I think it’s pretty common for people to feel stuck where they are. They have the same old thing that keeps happening over and over, and can’t understand why.
One of the things I’ve learned through experience and observation is that the things that keep coming up for us almost always represent an area where we need to learn and grow. The problem is that most people try to skip the learning stage and go straight to the growing, because they want to kick theair bad habits and break their bad cycles, but they either don’t want to, or don’t know how to look at things that keep happening and understand the cause.
Questions to ask yourself to clear old patterns
I use these questions as food for thought, or journaling prompts to help me get to the root of an issue I’m struggling with.
- Why does this happen?
- Can I prevent this from happening?
- If I can’t prevent this, how can I prepare for it?
- Are these things really true?
- What bad things could happen if my solution fails?
- What good things could come from this?
- What benefit do I get from holding onto this story?
How I cleared old patterns in my life
Recurring money issues
The first example that I cleared was a money pattern. Ian observed one day that any time we got any money in savings, or anytime we wanted to get ahead financially, we’d have a car repair that set us back or kept us from doing what we wanted to do. I thought about this, and he was really right. Knowing that every pattern has a cause, I realized that I needed to learn something from this cycle.
- Why do car repairs happen? Because we own a car.
- Can I prevent car repairs? Some car repairs, yes. Others, no.
- Since I can’t prevent this, how can I prepare for it? By putting money aside consistently ahead of time.
- What negative beliefs do I have around this? I can’t save money for car repairs, we’re too broke.
- Are these things really true? Not really. We can make money happen for car repairs when they’re an emergency, so it stands to reason we can set aside some money before it’s an emergency.
- What bad things could happen if my solution fails? I’ll be stuck in the same place I’m in, living paycheck to paycheck
- What good things could come from this? Car repairs won’t be an emergency, we can get ahead financially and get out of debt, and have money in savings!
- What benefit do I get from holding onto the negative story that car repairs always set me back whenever I’m trying to get ahead? I get to make myself a victim who isn’t responsible for my role in not preparing for something that isn’t unexpected – car repairs are just a fact of life when you own a car.
What these questions do is they get to the heart of the issue: the negative beliefs that hold you back from taking actions that could help you. It also identifies the cause of a problem.
I’ll give you one more example from my life, not money-related.
One of the struggles I’ve had with healthy eating is that I always feel like it’s not good enough, and I have to be “perfect” and do everything right, or I’m doomed to failure. The problem with that was that I was not only stuck in a cycle of perpetual perfectionism, but I also had tried multiple “diets” in my time and I’d really struggled. I felt like the diets were perfect, but I wasn’t good enough to follow them. I’d tried slow carb, low carb, grain-free, keto, vegan, calorie counting, and severe restricting and bingeing. I’d run the gambit with diets and I was finally fed up. I knew I needed to reset my brain and get rid of all the diet “clutter” all the other diet programs had left behind with each failed attempt. I just didn’t know how to reset.
- Why do I keep struggling with my weight? Because I don’t know how to make healthy eating fun – especially when I don’t even know what “healthy” is anymore with all these ideas about food floating around these days.
- Can I prevent this from happening? I can’t prevent being around diet culture and people who are dieting, so not really.
- If I can’t prevent this, how can I prepare for it? I can get the tools I need to fill those ideas with new, healthier ideas for my brain.
- Are the ideas that I have about what’s healthy really true? They can’t possibly all be true, despite the studies that seem to support every diet. So, I’ll go with what feels good when I eat it, and after I eat it.
- What bad things could happen if my solution fails? I will get fat and be unhealthy, which isn’t that different from where I am not
- What good things could come from this? I could get healthy, get rid of my constant food-driven anxiety, and be able to reach my health goals much easier!
- What benefit do I get from holding onto this story? I get to eat whatever I want because “I tried those diets and they didn’t work for me” which keeps me stuck. I honestly don’t want that anymore.
See how it works?
I’d love to hear how these have been helpful for you if you use them in your journal.