Behavioral Psychology

Getting Used To New Patterns of Behavior

By  | 

The fact is that almost every change in thinking or feeling requires a corresponding change in behavior or little in your life is actually going to change, despite your internal revelations. The problem is that getting used to new patterns of behavior takes some time. At first they feel awkward and unnatural.

Take learning how to snow ski. Those graceful skiers you see out there carving up the mountain were once awkward beginners slipping and sliding on the snow, just trying to get both their skis to point in the same direction. It’s easy to think of all kinds of sports examples where muscle memory plays an essential role in making the necessary behaviors look effortless and natural. It might sound more theoretical, but when you’re changing a way of relating to people or to the world it’s exactly same thing.

At first your new way of relating is going to feel quite foreign to you. This is where people are often tempted to give up. They’ll say things like “I tried but it’s just not me.” They don’t realize that it takes time before their new pattern of behavior starts to hardwire. Say you want to be more patient with your loved ones, for example. This is an internal decision but there are corresponding external behaviors, the manifestations of this internal shift. There will be a transition period where showing the way you feel internally actually feels rather awkward to enact externally, but if you just continue to manifest these behaviors despite your discomfort, before long they will feel like they are a part of you.

Stick with your changes, getting used to new patterns of behavior takes time. If you can remind yourself to just keep manifesting the corresponding behavior to your internal change, despite your discomfort, you will get over the hump and others will come to see you the way that you have decided to see yourself.