress. Maybe it is an unhealthy way that you deal with conflicts in communication. Maybe it is something of how you manage your finances. When a stressful situation comes up maybe you go and smoke a cigarette. Maybe you over eat. Maybe you drink something you shouldn't drink or drink a larger quantity than is healthy for you.
Does this habit you run help you with the situation? Or is it just a pattern that you've gotten used to running?
For me there is a repetitive pattern of distraction that I ran for years. I would run that pattern any time I felt a fear of confrontation. The pattern was that when I felt that pressure, rather than face the responsibility of resolving the conflict, I would avoid dealing with the issue at all costs. As an example, I was in a business partnership several years ago and the partnership was failing. The business was struggling on all levels, and because I had conditioned myself over the years to avoid dealing with responsibility, when the issues would come up, rather than facing them, confronting them, dealing with them, and resolving them, I would find ways to distract myself so I didn’t have to deal with the fear.
That distraction could be as simple as watching television; it could be going to the movies when I should have been sitting at home working on a project. There are thousands of ways that I would just distract myself and I would even tell myself, “I'm doing this so I can get rid of the stress, so I can focus on the problem… later.”
The problem was, I never got around to focusing on the problem. The distraction allowed the problem to get bigger, and I just found more ways to distract myself. It was a downward, vicious cycle.
This was not a pattern that I conditioned consciously. I didn't say, “Okay, whenever a phone call comes up that I don't want to make, I'm going to do this thing over here so I don't have to deal with it.” It was just a “simple” habit that was created by avoiding that responsibility once in the past. Unconsciously, one time I ran the pattern of doing something to distract myself and at least in the “short-term” I didn't have to face that pain. So the next time that a similar situation came up, my unconscious retrieved the pattern that I had run before and said. “Let’s do “x” because when I did “x” I didn’t have to face that fear and this will let me escape that pain again.” Over time, as an unconscious solution for avoiding the pain, this became a repetitive pattern that would automatically run whenever I was facing a conflict. And it became easy to apply to any area in my life where I perceived potential pain.
What is one repetitive pattern that you're aware of? What is one habit that you're running that doesn’t doesn't serve you at all?
As you progress on this journey of self awareness, this journey of personal development; your “higher self” calls to you to seek these things out. It is a fundamental part of the journey to become more aware of what we are doing, and why we do it.
Repetitive patterns and habits are not always “bad” things. There are times that we create patterns; we create habits that serve us. Maybe it’s a habit of exercising. Maybe it’s a habit of answering your emails by a certain point in the day. Maybe it is a system that you have put into place to optimize a task.
But the majority of our habits have been unconsciously created and most of these habits have been formed to avoid some form of “perceived” pain. Think about this again, the statistic says that 90% of what we think, say and do is run repetitive patterns without even being aware of them. We do the same things that we did before, we approach life the same as we did the day before when a different approach may have dramatically improved our life.
The majority of people are not focused on creating new habits that will move them forward, even when they know that they “should” be making that conscious effort.
As an example: What's one thing, that you know you SHOULD be doing, even more than you know that you should be doing it; you know that beyond a doubt, if you did this thing every day for the next year, your life would be dramatically improved, and it would make a huge positive impact?
The question is, “Why aren't you doing it?”
I know for that me, one of the responses to that question used to be, “The reason I'm not doing it is because, it’s not me. I don't do those things.” Translation… it was outside of my comfort zone. I thought that other people could do it, but I would need to find my own way. A way that was “me”.
Well, you may have heard the old saying, “if you continue to do what you've always done, you will continue to get what you've always gotten.”
If you're looking to improve your relationship, improve your health, improve your finances, if you want to start your own business, or progress in the company you work for; there's a lot of things that you're going to have to do, that is not “you”.
Now, I don't mean that you should do things that are out of alignment with who you are in your core, that are out of line with your values. But you are going to have to step outside of your comfort zone. You're going to have to apply yourself in different ways, and do things that you never would have done before to get different results.
Most of us stay stuck where we are, because we're running repetitive patterns that prevent us from tapping into our full potential; and the majority of the time it was not because we decided to set things up for ourselves this way. It’s simply because running that pattern was easier than doing some of the things that we wanted to do.
Ask yourself: What's one thing that you can start doing today, that you can condition to become a habit that will serve you in becoming the person you desire to be?
Maybe you're working on losing weight. Maybe you're working on improving your communication skills. Maybe you're working on becoming a better photographer. Whatever it is that you are focusing on, what is your grandest vision of yourself? And what is one repetitive pattern, what is one habit that you need to incorporate that is going to help you achieve that goal?
I also need to say that there are going to be some habits that you're going to need to let go of to be able to incorporate that new pattern.
It's not an easy process, but it is possible. You have been conditioned over a long period of time to run that old repetitive pattern. That’s how it has become such a part of your unconscious operating system.
Years ago, I was studying the work of Stuart Wilde, and he offered an exercise that really helped me to consciously “break” repetitive patterns. The exercise was about becoming aware of what you do everyday, and make subtle shifts to do it differently. As an example, if you always brush your teeth with your right hand, start brushing with your left.
Notice what you do habitually, and start making a conscious choice to do things differently to get you out of those habits. If the first thing that you do when you get up in the morning is you go into the bathroom and you wash your face, then you brush your teeth... brush your teeth first, then wash your face.
These little shake ups, start interrupting those repetitive patterns that you're used to running and help you begin to recognize that its about choices. Make a choice every day to shake up a pattern that you have been running.
Also, identify the patterns that serve you and be open to improving them.
There are things in my life that I have “consciously” conditioned myself to do a very specific way. I know that when I do “A” plus “B” plus “C” (A+B+C), it is going to lead me to a very specific result. So I have conditioned certain repetitive patterns to allow me to be more effective.
One thing I constantly need to be aware of with these conditioned patterns is that I need to be open to changing them. As an example, I’ve noticed there are times where I have become so conditioned to doing a process in a certain way, that when someone offers me an insight that might help me improve it, I tend brush it off without even trying it because I've been doing it successfully this other way for years.
Open yourself to trying new things and refining your personal approach. Be open to incorporating new things into your patterns. This life is about constantly evolving and that will include changing the patterns that serve you as you go through life.
The point that I want to make in this video is that you need to become aware:
What are the repetitive patterns that you run that don't serve you? And how can you choose right now, to begin creating new patterns that will help you live the life that you desire?
I also want to mention that on our website that we have a detailed process in our self-help article section to help you create change. It’s a 21 step process that helps you get leverage on yourself, that gives you a plan on how to create change, how to create new habits.
I look forward to hearing some of the patterns you've discovered, that you wanted to let go of, and I really look forward to hearing what are some of the new patterns you've conditioned for yourself? I look forward to your feedback.
If you enjoyed this episode on Repetitive Patterns, choose another Episode you would like to watch from the list below:
Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: Establishing Personal Boundaries, It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode