How to break habitual thinking patterns for continued success?

Are you somebody who wants to think out of the box? OR somebody who wants to excel in your job? OR somebody who wants to experience growth? If you answered yes to the above questions, then this article is for you. As we all know, our minds get thirty thousand to eighty thousand thoughts in a day. And thought is the only beginning to everything in our life & on this planet. Despite getting so many thoughts, we often remain stuck in our day-to-day problems & almost never really get the way out. Have you ever thought about why that happens? Because our mind gets habituated to these thirty to eighty thousand thoughts in a day. And these thoughts keep getting repeated every single day.

Have you ever observed that our mind never thinks out of a certain thinking pattern that we are habituated to? Why? When our thoughts are the starting point of everything in our life, then why do we keep getting the same thoughts, feelings & emotions every single day. Because 80–90% of our thoughts come from our family, friends, immediate environment, society & what we see, hear or read on the TV, phone, radio, etc. Hence, whatever these sources bring to our table we consciously or unconsciously accept them as our thoughts & that becomes our reality. This is the reason why we are unable to think out of a box or unable to think any new thoughts. And therefore, our lives too remain the same as we have the same cycle of thoughts & feelings & emotions. Remember, it’s a cycle. And till the time we don’t break this cycle everything will always remain the same. So, does this mean that we remain slaves to our thinking patterns & the emotions it generates? Does this mean we can’t break it no matter what?

Absolutely not! We can break this cycle of thoughts & emotions. There are only four ways that I have figured out which enables us to nudge or push our mind to think something new:

  1. Learning a new skill — Our brain is composed of billions of neurons & when we learn a new skill our physical changes as well as we feel the change in our mind & personality. Learning new skills is like changing your brain to adjust to the new information & then implementing it then & there. For example — If you just started learning taekwondo, your brain will feel uncomfortable with it for the first few days as it’s readjusting to not just the new information but also on how you practice it with your body. The neurons in your brain start to change & when you repeat it for the first seven to ten days, the neurons in your brain start making new connections & which impacts your body as well. By doing something new, our habitual thought pattern starts to change & a new set of thought patterns starts to form. It’s an excellent way of expanding our mind to think new thoughts & break habitual thinking patterns.
  2. Traveling or Changing places — I am sure many of you who are avid travelers will agree with it. When we travel to new places or change homes frequently, our minds expand tremendously. By being in a new environment, our usual thought patterns take a back seat & some new thoughts get triggered which in turn expands our thinking horizons & puts a break to our usual thought pattern. It may also act as a trigger to bring something creative out of us or push us to think about new possibilities & new inventions as well.
  3. Doing something that either pushes you or challenges you — Often we keep our fears & hesitations very close to our hearts. We imagine what’ll happen if we do this or if we do that & immediately, we can feel scared & start imagining worse things happening to us or we are getting hurt again. But the truth is, real change happens in our mind when we do something which is challenging for us not just a little bit but should be way out of our comfort zone. If we can practice something like this at least once a quarter, then in just one year we’ll achieve another level of transformation. It’s one of the best ways to not just break our usual thinking patterns but get rid of our fears & preconceived notions. When we practice it on a regular basis, our personality witnesses a lasting change & that change can set us up for much greater success in every area of our life.
  4. Being curious & asking more questions — By now, you must have understood that thinking out of our usual thought patterns is not that easy. It requires you to push yourself & be willing to go & explore unknown places. You see, thinking out of our usual ways is like testing yourself time & again. It requires courage & self-awareness. Questioning is another way of increasing & honing our thinking skills & quality. But you must know where you’re putting this extremely valuable skill to use. By asking questions I don’t mean you should only ask others a question. Neither should it be practiced to demean or disrespect somebody. But you first must learn to ask a question to yourself & your beliefs. And here, self-awareness comes into play. You must question your thoughts, habits, emotions & feelings every single day. If you can do that, you can easily solve any problem in the whole world. Also, it’s one of the most important skills in today’s world. I’d say it’s a must-have & it can truly transform you. Simply schedule some time on your calendar to observe or question your own thoughts so they can truly transform you.

Hope you guys found this article of some use. I truly wish & hope that you try at least one activity out of these & experience the change yourself. Your quality of thinking is the best skill you can have in this world. To conclude, I’ll leave you with a quote of George Bernard Shaw to nudge you more into the direction of thinking:

‘Two percent of the people think,

Three percent of the people Think they think,

And ninety-five percent of the people would rather die than Think.’

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Tanvi Lega

Still discovering myelf. NLP Practitioner, writes about mind management, coaching, peak performance, health & just about anything which impacts our performance.