Are you stuck in “Ground Hog Day”?

7th March 2019

I’ve gotta admit, I love that film and I can’t help but think of it every time I hear“I got you babe”, which is the song that’s playing every morning when Phil Connors (Bill Murray) wakes up at the bed and breakfast in Punxsutawney.

Are you stuck in your own personal “Ground Hog Day”?

Unwittingly we can find ourselves repeating unhelpful patterns from the past. A bit like this film we end up doing the same things that we’ve always done, usually because we’ve got some fixed beliefs and ideas about things that are keeping us stuck. In much of the coaching that I do, what we are working on is loosening the grip of tightly held beliefs and views of the world that we have swallowed whole, from a young age and which are keeping us trapped.

They might be the subtle and maybe at times, not so subtle things that others have said and done which we just absorb and hold to be true. We just swallow what others tells us without “chewing it over.” We accept what others say and unfortunate comments go straight in and become part of us. We assimilate these messages as the truth. We don’t challenge them. We don’t rationalise what we are told and, as children we don’t usually reject what our elders tell us.

Even as fully functioning adults we can be hamstrung by unhelpful beliefs that we have carried with us from a young age. It might sound crazy to say it, but we can find ourselves acting “now” as if it was “then.” It’s like we go back to thinking, feeling and acting as we did at some stage in the past. Needless to say, when this unhelpful stuff catches hold we aren’t the best versions of ourselves. We have almost lost touch with all the adult capabilities that we have at our disposal. We lose the ability to think rationally, to think things through logically and to even consider that there might be another way.

The good news is, we can choose a different path. We can choose to change our thinking and let go of the stuff that is hijacking us. It sounds straightforward doesn’t it? Well, it is, but it can be a little tougher to actually change some of those deeply embedded thoughts and beliefs.

Here’s some ways that will help you to start to shift your thinking, which I’ve used heaps of times with clients and which really CAN start to help you change your thinking;

  1. Notice your thoughts – journaling is great for capturing negative automatic thoughts and writing them down means you can come back to them later and review them when you’re feeling more rational. Even better if you can find a trusted friend who will let you know when your negative automatic thoughts emerge!
  2. Kindly challenge – when a familiar negative thought pops us, can you challenge it gently;
    1. Is this actually based on fact?
    2. Might there be another explanation?
    3. What else am I not seeing?
  3. Stick at it – there’s every chance that your negative thought patterns are like well worn paths. They have been laid down over a long time, and so, making new pathways and doing something different will feel tough at first.

I know it sounds simplistic, but we really CAN choose what we think. Our thoughts are inextricably linked to what we feel emotionally and physically, which in turn impacts how we behave or act. It stands to reason, if you were going into a big presentation and your head was telling you “You can’t do this!”, “You’ll make a fool of yourself!” OR “You’re not good enough.” You probably wouldn’t be able to give it your best shot would you?

It’s a bit like a football manager standing on the side of the pitch yelling to their own team;

“You’re rubbish!”

“You’ll never beat them!”

“You might as well give up now!!”

So, come on, isn’t it time you gave yourself a break and changed all that?

If you’re ready to break out of your own “Ground hog day” and you’d like some support in that, please get in touch!