10 Keys to Breaking Negative Cycles

All of us deal with patterns of behavior or results that we and others may feel are undesirable.

It could be how we communicate with a difficult co-worker or vendor.

It could be how we seem to continually misunderstand a loved one or a friend.

It could be a test of life that we continually seem to fail every time it comes around.

Here are 10 keys on how to break negative cycles:

1) Realize that everyone deals with setbacks.

You are not alone. You are special, unique, and gifted. However, you are not so special, unique, and gifted that you are exempt from failure, setbacks or challenges. Setbacks are some of life’s greatest reality checks. Stay level headed and don’t panic. Realize that making mistakes, learning new methods of success, and trying to figure out how to break negative patterns are a part of being human. You will not only survive, but thrive if you persist.

2) Realize that you don’t have all of the answers.

There seems to be a wonderful feeling that feeds the human ego when we can say, “I did that all by myself. I figured that out on my own.” The truth is we need the help of other people more than we sometimes realize. For example, did you teach yourself how to walk as an infant? Did you catch yourself when you fell or did someone assist you? How about reading? Did you teach yourself how to read or did someone help you? Even if per chance you did teach yourself to read, did you write the book that you taught yourself to read from or did someone else write it? My point is we need the help of others when trying to achieve our goals. Working together with others on major and minor tasks often gets them done faster and with less effort. Even if you do feel you have everything covered, there are other people that can see your blind spots. They may see something that you don’t see and what they see can make all the difference in the world. Realize that others may have answers, skills, and resources that may be able to accelerate your progress; challenge yourself to reach out to them.

3) Previous successes can be deceptive.

Sometimes when we have had a string of victories, we can subconsciously think that we are invincible. As though, we will emerge from every battle unscathed and without any effort. There are times when world-class athletes enter “the zone”, and everything seems to flow like an unimpeded river, no problems or hiccups. However, the truth is no one really lives in the zone. You and I will not always have a perpetual string of mountain top experiences or emotions. If we did, we would never grow. When a string of successes is snapped, when we have a challenge in our personal or professional life, it causes us to pause. It causes us to retrace our steps, to recalibrate, and reconsider our actions and our strategy; improvement is often the result. Don’t take past victories for granted. Realize that you are very gifted but you are not invincible. Prepare for your goals like a world-class athlete, and you will bounce back from setbacks, and experience more success.

4) Learn the lesson and forget the details.

When we realize that we are human and that we are fallible, we can position ourselves for uncommon growth. Even though a setback or a glitch or an unsuccessful attempt may cause us to feel discouraged or dejected, it does not have to derail our progress. Feelings are fed by our thoughts. If you want to change how you feel, just change your thoughts. Instead of focusing on how embarrassed you feel, focus on what the results have revealed. The results may show us that we have some room to improve in how we execute the task. Maybe we were not as focused as we could have been or maybe we can improve in how we communicate. Maybe we need to improve our leadership skills, or simply learn how to ask for help. Whatever the occurrence, the main point is to learn the lesson, apply it, and go on with your life.

5) Relapses are no match for comebacks.

You may have slipped back into an old negative behavior; you may have dropped the ball on a major project, big deal! Get over the mistake, and get over yourself. People are not thinking about you as much as you think they are. Even if they are, what difference does that make to you, and what you need to do? Relapses, backsliding, or whatever you want to call it is no match for your next action. You may have gained 5 or 10lbs, so what! What are you going to do now? Your comeback is waiting on you. A relapse is virtually irrelevant when you start focusing on your comeback. What’s even more important is the fact that you recognized that you relapsed! This is called progress, whether you know it or not. To be aware of something that previously went unnoticed is progress. At least now you can do something about it. Get back on the path to your comeback immediately, no matter what the setback has been. Relapses are no match for comebacks.

6) Expose negative cycles before they expose you.

When you notice you are doing something that is derailing your success, get some help. It can be a major issue or a minor issue. Squash problems when they are the size of acorns, that way they don’t have a chance to grow into a forest. Pull your problem out of the darkness and into the light of someone that can help you. Negative cycles gain strength when they remain a secret. When we try to keep a problem a secret it eventually brings itself out for all to see. This happens with major corporations, small businesses, celebrities, and average Joes. You don’t have to tell everybody, but share your problem with a trusted friend, coach, business partner, family member, or co-worker. There are also resources through employers or professionals that you can access via the internet that are completely confidential. Find someone to tell. When people keep things in they often explode like a bomb or they sink like a rock. Whether it is personal or professional, don’t let your problem take you down.

7) Never share your problem with someone incapable of solving it.

One of my mentors has helped to drill this thought into my head. No matter what your problem is there is someone who has been through what you are presently experiencing. Regardless of your income or background, someone has walked where you have walked, find them. Don’t share things with people that you cannot trust. They may damage your reputation or misjudge you. Find someone who has proven themselves trustworthy and someone that can help you with your specific challenge. There are obviously some things you would not share with your 5 year old child that you will share with your 55 year old trusted friend. Be wise, but don’t be afraid to share what you’re going through with someone that can help you. Never be too proud to talk about it out loud, in the right environment. Taking this action can transform your life, your business, and your family.

8) Stop believing a lie.

Just because you have failed, experienced a setback, disappointed yourself or someone else, it doesn’t mean that you are a “failure.” What it means is that you are human. Stop accepting the labels that other people try to place on you or even the ones that you place on yourself. Refuse to attach additional baggage to what happened. Whatever it was, it just happened. It’s over now. Take ownership and resolve to do better next time. Put systems and accountability in place to insure that success has a greater chance of happening next time. But don’t make up some story that you are an idiot, stupid, incapable, doomed to be like this for life or whatever story you or someone else has contrived. The truth is today is your life. Decide what you want to create today. Forgive yourself and others; repair what you can, and don’t worry about the rest. Your past is no match for your future, but you are the only one that can initiate your next success. Decide to break the negative cycles, no matter what they are and no matter how many times they occur. Decide to never give up. Don’t give up, get up!

9) Get to the root.

Don’t just remove the rotten apple from the bushel; find the rotten tree that it came from. All of us have certain negative results or behaviors that resurface from time to time. It may be due to negligence, or allowing ourselves to get distracted, or a whole host of other reasons. The key is to find the root of the problem. If you or your landscaper does not remove the weeds in your garden from the root, they will reemerge, and possibly come back even stronger with other friends. What is the root of your problem? Is it a lack of discipline? Is it a lack of knowledge? Is it a refusal to address the “white elephant” in the room? Is it your ego? Always remember that your ego is your enemy. Confront your enemy. Author Roberts Liardon says, “Only what you confront will change; what you refuse to confront will remain the same.”

10) Give it time.

After you have been derailed, give yourself a little time to be realigned. When you experience a setback you should focus immediately on making a comeback. However, even though you are on the road of your comeback, it may take you a little while to get your bearings. It may take you a little while to fix your alignment after you have hit a virtual pothole. Your alignment may include your feelings, emotions, strategy, mentality, resources, etc. Also, give yourself some time to get it right. Your challenge or pattern or negative results may not go away over night. However, you can track your progress. Any step forward is a step of progress. No matter how small the change, change is still change. Progress should be acknowledged and celebrated. Don’t wait for someone else, acknowledge your own improvements. Celebrate your own success. Give yourself time to change. This is also known has having patience. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with others who are trying to change. Developing patience builds inner strength just like lifting weights builds muscle. If you have dealt with a negative cycle for an extended period of time, then it will probably take some time before you see the complete transformation. The process of change can be very exciting, but you must give it some time.

I encourage you to apply the above keys and break the negative cycles in your life, business, family, or career.

Question: Why do you believe people repeat negative cycles or slip into old failure habits?  What do you believe is the key to breaking a negative cycle?

I look forward to reading your response!

Turn Your Setbacks into Accelerated Comebacks,

Craig L. Sanders
“The Comeback Specialist”

P.S. To inquire about Craig's book, "Keys to Manifesting Your Destiny", his coaching packages, or to have him speak at your event, please visit his website: http://www.craiglsanders.com/

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Copyright 2010 Craig Sanders Unlimited, LLC

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