Syndicated post originally written for The Life OS, an interactive tool that helps with personal development
A recent study conducted by the University of Scranton found that 92 percent of people who set New Year’s goals fail by January 15th. This creates a chasm between where a person is now and where they want to be in the future. They can see the other side, but for whatever reason, they can’t seem to get there.
Picture yourself standing on the precipice of personal growth with two potential paths to take. One leads down a road you already know. It’s a cycle of repeated past actions that have led you to the present. The other is a road you’ve never traveled. It’s a path of new activities that send your future into the unknown.
One is fueled by recurring patterns of past failures and the other is driven by new patterns of future successes. Do you know which one is which? Can you see which patterns help you bridge the gap, cross the chasm, and increase your self-growth?
Your life is a matter of two pattern types. One set of patterns leads to continued failure and one set of patterns leads to the success you’ve always wanted. Overcoming your negative patterns and replacing them with positive ones is the key ingredient missing from your life.
Current Patterns of Failure
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Almost as if you’re trapped like Bill Murray’s character in the iconic movie Groundhog Day? Repeating the same actions and getting the same lackluster results.
The problem is your patterns. Specifically, your patterns of failure.
What are patterns of failure? These are life habits that aren’t serving you. They’re repeated actions that take you further away from your ideal future rather than closer to it.
People say that “whatever got you here today is probably not what’s going to get you to where you want to be in the future.” It’s true. However, humans fall into a trap where we believe that what we’ve done is what we should continue to do. We’re creatures of habit, and our instincts tell us that we should always choose certainty over uncertainty and comfort over any brief discomforts.
But what if what you’re doing results in repeated failure. Why would you keep doing it?
It’s not your fault, really. 95 percent of your patterns are driven by your subconscious. They’re actions that are anchored or imprinted to rituals given to you throughout your life.
If caffeine gives you anxiety and you want to quit drinking coffee, for example, but every time you sit down at your desk you crave a cup of jo, you know that your work desk is your anchor. It’s the trigger that’s causing you to want something that has a negative impact on your life.
So, dealing with the anchor and working to rectify the underlying problem is the only way you’ll be able to break your cycle of failure. And in order to do this, you’ll need to replace your negative patterns with a new set of positive ones.
Future Patterns of Success
What makes a pattern a failure isn’t the action itself but is rather the result of that action. Conversely, patterns of success are consistent actions that result in a movement toward your goals and the vision of your ideal future. Positive patterns lead to achievement and greater fulfillment in life.
Therefore, patterns of success are life patterns that serve you rather than work against you. They are daily habits that lead to positive progress. They are repeated actions that take the place of negative patterns and give your life greater meaning and help you with goal achievement.
Using our example above, if high levels of caffeine give you anxiety, then a positive pattern of success might be to replace your daily coffee habit with decaf coffee or tea with low levels of caffeine. This changes your ritual and results in a positive change rather than a negative one. Then, over time, as you set a daily intention to drink tea instead of coffee, your pattern changes from one of failure to one of success.
It’s as simple as that, in theory at least. Implementing patterns of success removes us from our old path and places us on a new path toward a positive and fulfilling life.
Putting it All Together
The key to replacing your negative patterns with your positive ones is all about leverage. What outcomes do you want in life? What does your ideal future look like? And then, what current habits or patterns are stopping you from getting there?
Look at the patterns that are causing the most stress and overall negativity. Seek out these points of leverage and change them, creating a domino effect of positivity. If you’re not eating healthy and exercising, for example, the answer might not be to focus on going to the gym and eating healthy but to instead focus on your sleep habits.
Let me explain.
A point of leverage is a pattern, that when changed, results in multiple wins. It’s a ritual that affects more than one area of your life.
So, changing your pattern of sleep causes you to wake up energetic with an alert mind that’s able to control your impulses. When it’s time to eat lunch, you’ll be more inclined to grab a salad rather than a burger. And then when it’s time to hit the gym, you don’t feel bloated and weighed down and are more willing to exercise. It’s a domino effect of success.
You see, one of the most critical areas to focus on when creating patterns of success is energy management. Our poor eating habits and lack of exercise, for example, are negative patterns that result in failures across multiple areas of our life.
Patterns of failure suck the life out of you. But at the other end of the spectrum, patterns of success invigorate you and expand your mental and physical capacity. Positive energy then grows exponentially and spills over into all areas of your life, counteracting the energy lost by your negative patterns.
Therefore, when you start to lose motivation and drive, add these positive energy renewal patterns to your life. Meditate for 15 minutes. Spend the morning reading a fiction novel. These patterns of success give you energy and help you mitigate the soul-sucking properties of your failure patterns.