A few months ago, I wrote a mantra that now serves as a great reminder:
I release all that I allowed to hold me back. I embrace all of the possibilities, even those I do not yet fully comprehend. I am capable, courageous and strong. I am free to enter the next chapter fully liberated, open to all the possibilities, and I am on top of the mountain looking out over a field of wildflowers! Life is good.
I am sure we can all take a cursory look at our lives and see patterns that seem to play out time and again. I certainly can. I’ve chosen similar themes in relationships, work situations and thought patterns. We are creatures of habit, afterall. What if we chose to break a pattern? What if we named it or tweaked it, or better yet, replaced it?
One of the patterns in my life was to give up my power, both in work and personal relationships. Another pattern was to hold myself back. Because I am both creative and practical/pragmatic, I can comfortably say that I have a number of hang-ups. Perhaps listing them here is not the most productive use of cyber space, but I’ll share my big one in the form of a confession:
My name is Tracy and I am a recovering perfectionist.
As a person in recovery (from perfectionism), I can see that I have held my own self back. I have also created and shaped some of my ideas into amazing classes and workshops that are changing people’s lives. I’ve been able to make this progress because I chose to break negative patterns and re-program myself to think in positive terms.
In retrospect, I see that I started very simple. I started by giving myself permission to let go. I let go of expectations, began to identify and release negative thought patterns, and changed the way I viewed my life and where I found myself in that particular moment. I let go of my concern for how society might view me, and allowed myself to focus on myself. We all use the phrase “take care of yourself” but most of us rarely adhere to such a simple and necessary piece of advice. I love to tell people, “Secure your own oxygen mask first,” because if you are not breathing, you are not very useful, are you?
Do you want to change your life? Are you frustrated with where you are in your career, relationship(s), fitness regimen? How can you affect change without a complete life overhaul? You only need to work on one thing at a time, stay focused and positive, and keep your eye on the prize: making a real change and gaining forward momentum.
If you want to change negative and unproductive patterns, remember to take small, simple steps. Simplicity is key, and if you get caught-up in your perfectionist ways, or any other patterns that hold you back, you will likely feel frustrated and unsuccessful.
Follow these simple steps:
- Examine and Name Patterns – Identify where you are frustrated or unhappy. Find the pattern and name it (i.e. Choosing partners who make me feel badly about myself.) That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t over-think this. Avoid trying to analyze where it originated. Just find it, name it and move on (to Step 2).
- Recite a Mantra (Release & Re-program) – Write it out so you can see it and hold yourself accountable. Breathe deeply before and after you say it. Simplicity is key, so here’s an example, adapted and simplified from above: “I release all that I allowed to hold me back. I am open to all the possibilities.” Don’t get hung-up on the small details. Be broad if it’s too painful to delve into your psyche. Say it until you believe it deep down and it’s boring because you’ve outgrown it. This could take a few days, weeks, months or even longer (I used one of mine for about a year before I truly believed it)
- Build Momentum – Choose one thing to concentrate on. It could be anything: setting-aside 5 minutes for yourself every day, adding exercise to your life, starting a job search or switching from soda to water. Really, just the one thing. Work on it for a few days or a couple of weeks, then step back and observe. Note if your life feels or looks any different. Small changes can have an amazing ripple effect, so just choose one thing, commit to it, and watch yourself grow!
I wish you the best as you change your life, one pattern at a time. Believe in yourself, trust in the process, however difficult it may feel at the time, and know that every pattern you change will move you forward. Keep in mind that change can be small and gradual.
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.