Early this year I did a short course on behavioural patterns, what I learnt was that 80% of the decisions we make are based on past experiences. When we are confronted with a situation for the first time a new pattern is created, after we follow the pattern a number of times, it becomes habit and our subconscious mind acts accordingly on our behalf. It’s a built in survival mechanism that we all adhere too.
The problem is, some of these deep engraved patterns we can do without. The good news is, we can change and program ourselves with new patterns, patterns that we are more in favour of.
For example, if you eat junk when you are stressed, because it calms you down, that’s a behavioural pattern. Stress is what triggers the pattern, your mind then sieves through your memory bank for the best solution, and uncovers the pattern you have always used when dealing with stress, and that’s to eat junk food. Unless you recognise and do something to break this pattern, junk food will always be your comforting answer.
There is always something that starts the pattern, and it can be something that you have no control over. As an example my other half thinks that every Friday he should let his hair down and drink a bottle of wine. Friday is the start of the pattern, but he cannot stop Friday form coming, it is out of his control. However he can program a new pattern that deals with that Friday feeling.
So your first step is to recognise any bad patterns you might have. The best way of doing this, is to allow the pattern to take it’s course, but with you fully aware and conscious of it happening, you’ll soon recognise the familiar pattern, and be able to identify what triggered it and how you dealt with it.
Next time the trigger emerges, you’ll be totally aware and realize a pattern is about to take place. Instead choose a different course of action that you know will bring about better results. This might feel uncomfortable to begin with, but after repeating it a number of times, it will become your new comfortable habit, you will have reprogrammed your old pattern for a new and better one, that will act subconsciously on your behalf anytime you are faced with that particular situation.
So now that you know how to identify and reprogram old patterns, here are some dieting tips to use going forward with this technique.
TV Snacks: If you enjoy a snack whiles watching TV, try to get into the habit of making it a healthy snack.
Eating Out: If when eating out, you leave your diet at home, try to make it a habit to be more health conscious and choose the healthier meals off the menu. If your regular restaurant does not serve any healthy meals, try changing restaurants.
Breakfast: If you usually skip breakfast, try to make it a habit to eat breakfast. You’ll kick start your metabolism and have a more energetic day.
Sleep: If you’re not getting enough sleep, make it a habit to go to bed a few hours earlier. You’ll find a healthier mind makes healthier decisions.
Developing these patterns isn’t going to be easy, but they will be worth it, and remember it will only be a matter of time before they become comfortable habits.
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