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Life Patterns and Playful Transformation

Embracing Change for a Better Future

The rich variety of non-matching patterns in my partners home interior used to make me a bit restless. However, this morning as I was brushing my teeth, they inspired me with a question: what part of my life is comprised of more or less fixed patterns: Evidently, nearly half of what I do daily. 

Patterns in our lives are the routines and habits we develop over time, influenced by our experiences and environment. They are the automatic responses to various situations, often ingrained so deeply that we may not even realize they exist. They can be positive and help us navigate life efficiently bring a degree of predictability, structure and a sense of stability. Regular exercise or meditation could be examples. But these patterns could also be negative or hold us back from achieving our true potential, like procrastinating on important tasks. Then what does it take to break free. 

Perhaps equally importantly, how can I cultivate new, beneficial patterns that can lead to a more fulfilling and successful life. The first step in transforming our lives is recognizing the patterns that are no longer beneficial. Here are a few signs that a pattern might need to be addressed:

  1. Feeling stuck or unable to progress in personal or professional areas.
  2. Experiencing negative emotions such as frustration, anger, or sadness related to specific behaviours or routines.
  3. Noticing adverse effects on your physical or mental health.
  4. Receiving consistent negative feedback from your partner in life, your friends, family, or colleagues.

Once we’ve identified these patterns, the next step is breaking free from them. Here are some strategies to help you on this journey:

  • Develop your self-awareness of your thoughts and behaviours. For example, journaling helped me track patterns and understand their origin.
  • Define what you want to achieve and why breaking the old pattern is essential for reaching your goals. My current example might be going back on a ketogenic diet to lose some weight. 
  • Find healthier, more productive habits to replace the old ones. For instance, instead when I feel an increased level of stress, I might apply breathing techniques, exercise or meditate.
  • Ask your partner, friends, family, or colleagues at work for support; they can provide encouragement and accountability.

Realistically, change takes time, and lapses are a natural part of the process. Keep moving forward and celebrate small victories along the way. Patience and perseverance are my advice. Creating new patterns involves conscious effort and practice. 

Importantly, the development of new neural pathways – the wiring together of brain cells making the new behaviour feel routine and easier over time – goes 20x faster when there is an element of play and joy involved in the process. Check out the Power of Play podcast of Andrew Huberman, Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology, at the Stanford school of Medicine if you want to learn more.

Here’s how to develop new habits that enhance your life:

  • Begin with manageable changes to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Small, consistent steps repeated frequently lead to significant long-term results.
  • Associate new habits with existing routines. For example, if you want to start reading daily, pair it with your morning coffee.
  • Imagine the positive outcomes of adopting new habits. Visualising success can boost motivation and reinforce your commitment.
  • Use tools like habit trackers or apps to monitor your progress and stay motivated. For example, my oura ring and the round-the-clock insights it provides into sleep, fitness, and stress, help me track my wellness. 
  • Reinforce new patterns with rewards and celebrate milestones to keep the momentum going.

Transforming life patterns is not just about eliminating the old and embracing the new; it’s about continuous growth and self-improvement. By understanding our patterns, making conscious changes, and developing beneficial habits, we can create a life that aligns with our true purpose and values.

Naturally, the journey of transformation is unique for each individual but every step you take towards positive change is a step towards a brighter future. I hope this newsletter inspires you to reflect on your patterns and take actionable steps towards a more fulfilling life.

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