Interrupting and shifting patterns of thought and physical movement (a.k.a. habits) is difficult at first, but that’s not a negative thing at all. It’s a mechanism that serves me very well. After all, that means that when I have patterns of thought and movement that serve me well, it’s very difficult to interrupt and shift those patterns (habits) as well. I use my brain’s built-in mechanisms attachment to familiar thoughts and movements to my advantage. That’s why the act of practicing is such a valuable tool because practice is the process of programming my brain with new patterns (habits) until they are able to run on auto-pilot.
A new pattern is bound to feel awkward, but that’s only because it’s new. The more I practice a pattern, the more familiar it becomes to my brain…and my brain loves what’s familiar. Within a few weeks, my brain is comfortable with the new patterns (habits) I have taught it and I can let it run those patterns without having to think about it. We all do this. Every single thing you do without having to think about it is the product of practicing that same exact thing under those same exact conditions over and over. It’s just that most people aren’t aware of the mechanisms behind what they do on a daily basis.
A healthy brain is all we need. Beginning with interrupting, shifting, and creating one pattern at a time is what allowed me to create a general pattern of changing patterns itself…and that now makes it really easy for me to shift any habit. It’s extra awesome because it builds on itself. I hope this perspective will help you if you are struggling to shift habits that don’t serve you. Get a handle on one pattern at a time with patience and no judgment and I promise that this approach will serve you well :).
By: Michael Verdun