Mind The Gap
New Year, New You.
How many times did you hear those words since the beginning of 2019?
Over the years I have learned to recognize that the willingness to change things comes to me with no relation to what the calendar says, but rather according to how I feel at a specific moment. Recognizing patterns which don’t serve me, creating an intention to brake these patterns, and bringing new habits into my life are things that I am very curious about.
Our brain needs to rely on patterns in order to relieve strain and make quick decision without becoming overloaded by noise and reprocessing of information. In many ways, the knowledge we obtain and experience we gain are real assets for us.
So here is my question to you my friends. When do our knowledge and our experience become detrimental to us?
I believe that this might happen when we become too comfortable. When all we do is relying on our familiar patterns and habits without reevaluating ourselves regularly.
This is when we might start making the same mistake over and over again in certain situations.
Let me share with you a story about one such pattern which I managed to break recently.
Not too long ago, I realised that every time when I am concerned or worried, I go to the kitchen and I eat chocolate. A very high quality chocolate, but still, chocolate.
Now, chocolate, just like caffeine, is a stimulant, so possibly it was the last thing my body needed when I was anxious or concerned. It kicked up my heart rate and prolonged the stressful sensation for me. Once I made the connection between being stressed and eating chocolate and realised that it didn’t serve me in these instances, came the willingness for a change.
Identifying a bad pattern and wanting to change it are a good start. The difficult part is how to go about and implement the change? How do I create a new habit whereby when the next time a worry kicks in, rather than looking for a chocolate, I will act differently?
The answer is finding a "Gap Filler".
Gap Filler is something else which I could do when feeling stressed instead of eating chocolate. For me, the Gap Filler was a simple Mantra. An affirmation with intention. Words that I would say repeatedly to myself until the urge to go and get my chocolate disappeared. Feeling an urge to do something is very much like a thought. It can just pop up out of nowhere but it can also go away just as quickly.
For me, I was able to break my “Feeling Stressed –> Eating Chocolate” pattern by changing it slightly to a “Feeling Stressed –> Urge for Eating Chocolate –> Say My Mantra” pattern and, here I am, on the right path to brake a habit that doesn’t serve me at all.
So, the lesson of my little story is that we should always try to identify patterns in our lives and try to change those which do not serve us well anymore. If we can find a Gap Filler to help us manage the change, the chances of our success are likely to go up.
Enjoy January, keep yourself warm and find the little things which will make you smile, dance and be happy.