Personal Development

Old Patterns Don't Have To Die Hard

Pam Thomas
Written by Pam Thomas

Have you ever found yourself gung ho about making a change only to have your efforts derailed by an old pattern? The old pattern of stopping mid-change.

Imagine wanting to make that change. You're really excited about whatever it is you're trying (i.e. change exercise/formula, new book, e-course) until the excitement and luster wears off. Enter old pattern of dropping your efforts like a hot potato.

limiting_beliefsExcitement is now replaced with frustration, feelings of failure, and questions like, "Why can't I seem to follow through ever?" "What's my problem?" "Why does this always happen?"

Because of the following reasons…

The old pattern, it's a habit.

Like with any habit you often do it without thinking, so you're unaware until after the fact.

To eliminate the old and replace it with the new, this requires two things; awareness and conscious, consistent action. Sounds like work, right? The truth is, it is work, but when you really want that change to happen, the "work" only lasts until the change becomes a new habit. Then it becomes automatic.

Focusing on too many changes at once.

I'm so guilty of this myself because I'm not very patient. I want results and I want them fast so I will try and make many changes at once to get the results I want.

If you're trying to do too many things at once, you run the risk of overwhelm and disappointment. Permanent change requires time and conscious, consistent action. Sorry to sound like a broken record here. That means picking one thing to focus on until you've got that one thing mastered. Once you have that one change down, then try adding something else to the mix.

Pay-off, baby.

Old patterns often have a payoff or you wouldn't hold on to them. Let me explain.

Let's say you really want to drop some excess weight. You begin eating better and drinking more water. You're about two weeks in and you start to notice some change in your body. Cool! And then enters the slice of pizza and another slice of pizza, and then maybe another slice of pizza.

With that last slice the negative naysayer in your head says, "See I told you couldn't do it. See! You don't have what it takes! You might as well stop now and go back to your old ways of eating because you'll never be able to drop the weight. Besides, it's too much work."

So what's the pay-off? Holding on to that limiting belief of "you're never going to be able to do it" protects you from failing. It keeps you from feeling any sort of disappointment.

The best way to kick the pay-off to the curb is to not quit on the change you are trying to make. OK, so you had more slices of pizza then you would have liked. Don't chuck your efforts out with the pizza box. Instead, cut yourself some slack and get back to what was working to create the change you were noticing.

It is also really helpful to shine a big, huge light on the pay-off for holding on to the old pattern. What's it "protecting" you from? What does holding on to it do for you?

The old pattern is known and comfortable.

Change is often scary and filled with unknowns. That's what makes it so scary.

What if the changes I make cause others not to like me?
I'm scared that once I make these changes I won't be able to sustain them.
What will happen if I make this change?

In order to move away from the known and comfortable, it helps to lean into the fear. For example, if you're afraid that others won't like you if I make a change ask yourself the following questions"¦

"What would happen if others stop liking me because of the change I'm making?"

"Then what will happen?"

"Then what will happen?"

Until you have completely exposed that fear for what it is, a fallacy that is trying to keep you from making the change.

Another exercise that works well is to ask the question, "What do I know to be the truth?"

For example, "What do I know to be the truth about people not liking me if I make this change?"

The truth is, this change will be good for me, and those who like/love me will continue liking/loving me. They are not surface level friends. They care about my well-being and they want me to be happy.

Just remember, you aren't alone when it comes to falling back into old patterns so don't give up. Try different things on for size and do reach out to people you can trust to support you in making the changes that you wish to make. Having support and accountability partners is always a huge help!

The bottom line; you have more control over these old patterns then they have over you. The choice is always yours.

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About the author

Pam Thomas

Pam Thomas

Pam Thomas, M.S., PCC, RMT  is a fear squasher, limiting belief buster, "not good enough" survivor (a.k.a certified coach and intuitive counselor). For more information on the services she provides, please visit her site or connect with her on Facebook