Have you ever won­dered why it is so hard to break old habits and de­velop new ones? Do you find your­self re­peat­ing the same be­hav­iours and hav­ing dis­ap­point­ing out­comes? Caro­line Bold­er­stone looks at how you can flip the script and change for good. CON­SID­ERED AND CLEAR AC­TIONS ARE THE ONLY WAY TO BREAK PAT­TERNS AND CRE­ATE CHANGE.

As we leave one year be­hind and look to­wards the new one, we of­ten find our­selves with the best in­ten­tions, feel­ing to­tally com­mit­ted to new out­comes and re­sults. We take time to set our goals and truly de­sire to do bet­ter, do dif­fer­ently and achieve new stan­dards – only to find that af­ter a short pe­riod we have re­verted to the same old pat­terns and be­hav­iours. Repet­i­tive be­hav­iours are formed around the be­liefs and val­ues that we have on a con­scious and sub­con­scious level. We per­form these be­hav­iours due to the ex­pe­ri­ences we have had and the mean­ing we at­tach to those ex­pe­ri­ences. We then re­peat these be­hav­iours which form the pat­terns that drive our choices and de­ci­sions – for bet­ter and for worse.

The sim­ple truth is this: if you are not evolv­ing, you can only be re­volv­ing – con­stantly loop­ing and re­peat­ing neg­a­tive, lim­it­ing and un­ful­fill­ing be­hav­iours, there­fore strug­gling to see real and mean­ing­ful progress. To help set you free, the fol­low­ing frame­work in­cludes six sim­ple steps that you can start work­ing on right now.

1‘Where your fo­cus goes, en­ergy flows' What we fo­cus on ex­pands, of­ten to the ex­clu­sion of ev­ery­thing else. To the ex­tent you fo­cus on prob­lems, you will get prob­lems. To the ex­tent you fo­cus on so­lu­tions, you will get so­lu­tions. So the first step is to fo­cus on the right things! Ob­serve the pos­i­tive and em­pow­ered be­hav­iours you demon­strate, and con­sciously ac­knowl­edge for your­self the strength in the ef­fec­tive and use­ful pat­terns that work for you. This fo­cus cre­ates more pos­i­tive en­ergy, which will fuel you to con­tinue and cre­ate even more.

2Iden­tify and doc­u­ment the top three pat­terns that are cur­rently get­ting in your way, such as: Work­ing in a re­ac­tionary state rather than proac­tively Al­ways run­ning late for ap­point­ments Not meet­ing dead­lines Not ex­er­cis­ing even though you planned to Giv­ing up half­way through what­ever you're do­ing Stay­ing back late and get­ting burnt out

3Drill down into the causes of these pat­terns Ask your­self, ‘What has led to this?', ‘What is present when I be­have this way?', ‘Why is that the case?' Keep dig­ging and ask­ing again and again un­til you de­ter­mine what the root cause is. You may need to ask your­self nine or ten times to fi­nally dig deep enough to un­cover the trig­ger.

4Plan­ning for new ac­tions Now that you know the trig­ger of your top three pat­terns, sim­ply think through the ac­tions or steps that you will im­ple­ment to change the out­comes and be­hav­iours. Con­sid­ered and clear ac­tions are the only way to break pat­terns and cre­ate change.

5Go ‘on the record' Un­der­stand and ac­cept that some­times it's more dif­fi­cult to do these things alone. If you are truly com­mit­ted to break­ing these pat­terns and leav­ing them be­hind for good, con­sider go­ing on the record in a pub­lic way to strengthen your com­mit­ment to the re­sult. This may be by shar­ing your ac­tion plan with col­leagues, ask­ing for sup­port, doc­u­ment­ing the steps and pin­ning them up where oth­ers can see them.

6Find the mo­men­tum Repet­i­tive ac­tion de­liv­ers mo­men­tum – when you are in flow you can recog­nise the wins and the pos­i­tive out­comes. You gain con­fi­dence; you be­lieve in your­self. You ac­knowl­edge your abil­ity not only to de­cide how you want to live and work, but to de­sign and cre­ate how you be­have and achieve so that each day is closer to your ideal day.

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