Like Mental Magnets, Patterns Can Pull Us On or Off Track

Have you ever started a project all gung ho?  You go Rah! Rah! for a day or a week or a month, and as time goes by, your enthusiasm wanes and you find yourself focused on other stuff instead? Do you ever wonder why that happens? Do you let go of your new dreams and find yourself mired in the same old, same old? If you’ve been wondering why you lose motivation and what you can do about it, here are a few thoughts for you:

Most behavior is tied to beliefs, thoughts, and actions we’ve witnessed and/or repeated for ourselves many times since childhood. Over time, those thoughts, beliefs and actions become an automatic way of responding because they have been reinforced in our brains each time we repeat them. Patterns build up strength like a muscle; the more you work a belief, thought or behavior through your mind and body, the stronger it becomes. From infancy, the human mind has been cued to remember patterns. Patterns, by definition, are meant to be noticed and followed. In many ways, patterns create a base for speedy action and survival. Because they are efficient in some way for us (they get the same result over and over—even if its an undesired result), patterns  have staying power. Mental patterns automatically draw us, like a magnet, back to older ways of believing, thinking and acting. That’s why people get to feeling stuck in life and work.


Practice Mindfulness as a Pattern. Work on developing more awareness of your thoughts and feelings as they happen. Practice noticing them because when you aren’t aware of what’s going on inside your mind, it’s hard to change it.  That’s important because what’s happening inside your mind influences what you are doing outside in your world.

Perhaps you believe you could be crazy successful if you would just stay focused. Build that focus by consciously making an effort to tune into the thoughts, feelings and events that knock you off track. Begin noticing your feelings and your responses to them. When you catch yourself in a pattern such as procrastination or worry or fear or rebellion or a quick rise to anger, ask yourself what meaning that pattern holds for you? What story is lurking in your mind that makes you respond almost without thinking. What are you believing about what’s happening that locks you into an automatic response?

Remember—a pattern is an automatic response triggered beneath conscious awareness based on thoughts, beliefs, experiences and learning you’ve taken in along the way. As you become more mindful of what’s lurking behind your patterns, you can take steps to change them. As you do, remember to celebrate each little step along the way, even if it only gets you a little way toward your goal. Rewards (and a clear vision) strengthen and prolong motivation.

Take a Moment Now to Get Really Clear on What’s  Important to You. What do you really want to accomplish?  Consider why you want that and how important it is to you.

Remind Yourself several times a day, of why you want it and what you will do to make it happen. Reminders can take the form of sticky notes, letters to yourself in a journal, a prayer you repeat, or a mantra.

Talk About It as You Do It. Tell a friend, family member, or business associate the goal you’ve set and ask him/her to periodically check on how you’re progressing. Talking about your goal puts the world on notice that your plan is in the birthing process and your desire will soon become real in this world. It’s also a way of keeping you accountable and on track for making that happen.

Get going now while you feel motivated! (You took the time to read this article for a reason. What was that?) What do you want most in your life? Why is it so important to you? What do you need to do to make it real? How will you stay committed and on track? Sign up below for our BoldHeart Newsletter, and we’ll send you our Bold Heart Action Planning Guide. Yours for free! We think you’ll love it.



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Host Donna Anselmo established this talk radio show in 2009 to help business leaders, professionals, job seekers and the community enjoy more success and satisfaction in life and work. In 2014, the show transitioned to a one-hour format that typically features guest experts, success tips, marketing moments and book recommendations.

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