I woke up this morning with the thought of the word “insanity” in my head, no, not after watching the Shaun T infomercials, but after a conversation I had with a good friend about breaking out of personal patterns in my dating life.
I kept finding myself ending up in similar dating situations, and I was becoming frustrated with myself because I was not getting what I desired. I was finding that my actions in dating did not match up with my feelings and what I really wanted. In simpler terms, deep inside I was looking for a committed partnership but on the outside, I was acting like frivolous bachelor(ette).
It was no wonder all my dating relationships ended up in the same fashion. Thus, I decided that I was going to approach dating in a slower, steadier manner, quite the opposite of what I was accustomed. I knew that doing the same thing over and over again would just give me the same results, and if I wanted something different for myself, I needed to do something different.
The Definition of Insanity
As Albert Einstein is quoted in defining the term insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results “ I thought about this conversation and I began to think how the definition of insanity could also be applied to every aspect of our lives, not just dating.
Whether its comes to your career, your fitness goals, your family or your relationships, doing the same things over and over again will continue to give you the same results, over and over again.
If you are looking to make a change in your life, you must first change what you are doing. It really is that simple. Not easy to do, but simple.
Change your actions, change your results
For instance, if you are struggling to lose weight or tone your body, but you are doing the same workout plan that you got from your free session at the gym when you first joined 2 years ago, and not seeing results anymore, then chances are, it’s time to change it up.
Change your actions, change your results.
If you are finding yourself falling into relationship, friendship, or career patterns, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your approach and consider experimenting with a new way of doing things. As an example, if you find that you are constantly the one at work that gets recruited to do extra tasks and jobs, yet it annoys you but you keep saying yes…well, perhaps it is time to start saying no.
Change your actions, change your results.
If you find that you end up dating the same kinda-guy that isn’t good for you, yet you still go to the same hangout spots, events and hang with the same social circle, perhaps its time to branch out and try new places, attend different events, or expand your social circle.
Again, change your actions, change your results.
Life on Auto-Pilot aka Groundhog’s Day
Of course I am making this out to seem a lot simpler than what it may actually feel like in real life. We all get into patterns, ruts, and routines, and sometimes our life can feel like a living “Groundhog Day”: Sleep, wake, hit snooze, rush to work, sit on the T, get home, eat, sleep, repeat.
It happens, it’s natural, there’s nothing wrong with it, but if you are not satisfied with your results, then you must take action, otherwise you’ll be stuck in the same ruts indefinitely. And before you know it, your life is pretty much on auto-pilot: Sleep, wake, hit snooze, rush to work, sit on the T, get home, eat, sleep, repeat.
Enter Bill Murray.
Why It’s Hard to Break out of Auto-Pilot
What we may not realize is that most of our reactions to life’s circumstances are deeply subconscious and have been established over years and years of practice. Without us even knowing, the majority if not all our decisions in life are based on neural pathways that have been engrained in our brains.
This is why it’s hard to break out of ruts, out of routines, and out of auto-pilot – we’ve conditioned ourselves to do certain things a certain way, and our brain and our body literally can get stuck in this pattern perpetuating the definition of insanity.
Think about it this way:
Imagine that your brain is an open field with tall grass. Every action and decision in your life would be the equivalent to walking from one end of the field to the other.
So for instance, if you drive the same route to work every day, you are making a path in the field in one direction, and then just following that same path every day. Before you know it, the grass turns brown, and you now have a clear distinguishable path in the field.
This helps explain why you can hop in your car, and without even “thinking” get to work. Your brain, because you have made the path, can now go to work on auto-pilot.
And this is exactly why you must change your actions to change your results.
To see this in a greater context in your life, you can swap out the driving to work, with getting in the same arguments with your spouse, or attracting the same kind of lackluster client, or dating the same kinda-guy, or getting the same kind-a job, etc etc.
Your actions and your decisions that lead you to the same places in dating, fitness, career, all start from the neural pathways that you’ve established in your brain, or in your field of grass. When you get stuck in the same patterns you are simply going down the same paths. To break out of a pattern you must go down a new path.
How To Break Out of Auto-Pilot and Re-Wire Your Brain
In order to get the results you want in life you must break out of the loop of insanity. And as we discussed, most of our actions are from years and years of doing the same thing over and over again. So you must:
Change your actions to change your results.
Using the field of grass example from above, let’s go over ways that you can re-wire your brain so that your decisions are not on auto-pilot, and subsequently, leading you to the same results (insanity). Meaning, you must make new paths in your field to bring you a different outcome.
Wouldn’t it make sense to say that if you go down the same path in your field, the one where the grass has turned brown, that you will get to the same ending point of the path?
And then wouldn’t it also make sense to assume that by making a new path, you will end up in a new ending point?
It makes sense in theory, and it also makes sense practically. All you need to do is start making new paths. It may seem hard at first, and you may be struck with a case of cognitive dissonance because the new ways of doing things aren’t matching up with the old ways, but this weird uncomfortableness is good – it means you are growing.
In order for you to break out of auto-pilot, you have to think about re-wiring your brain, and making new paths in your fields. In this case you are using your conscious brain to train your subconscious brain, which has been the opposite of what you’ve been doing. Up until now, you’ve allowed your subconscious brain to dictate your conscious decisions, like how you drive to work.
Here are some ideas on how you can re-wire your brain and how to make new paths:
1. Take a different route to work.
Yes even something as simple as this can start to re-wire your brain. You may meet new people, experience new sensations, and in turn, experience new thoughts and feelings. You are literally and figuratively making a new path.
2. Practice Writing and using your non-dominant hand.
This feels really weird to do, but one of the best ways to start making new and untapped neural pathways in your brain. For instance, when you pick up a pencil, you don’t have to think how to write your name because your brain has a path in the field for that.
However, when you pick up a pencil with your non-dominant hand, your brain has to stop, think, and make a new pathway. This is tapping into a part of your brain not traditionally used, which again, opens you up to new possibilities.
3. Take an inventory of your actions vs. your feelings.
Using my dating example from the beginning, I was noticing that my actions were not inline with my feelings, and this was giving me results I did not want. Since I was so use to approaching dating in the same manner, I was literally on auto-pilot. I had made my own dating path in my field even though my heart was feeling something different.
If you are experiencing an area of your life that is not giving you results you are seeking, perhaps its time to check if your actions are matching up with your feelings.
4. Change the furniture around in your room.
Moving things around in your environment will actually help change the flow of energy in your life. This is the whole premise behind feng shui. I’m not an expert on the subject, but I do know that when I change things around in my living space, even if it is just my plants, the whole energy of the room can shift and can elevate my moods. This change in environment, again, can help stimulate new pathways in your brain because of the change in scenery, or a change in how you get around.
5. Wear something completely out of your style.
Experimenting a little with fashion too, can help stimulate new feelings and emotions. I’m sure you may know how good it feels when you are wearing something that looks flattering on you. How we dress can have a huge impact on how we are feeling, and how we are feeling can help shift our perceptions and thus can help us break free of recurring patterns.
If you typically wear your same black heels to work, try spicing it up with some red heels, or a change in lipstick, or a bright blouse.
6. Read a book you typically would not read.
Like fashion, we gravitate towards books and reading material that we typically like. For me, I’m usually reading books on spirituality, business, psychology, or on energy healing. However, I very rarely read any fiction.
So, most recently I’ve begun to read fiction children’s literature, and it has helped in many areas of my life. I’ve found that it’s helped my writing, and it’s helped me brainstorm more creative and off-the-cuff ideas, partially do to the fact that reading creative fiction helps stimulate that part of your brain.
By reading books like “Alice in Wonderland” my brain has to try to imagine the outlandish things that are happening in the book, thus creating new pathways and stimulating new areas of my brain.
Breaking out of the loop of insanity requires that we must change our actions to change our results. Falling into recurring patterns in life, whether it is in dating, in your career, or in your relationships, is quite easy to do, especially if we’re on auto-pilot.
If the path you’re going down now keeps leading you to same dead-end, then perhaps its time to make new paths. And since it’s soooo easy to fall into going down the same tried and true, we must consciously make the effort to change what has subconsciously been programmed.
Insanity, it’s doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. To break the loop, you must change your actions to change your results. Create new paths, and create new results. Results may vary, but I can guarantee, you will see changes in 90 days, or your money back.