There is a saying, usually accredited to Albert Einstein, that describes the definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” However, humans are creatures of habit and whilst this may make sense to us on a conscious, rational level, in reality it can be much harder to escape old behaviours patterns.
Repeated mistakes may manifest themselves as a number of common issues including weight problems, alcohol misuse or destructive relationships. With some thought, planning and mindfulness it is possible to change these learned behaviours. Here’s how I help clients stop repeating the same mistakes.
We often prefer to deny when things go wrong or chalk it up to bad luck or fate. When you do this you take no responsibility for your own life and consequently lose all power for future change. Examine what happened carefully. What could you have done differently? What is it exactly about the outcome that you don’t like? By acknowledging mistakes in this way we turn them into learning opportunities.
Acknowledge What Works
When things go right ask yourself the same questions. Why did that go well for you and how did you contribute to the positive outcome? Repeating positive behaviours is just as important as avoiding negative ones.
So you know what went wrong and how your behaviour contributed to it. Next it’s time to ask what you’ll do differently next time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with this stage. We don’t always have all the answers – an outside perspective can really help.
None of us are completely mindful of our own behaviour all of the time. Practise being mindful of those moments or decisions that you usually make as habit. Are any of them contributing to your mistakes? Which can you change and how? If you’ve set yourself a new task or goal it may take a while to turn that new positive behaviour into a habit – practice makes perfect.
Some mistakes are caused by our own personal triggers. For example, do you always make unhealthy food choices when you’re tired? Or perhaps you often make poor communication choices when you’re under stress. Avoiding these triggers or setting up plans to cope with them in advance helps us avoid repeating old mistakes.
It’s not always easy to change ingrained behaviours but with self-focus and positivity it’s definitely possible. There may be setbacks but keep working at it. Simply being more mindful and asking yourself these questions will really help.
If you’d like help avoiding the same mistakes in future please do get in touch for a free consultation and we can discuss how I can help in more detail. My treatments make it much easier to start changing old behaviours and making new, more successful choices.