11/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Ask Maddisen - How To Release Mental Patterns That Don't Support Your Goals

Dear Maddisen:
I feel trapped by certain mental patterns that I'm sure I don't want anymore. They're so elusive, and they not only run me but run ahead of me! I'm the one suffering the most from my own patterns, and I'm ready for something new. Specifically, I want to think and act in ways that support my personal life goals. I love your step-by-step processes. Any suggestions? Thanks LJ

Dear LJ,
Thank you for bringing up such a relevant topic. Undesired mental patterns can be very elusive indeed, especially when we're not fully conscious of them and feel automatically run by them.

These patterns may be linked to unconscious irrational beliefs that were formed when we were very young, based on real survival needs, or that were assimilated from others including our parents, ancestors, or caretakers. Additionally, old unconscious belief patterns may have influence over our current general attitudes and default emotional states.

The interesting twist here is that a mental pattern we currently experience as undesirable may have at one time served us and even supported our survival in some way. For example, I had a client who was raised in a home that was dominated by her alcoholic, overtly abusive father and enabled by her mother. To secure her survival when she was little, my client unconsciously chose introverted behaviors, disappearing whenever possible and remaining silent in the face of any attacks or controversies. These became patterns that followed her into adulthood, until a time when she could no longer bear the pain of not feeling free to participate in her life and engage more fully with others and to speak her truth. In bringing those old patterns to the surface, she has been able to release them and move into thought patterns and behaviors that now support her in living a fuller life, which includes honest, expressive, and creative collaboration with others.

In simply being aware that you have unwanted mental patterns, LJ, you have taken the first step in liberating them. However, as you requested, my intention is to offer a more concrete and stepwise approach to ending unwanted mental patterns, along with a way to replace them with desired thoughts that directly align with and support your personal life goals.

Pattern Journal
Mental patterns can be slippery, even after you've sniffed them out! So to catch and fully reveal them, you'll set a trap. That trap is called a "Pattern Journal". You'll record your patterns in this pattern journal for 30 days.

Step 1
Get yourself a journal or notebook that you designate as your "Pattern Journal".

Step 2
At the end of every day, or at least 5 days per week, write about any of your patterns you experienced that day. They can be mental, emotional, or physical patterns. Any patterns at all. And they can be negative or positive. Express yourself fully by writing as much as you like about the patterns. Be specific.

Note: You may find that you have fewer patterns than expected, but that they are similar in nature and repeat on a regular basis.

Step 3
Next to each listed pattern, rate the pattern as "desired" or "undesired".

Step 4
Once you've filled in the pattern journal for the day, look at each pattern that you've categorized as "undesired" and say the following phrase aloud, "I see you and accept you, and I now release you for the last time. Peace."

Step 5
Record your patterns in the Pattern Journal for 30 days, and follow steps 2-4 each day you fill it in.

While releasing the undesired patterns, begin creating your new and desired thoughts, the ones that support your goals, by entering them into your "Desire Journal."

Desire Journal
Your "Desire Journal" is where you write down any and all heartfelt desires and goals that excite and inspire you. Record your desires and goals in your desire journal for 30 days. Of course, you can continue beyond 30 days if you enjoy doing so.

Step 1
Get yourself a journal or notebook that you designate as your "Desire Journal".

Step 2
Each day, write down 1-10 heartfelt desires and/or goals that inspire and excite you. More is OK!

Note: You may find that the same desires/goals are on your list each day. If so, that's just fine - more power to 'em! These may be the core desires and goals you will focus on manifesting at this time.

Step 3
After you've made your entries for that day, take a few minutes to visualize them as though you were living them now. Enjoy the visions, go for details.

Step 4
Are there any small steps you could take to start creating one or more of these desires or goals? If so, write down the steps in this journal, and perhaps write down the date when you'd like to complete them. Use this journal to track your progress. Be realistic and give yourself plenty of room for success. Take Inspired Actions.

Step 5
Record your heartfelt desires and goals in the Desire Journal for 30 days, and follow steps 2-4 each day you fill it in.

If you chose to follow this suggested program, you can keep both the Pattern and Desire journals simultaneously. After you complete both, feel free to continue working with your Desire Journal on a regular basis. The Pattern Journal may come in handy intermittently when you sense a pattern at work that you want to pinpoint and release.

More about creating your desires and goals
In my next column, I will provide an expanded approach on how to create your heartfelt desires and goals, which builds on these steps. For now, start these two journals, and know that you are taking major steps in support of your mission to 1) release unwanted mental patterns and 2) create empowering thoughts that align with your personal life goals.

Dear LJ, with your eyes and senses open, be aware of the signs and palpable indications of your desires and goals developing in your life, and allow yourself to take inspired actions to support these developments. Continue to practice self forgiveness when needed, as outlined in my previous column on Self Forgiveness:

I do quite a bit of work in this area with my clients, and it supports them immensely to have a Coach who is guiding, supporting, motivating, and co-tracking with them as they articulate their heartfelt desires, set goals, take inspired actions, envision, track, report, and ultimately experience and revel in the fulfillment of their goals. Try the exercises in this column, and if you want additional structured support, consider enlisting the services of a Life Coach.

I close with these powerful words that are based on the work of Roberto Assagioli, the Italian psychiatrist who founded the psychological movement known as Psychosynthesis. "You have a body, but you are not your body. You have emotions, but you are not your emotions. You have a mind, but you are not your mind. Who are you? You are a center of pure awareness. You are a center of will, capable of ruling, directing, and using all your psychological processes and your physical body." Know that we always have the option and the ability to reprogram our own thoughts to align with and support our heartfelt desires and goals.

Your Coach, Maddisen

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Copyright 2009 Maddisen K. Krown