Repeated patterns are a window to your needs and the process of lasting change will help you address those needs. For every pattern you repeat, for example: overeating, purging, or restriction, there is a need which is being met within you. Your inability to change the undesirable pattern has nothing to do with lack of willpower or discipline. The pattern is merely a symptom of a deeper problem. If you direct your efforts only at attempting to eliminate the symptom without putting effort into understanding and dissolving its cause, you are setting yourself up for a very fatiguing and defeating battle.
Understanding the Process of Lasting Change
Awareness is the first step in changing any behaviour. You must first become aware that you are doing something which is detrimental to your values and life plan. Resistance is often your immediate reaction to becoming aware of what you are doing and why. This makes perfect sense. You have lived your life with a certain set of behaviours and beliefs. Given this, change, even if desired on some level, often feels less like innovation and more like annihilation of your entire existence as you know it. You wonder what will be left of you, your relationships and the life you know, when you have made the changes necessary to free yourself of this debilitating behaviour. This really means: when you are fully aware of the underlying need that led you to execute this behaviour, will you still choose the people and things you have chosen thus far? From this perspective, change can look very scary and the outcome very lonely. This is why so many of us have to hit our own personal “rock bottom” before we are ready to challenge old, harmful patterns of thoughts and behaviours. You must reach a place where you say, “I don’t care what the outcome is. Just make it stop!”