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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Gillis, LMHC

The Shift

As the clock displayed 11:59pm on December 31st.

Lisa closed her eyes and took a deep breath and made a wish for the new year.

"This time I will do something different", Lisa whispered within. She was ready for the New Year as it represented what she hoped would be a new start.

The past year was challenging and overwhelming. She felt as though she couldn't move beyond where she was. She thought perhaps it was the lack of planning on her part, or the execution that prevented her from moving beyond the same patterns. She was ready for a shift.

So that day she decided to write a vision board as she had done before. She recognize that some of the things she desired was on her vision board yet another year. However, this time she wrote out additional steps to take under each goal. She had finally taken the time be self-reflective on her current habits.

Although the time change wouldn't erase her habits. Lisa finally recognized that the story line each year seemed to repeat itself. The only thing that changed was the role of the characters. Lisa was in the same place at the end of each year and she needed a shift but needed to figure out how to stop the pattern of repetition.

The Pattern of Repetition

Many people often repeat patterns because human behavior is influenced by various factors, including past experiences, learned behaviors, cognitive biases, and emotional responses.

Learned Behaviors

Throughout life, individuals acquire learned behaviors and habits through conditioning and repetition. Learned behaviors can be influenced by childhood experiences, cultural norms, societal expectations, or significant events in a person's life.

Emotional Attachments

Emotions play a significant role in shaping human behavior. Positive emotions associated with certain patterns or behaviors can reinforce their repetition, even if they are not beneficial in the long term. People may continue engaging in patterns that evoke feelings of comfort, pleasure, or temporary relief from emotional distress, even if they are aware of the negative consequences. This can create the development of an attachment to familiarity and comfort. The individual will tend to gravitate towards what was familiar and comfortable, even if those patterns prove to be non-beneficial or unhealthy. These patterns can become deeply ingrained in their thought processes and actions. For many, the familiar patterns provide a sense of security and predictability, and breaking away from them can be challenging. As a result, our belief systems of thinking are developed.

Cognitive Biases

Cognitive biases are systematic patterns of thinking that can influence our judgments, decisions, and interpretations of information. These biases are a result of mental shortcuts and heuristics that our brains use to process information more efficiently. These become inherent tendencies in human thinking that lead to repeating patterns. Confirmation bias, for example, leads people to seek out information that confirms their existing beliefs or expectations, disregarding contradictory evidence. This can perpetuate patterns because individuals are unconsciously seeking validation for their preconceived notions.

The Shift

As we embark upon a new year, it's important to note that breaking repetitive patterns often requires conscious effort, self-reflection, and a willingness to embrace change. Recognizing patterns and understanding their underlying causes can be the first step toward breaking free from unhelpful or harmful behaviors and establishing new, healthier ones. Seeking support from therapists, coaches, or support groups can also provide valuable guidance and assistance in breaking patterns and fostering personal growth.

1 comment

1 comentário

06 de jun. de 2023

Thank you for this! This is a good reminder to myself and great information.

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