We are not our thoughts. We are the "thinker" of our thoughts, those thousands of ideas that constantly enter and leave our minds. Similarly, we are not our behaviours. Experts agree though, that our thoughts have a profound effect on our feelings and that those feelings influence our words, as well as our actions. What is crucial in determining our quality of life, is the extent to which we have sharpened our awareness of the patterns that are so prevalent in our behaviour.
Our lives are made up of a pattern of repeated behaviours. From the time we learn to walk, talk and acquire other skills through practice and repetition, neural pathways are set and our brains draw on these whenever necessary. Human behaviour is genetically driven to be on high alert for any possible danger and we are wired to survive, by instinctively using one of the ever- present fight, flight or freeze responses.
"As you keep thinking the same thoughts, producing the same emotions and performing the same actions, you continue to live by the same experiences."
When we notice a change in our behaviour, it is helpful to examine our feelings. Our body often provides us with powerful clues.
"Patterns are powerful...they inspire burning questions." Once we recognize a pattern, we can begin by asking probing questions. The answers to these questions usually lead to a new discovery, a breakthrough, which opens up the possibility of finding an innovative way in which to change our behaviour.
"The ability to spot existing or emerging patterns is one of the most, if not the most, critical skill in decision making."
"The awareness of exactly what we are currently doing provides the opportunity for new choices and thus for change," says Tony Robbins.
Recently, I participated in Tony's 5 Day Ulimate Breakthrough Challenge. It was a prelude to his upcoming event, "Unleash The Power Within." His mantra throughout these 5 days was, "Change Your Story Change Your Life." I did just that and experienced an incredible breakthrough in my eating habits.
Furthermore, by applying two principles from James Clear's book, Atomic Habits, habit stacking and tracking my progress, I have greatly enhanced my progress towards my current goal.
For those of you who haven't read James's book, his four laws are as follows :
Make It Obvious; Make It Attractive; Make It Easy and Make It Satisfying.
Of course, none of these will work effectively without positive thoughts, a strong feeling of enthusiasm and steadfast action.
If you find yourself low on vitality, start with a good night's sleep, a healthy eating plan, drink sufficient water, choose a form of exercise that you enjoy and regularly have some fun. Spending time with people who energize you and make you laugh, is also helpful. Sometimes, asking for help from a professional, makes a huge difference. Be curious. Surprize yourself by trying something new.
"Left unconscious, these patterns can inhibit optimal performance because they are a generalized response rather than one carefully tailored to the current situation."
What if you were to begin observing yourself more closely? What if you were to pay closer attention to the words that you use? What patterns do you notice?
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