Recognizing The Patterns In Your Life

Do you find yourself caught in certain loops in life? Situations that keep happening which you can’t help but wonder “Not again!” or “Why me”? For most people, whenever something negative happens, their first instinct is to brush it off as just a one-off incident or to blame the environment. The second time it happens, they may still do the same. Third time, they may think it’s a coincidence, but it’s beginning to trigger some thought that there might be something in them that’s attracting these situations. Fourth, fifth, sixth time… soon, it becomes clear that this has become an established pattern.

Here are some common recurring, negative behaviors people deal with in their lives on a day-to-day basis. If any of the incidents below have happened to you at least five times, then it’s likely to be a pattern attributable to you:

  • Being late for appointments
  • Not meeting deadlines
  • Being absent-minded
  • Getting together with the wrong person, resulting in destructive relationships
  • Sleeping late; not being able to wake up early
  • Emotional eating
  • Not exercising even though you planned to
  • Getting into arguments or losing your temper
  • Giving up halfway through whatever you’re doing
  • Staying back late at work; getting burnt out

Some people’s response to these recurring behaviors is to exert external force to prevent the occurrence (i.e., through discipline). For example, if they are not exercising according to their regime, they will just whip themselves to stick to their exercise plan. If they are not sticking to their diet, they will discipline themselves to eat properly.

This usually works… for a short period of time.

The issue with this method is it requires continuous expenditure of your energy to keep up the results. As soon as the external force is removed, you start to revert to your natural habit pattern. In addition, by investing external energy to address a particular area, you are left with less energy to deal with other things in your life.

The reason why that happens is because patterns occur as a result of the internal, fundamental frameworks you live by. These frameworks refer to the inner beliefs and values you hold. To get rid of these repetitive behaviors, you need to look inward, examine what triggers them, uncover the underlying causes and resolve them at the root level.

The good thing is that since patterns are a result of our beliefs, we can get out of them by changing our beliefs. To do this, Start off by picking a pattern which you want to break out of. Then, list down the past five times when you were faced with it. Five is a decent sample size which lets us compare the incidents and spot similarities between those patterns. If you like, you can even list down 10 incidents just to be exhaustive! Now, list down as many factors as you can that led to each incident occurring. If you have a pattern of sleeping late, write down what the reason that led you to sleep late. Maybe you had work to do, you were talking on the phone with a friend, you had insomnia, etc. It may be possible that each incident has more than one trigger, so list out as many triggers as possible. As you delve into certain patterns, you will often find that their underlying causes are one and the same.

Thus, by dealing with that cause, you can get rid of many undesirable behaviors in your life in one fell swoop. Note that some patterns may be interlinked with others — for example, you may find that some causes can also be patterns themselves! Thus, it may not be easy to completely eradicate such patterns in one sitting. Focus on getting as much uncovered each time and progress from there. Subsequently you will come to a point where the root causes are properly addressed and the patterns are eradicated.