Charm Lewis, LCSW-C
Four Steps to Starting Your Cycle Breaking Journey
Breaking cycles is about ending repetitive patterns, generational dysfunction, toxic behaviors and thoughts processes that keep you from evolving into the person you desire to be most. It is being aware of your past and how it contributes to your present triggers so that you can effectively deal with the root of the problem and the fruit-your bad attitude, your poor money management, your procrastination or tendency to be too booked and busy.
It’s about destroying your own glass ceiling. It’s about you being able to go to the next level of mental clarity, peace and completeness. You see it in your mind’s eye, you dream about it at night and you know it’s time to make it your reality. While breaking cycles has you in the center, it is not just about you. Breaking cycles means being able to positively impact the generations that will come after you. It means clearing the trees so that others can have a clear path forward, even if it is the road less traveled.
Breaking cycles is necessary if you want to achieve sustainable success physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, relationally and spiritually. It’s not always easy, but with the right tools and strategies, some support and some grit, it can be done! So for those of you ready to break cycles, here’s five steps to help you get started.
1. Your Family Tree
You must know where you come from in order to know where you need to go. Look at your family tree. By doing a family tree you’ll be able to see patterns of strength and dysfunction from an aerial perspective. This may help you to connect the dots in your own life in a way that you hadn’t done before. This will lead to more self-awareness, which is major key for change in any area of your life.
Draw a tree in any way that you like of your maternal and paternal side going all the way back to your great grandparents. In this family tree you want to note relationship dynamics, career types, struggles, deaths, diseases etc. Note anything that may be significant, positive and negative, about the people you are noting on this tree. It’s safe to stick to immediate relatives while doing this tree.
Self-reflection is the ability to go within and examine your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Self-reflection will allow you to intentionally and systematically break the habits that are keeping you from getting to the reality you desire to see. Here’s what we say, “Self-Reflection leads to Self-Correction”. Where there is no reflection and correction there will always be default. And no one wants to live in the default.
Take a few moments over the next 7 days to reflect on the thoughts you think most often, the behaviors that frustrate you and the feelings that constantly have you stuck in the past or too far in the future.
3. Think Different
You need new inputs. The way you think now has produced the feelings that you feel now that have produced the behavior you see in your life. You will not be able to shift toxic patterns without exposure to new information. New information will expand your thinking, giving you more options that you had before.
Examine the list you made during your reflection time. Which habit, thought, feeling do you want to tackle first? Choose that one that will have an impact on all the others. Commit to reading a book, listening to a podcast watching a YouTube video daily for at least 10 minutes for the next 63 days (it takes at least 63 days to build a habit). Not only will you develop a habit of personal development, but you’ll be more equipped with tips, tools and strategies for interrupting patterns.
4. Have Accountability
The truth is that sometimes left to our own devices we will give up, settle or simply forget that we committed to a lifestyle change. Enlist support of all kinds. Intentionally assemble a diverse team of individuals who can push
you forward. Some people that could be included are pastors and spiritual guides, mentors and coaches, therapists and medication prescribers, friends and family.
Consider which behavior you’ve targeted first and think, who would be considered best to help me on tis area. Don’t be afraid, call, email or reach out to them. You could say something like, “I’m on a new journey to break the habit of XYZ and from my perspective you seem to have a good handle on that, would you mind chatting with me about how you were able to do that?’
Cycle breaking isn’t easy, but it must be done and you’re the one to do it! It is not a journey with an endpoint, instead you’ll constantly be removing layers until you die!