It's a Habit!

I have a confession.

I have spent the last several weeks avoiding what I know I need to do, to get my message out to the world.

What has been getting in the way? My old patterns of fear.

I assumed once you had worked through all those old patterns of thinking and behaviour, that they would be gone for good! But nope! I am discovering more and more about how very human we all are and how, while we can be working on ourselves to be better and change our patterns, that things can pop up in our life that trigger old habits and patterns.

And that's exactly what happened a few weeks ago. The old patterns that popped up were - old habits of procrastination, self-doubt and fear. It sounds crazy, but it's true. I have to own it and acknowledge them in order to move forward and also, because I do not want to be in pain anymore....and that's what was happening.

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I know for a fact that most people are always wanting to be better versions of themselves. I hear people around me say they wish they could think more positively, have more positive attitudes, be more disciplined, procrastinate less, worry less about what other people think, worry less in general, stress less etc!

And we desire these things and we want to be the best version of ourselves but we find it challenging.

Why? Because it IS challenging! It is challenging until it becomes a new pattern or habit of behaviour. It requires continuous, conscious thought and it is necessary to check in with what we are saying, thinking and doing.

I went through most of my life, completely unconscious of my patterns of behaviour. I wanted to change but didn't know how and just came to the conclusion that this was what I was like. But I have learned that we are made up of a series of habits. For example, how often have you heard someone say they are a procrastinator? I have said it and I have often heard many friends say it. But we are not procrastinators. We have a habit of procrastinating. We are in a negative habit loop and guess what?

Habits can be interrupted and changed!

 Each choice we make starts a behaviour that over time becomes a habit.

Every day, every moment we make choices. We choose what we say, do, feel, how we react and respond. We choose all of our behaviours. The more we choose the same behaviours, the more we repeat them, the more ingrained the habit loop becomes - regardless of whether the habit is positive or negative. We choose the pain of the negative behaviour! It makes us sound crazy but it's what we do.

 Old habits can be triggered and rise again.

We are human. We are not designed to be perfect and patterns are like the tides. They ebb and flow. They rise and fall. We work on them, work through them, become aware of them and change them. But there will be moments when they rise again and we have to learn to be okay with that. We have not failed and fallen back into old habits. Something has triggered the old habit and so we acknowledge it, love ourselves through it and be conscious and mindful of our thoughts and actions and movie towards interrupting the habit once more. 

 Learn to Lean In

Changing our patterns of behaviour can be challenging because it requires us to change what has been comfortable for a long time - even if it is not a positive habit. Things we do, or say, how we respond to situations all become habits of comfort and changing them requires us to be uncomfortable and sometimes downright vulnerable. But we all know change is required for growth so the only thing to do is to Lean In.

Lean into the fear of not knowing what is going to happen or how things are going to change.

Lean into the discomfort of having to be mindful of your thoughts and consciously change them and change how you respond or the action you take.

Lean into the pain you might feel in facing something you have been avoiding.

Be gentle and loving to yourself as you do. Growth is happening, learning is happening and it requires love and patience with yourself. 

Most of us are completely unaware of some of the habits that drive us. Some of the obvious ones we know and we talk about wanting to change on a regular basis but most are unconscious until they cause us enough pain!

So what do we do when they show up?

 Pain doesn't show up in our lives for no reason. It's a sign that something in our lives need to change.

Everything is connected. Whether we believe it or not, everything in life has a purpose - even if what is happening is a painful of joyfel event. Life is happening FOR us not TO us and we have total control over how we deal with it. Sometimes we have habits in our life that we know are not good habits or patterns of behaviour but we don't change them. We cimply get used to them. But there will come a time, when the habit starts to cause us pain. It could be physical or emotional pain. But when that moment comes, it is time to sit up and take notice and listen. It is at that point, we know that something has to change. The change is probably not going to be easy, it could be messy and painful and uncomfortable. But I promise you - it will far less painful than that negative habit!

Your emotional pain is showing up to tell you that something is out of whack with your system. It is there to tell you something needs to be addressed. It is demanding your attention. Don't run from your pain.

 Most of us want to avoid pain, and discipline or doing what needs to be done, is usually painful.

This is because it requires effort, action and vulnerability. It requires us to be consistent and conscious. It may also require us to be open to other people's judgement. People might question why you are doing something different to them. This is probably most people's biggest fear and yet...everyone feels it. What's the worst thing that could happen if you did what you needed to do and someone didn't like it? Probably nothing! Not everyone is going to understand what you are doing and we need to learn to be okay with that!

 We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. (Will Durant)

I love this quote! When we keep repeating the same habits and patterns of thought and behaviour, they become 'who we are'. We can choose to do what we do, think what we think. So...if you think about it carefully - we can consciously choose to be our highest self every time we show up for something or someone. We can consciously choose our best thoughts and our best behaviours and responses in each moment. When we do it again and again - then it becomes habit and a new pattern!  

Discipline is being able to force yourself to do something, in spite of how you feel, over and over until it becomes a habit.

 Don't avoid situations where you might make a mistake! 

Avoiding mistakes could be the biggest mistake of all! The activity you are avoiding the most is likely to hold your biggest opportunity . Patterns can be changed if only we did something different to what we normally do! Sometimes, that requires us to take a risk and step into the unknown! We are not always going to have the answers before we start. Just show up and give your best self. 

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It is so incredibly important to teach our little humans that just because we have always done something a particular way, does not mean that it has to stay that way and can not change! 

It is also important that WE understand that just because we see the same patterns of behaviour in our kids, that they are always going to be like that and that is just 'who they are'. Don't keep telling yourself or others - "Oh that's just what he is like! He does that all the time!" and think that it is true because that will be passed onto your kids and they will believe it too.

Patterns of behaviour can be changed! We are not stuck in them. We have control and so do our kids. Easy? Nope not always! Worth it? Yes! To become the best version of ourselves and for our kids to the same - absolutely worth the pain of changing the habit!

Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.

Stephen Covey

Until next week...have a fearless and fabulous week!

Clarissa xo

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