Repeating the Same Mistake?
Oops! Did you do it again? What makes us make the same mistake when we were
determined to make a change? Well-worn paths in our brain throw us into auto-pilot and only after we have completed the sequence of events do we regain control of the emotional wheel.
Many go through their day caring for children or in a monotonous job predominantly on auto-pilot. It is how you drive on long stretches of highway that you do not remember driving and it is how we eat that sugary wheat laden dessert, have that beer or smoke that cigarette that we had promised ourselves would not happen again. The disappointment is worse when a loved one was expecting you to resist a vice, like porn, strippers or affairs. When you let someone down they may cease to trust you in a far widening circle believing if you did that, then you might do THAT.
The key to changing behavior is to assume that you have a 99% chance of repeating the same behavior if you do not take extreme precaution. These patterns of behavior must have roots in lifesaving behavior from when we were developing from our earliest versions, because habits stick like glue.
First. Recognize the triggers. No matter how big our belly we are certain we can not live without a bowl of ice cream. We convince ourselves that our lungs are needing that one more cigarette. A series of little cues start big cycles. Pull out of the pattern at the little cues whenever you can.
Second. It is not the substance that must change, it is the self-talk. The little voice that says Stop or Go to all you do. That is with who you need to have the argument. Yell, "Lies" loudly when your rationalization starts to lead you down the wrong path.
Third. Distract that urge for ten minutes and you have disrupted the habit. Throw in thirty sit-ups or push-ups before any act that you are trying to change and see if it does not throw you off long enough to gain control of your urges.
Stay in charge of your life and put those habits to bed early. How ever many mistakes you make, now is a good time to try again.
Dr. Molly Barrow earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is a licensed mental health counselor and educator in private practice. She is the author of the Malia & Teacup children's books, Matchlines for Singles; and Step Parenting Essentials. Dr. Barrow is a relationship expert helping individuals, couples, families, and co-workers improve their relationships and communication skills. Her commentary and advice column, quotes, radio show, interviews, and articles are enjoyed worldwide in O Magazine, Psychology Today, MSM.com, Parenting, Morning Blend, Match.com, Progressive Radio Network and Women’s Health.