In order to solve problems you must learn how to break old patterns of thought and behavior. However, breaking habitual thinking isn’t easy. Reprogramming self-talk is the key. Learning how to do it is a life-skill that will pay dividends.
“Without changing our pattern of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems we created with our current patterns of thought.” — Albert Einstein
Most people want the world to be a better place for everyone, not just a few. If we want a better world, we need to change our thinking. To do this, we must overcome the critical mass of religious bias, commercialism, and greedy capitalism.
These are influential sources of negative programming that pollute our minds. We need to find ways to break old patterns of thought that are holding back progress.
“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” ― Albert Einstein
Patterns of Thoughts and Behavior
Not all patterns of thinking or habits are harmful. However, most good habits are learned, whereas most bad habits are coping skills we adopt to deal with something. It is often a way to handle stress, boredom, pain, or fear. Other times, it is simply a pattern which is caused by an addiction. The one thing they have in common is that they are a thought pattern which results in a behavior.
The hardest to deal with are addictive behaviors. If you have one, you know it. Addictions can’t be cured, but they can be dealt with if you have the right help. Don’t go it alone. Seek the appropriate professional help. If it is a harmful coping skill, then you can change it by reprogramming your self-talk. That is what we want to discuss here. This isn’t a substitute for the kind of treatment you need to handle an addiction. Some addiction counselors do use the technique we are going to discuss, but they use it along with other therapy and medication.
The Key to Reprogramming Self-Talk
Every positive change in society starts with the individual, which is why we promote inner work and self-development. These tools help us make positive changes and expand awareness. When awareness grows, so does our conscience. We need more people with a healthy conscience. Harmful actions begin as thoughts. So, everyone can change the world within their sphere of influence, starting with changing themselves. (1)
“In order to break harmful patterns of thought, we must first learn to observe our internal dialogue. But observing does not change anything. We must have a scale on which judge the merit of ideas. If an idea is harmful to yourself or others, it should be removed . Then we can begin reprogramming self-talk with positive thought scripts. When we learn how to break old patterns of thought and behavior, it gives us space gives us space for healthy thinking.” ― Guru Tua
Patterns of thinking are habitual thought scripts, and because they are habits, they are hard to break. The more we expose ourselves to advertising and propaganda, the more negative programming is solidified in our thinking. So, one of the first things we need to do after identifying harmful thinking is identify the source. Where did we get these negative ideas? Minimizing and eliminating the source can be difficult because the sources are often part of the pattern of behavior. Changing thought patterns can be uncomfortable, but the results are worth the effort. (2)
“Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. It takes an astronomical amount of pain and courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep running in the same familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.” ― Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us
How To Break Old Patterns of Thought And Behavior
“When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.” — Tuli Kupferberg
To create that better world we want, we must change the way we think. Before we start breaking things, we need to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy thoughts.
We need help to see these patterns because they are often deeply ingrained beliefs. We don’t like to walk on, yet alone dig up our sacred ground of beliefs. They are hard to observe unless we make a conscious effort and use the proper techniques. We cannot change what we cannot see. (3)
These habitual patterns are significant, as they are the default settings of awareness. As children, we fashion thought routines that become habitual. Our parents and our culture also help to form these patterns. These sources help to create the thought patterns and values of our worldview. The quality of these depends upon the messages you receive. Hopefully, this programming is positive and not harmful.
We are creatures born to explore. Exploring the unknown draws us to the Hero’s Journey, and it’s only natural for us to want to grow beyond the default settings. Intellectual and spiritual growth is possible when learn how to break old patterns of thought and behavior that are keeping us in cycles of unhealthy thinking.
“Either you must control your thoughts or the outside forces will control them and be warned that the outside forces usually consist of fears, worries, and doubts.” ― Maddy Malhotra, How to Build Self-Esteem and Be Confident: Overcome Fears, Break Habits, Be Successful and Happy
Personal and spiritual development give us the perspective we need to make positive changes. So, we need something to help us see them. Once we see them, we have the power to change and move beyond them. Here’s one exercise for changing thought patterns.
Reprogramming Self-Talk Starts with Observation
“The first step is learning to monitor your thoughts; to think about what you are thinking about.” ― Neale Donald Walsch
The following strategies are proven techniques to break the patterns and change your self-talk. Find a group or friend on the same mission and team up for support. The process is only four steps, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. (4)
1) Identify or find the negative scripts
2) Replace the harmful scripts
3) Reinforce the positive scripts
4) Avoid the Source of Negative Programming
The mind naturally resists change. So we must keep a focus on the goal. If you are like most people, you will fall back into old patterns. But, when you do, you will spot it and then take the proper action to correct it. Be patient and gentle with yourself, but also be persistent. Don’t give up. This kind of inner work benefits from working with a group or a partner.
1) Identify the harmful thought scripts
We recommend you use all three processes. If you do, you’ll see patterns of thought and value. Breaking old patterns of thought starts with finding them. These patterns will include things like values, bias, and prejudice. We don’t like to look at these. We need to find the harmful thought scripts that keep these stereotypes in place.
Write the words and phrases you hear yourself repeating inside your head. These are the words and phrases that reinforce and shape reality. If you find these harmful scripts are coming from an outside source, remove them. This programming comes from religious and political propaganda that is masquerading as news.
We hope you have the desire and courage to change those things which are harmful. However, sometimes people don’t understand that their religious prejudice is unhealthy and destructive. That is the first challenge to this exercise.
If you do decide to make some changes, you are ready to replace the negative with positive.
2) Replace the harmful scripts with positive ones
You can change your self-talk from negative to positive, affirming self-talk. Monitor your self-talk. When you observe harmful or destructive thoughts, stop. Instead, insert the positive words you WANT. The key is learning to catch yourself when you begin negative self-talk.
Insert and language into your self-talk to give you the result you desire. Write the words or phrases you want to use on sticky notes to see and remember the new expression. You can stick them in your car, on the refrigerator door, everywhere. Set up an hourly reminder on your smartphone with these desired replacement phrases.
3) Reinforce the desired change
When you catch yourself falling back into old patterns, stop yourself. Everyone falls back into old habits because they are habitual scripts. But, the more you become accustomed to this practice, the more aware of your self-talk you will become.
Positive scripts can help to break the patterns of negative thoughts, but you must be diligent.
When you finally see the words and the phrases of your internal dialogue, then you can decide what you want to change. If what you are saying to yourself is what you want more, reinforce it. It if not, change it. Reprogramming self-talk can change your life. .
To reinforce the change, use affirmations. These are the thought scripts that are the heart of the law of attraction. You can think of the right words, but your attitude is the fuel. A negative mindset will negate your positive comments. Don’t skip steps. Follow the process. Use affirmations last.
For instance, use a repeating positive mantra, like my words shape my reality, and I am creating _____.
4) Avoid Negative Programming
One last but important point here, you must avoid the sources of the negative programming. Otherwise, it will simply reinstall the old scripts. Five minutes of negative programming can rewrite all of your hard work.
So, be mindful of your exposure. Avoid anything that provides religious programming. If that means avoiding or limiting conversations with friends, then that’s a decision you’ll need to come to grips with after some thought. Breaking or saving a friendship with someone who supports the counterculture of far-right ideology is a difficult choice.
There are things you can do to expand your awareness and make yourself more resistant and resilient. Several other technologies can expand awareness and change the way we think. The ancient pioneers of spiritual exploration give us these tools to help us recognize how and what we believe. They show us how to move beyond the boundaries of belief.
Everyone needs to know how to break old patterns of thought and behavior. We know Spring cleaning and decluttering are positive behaviors that give us space for the things we value. It’s the same for the mind. Take the time to do some Spring cleaning of the unhealthy thought scripts that are holding you back.
Find and remove the patterns contain unhealthy biases and prejudice. You’ll be more inclined to do positive things. Don’t wait another day. Take steps to take your journey to a better level of health. It will take some serious inner work, but the results are worth it for you and everyone that is in your sphere of influence. Remember, breaking old patterns of thought is the key to making positive changes. It all starts with reprogramming self-talk.
(1) Your Best Life: Managing Negative Thoughts—The Choice is Yours, National Laboratory of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6554130/
(2) What Research Says About Breaking the Negative Thought Cycle, Education Week: https://www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-what-research-says-about-breaking-the-negative-thought-cycle/2021/03
(3) Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress, The Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950
(4) Evidence for Transdiagnostic Repetitive Negative Thinking and Its Association with Rumination, Worry, and Depression and Anxiety Symptoms: A Commonality Analysis, the National Laboratory of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6370308/