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Why can’t I stop doing what I KNOW isn’t serving me?!

March 5, 2024

A friend once asked me why I always choose the same type of guy even though it clearly wasn’t working for me. Although I knew she was right I couldn’t understand why I kept making the same choice.

If you’re anything like me you ask yourself this question on a weekly basis. At times this question helps me to uncover the root cause fueling the behaviors. 

Other times it’s just frustrating.

How can you escape the cycle of repetitive behaviors?

First, it helps to understand the WHY behind your actions. 

Biology: Our brain is wired to conserve energy. Since doing something different consumes mental energy, it prefers to repeat activities already known in order to save energy.

Conditioning: Over the course of our lives we incorporate a system of beliefs and habitual way of doing things that are outside our conscious awareness. 

Unprocessed emotions: Emotions fuel our thoughts and behaviors. When we have emotions that have not been processed because they’re too uncomfortable to feel, we become unconscious to their existence and the daily influence they’re having on our thoughts and behaviors. 


#1 – Stop Judging It

It is imperative that you stop beating yourself up about it. For many, this is the only way they know how to change an undesired behavior. While sometimes effective, it’s typically short-lived. When you adopt a compassionate approach towards yourself, it gives you the space needed to explore the origin, removes the veil of shame that keeps you stuck, and fuels a natural motivation to take better care of yourself.

An example you can say

Even though I notice myself thinking/doing _______ again I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

#2 – Talk About It

Often the behaviors and thought patterns we most want to change are also our most shameful. Perhaps you feel like you’re the only one who struggles in this way or have been made to feel bad, stupid, or weak (by self or others) for continuing to do it. It’s natural to want to run from these feelings, making it even harder to get the acceptance and support needed to make a different choice. 

Sharing with trusted confidants can normalize your experience and provide the compassionate acceptance and accountability you need to make changes.

#3 – Heal It

What is not healed, repeats itself. Much of what we do today are reactions to and repetitions of unhealed wounds and traumas. What we lived yesterday dictates how we will live today and tomorrow. We do not repeat experiences to suffer, we repeat them to transcend them. To learn from them. Therefore, try to look at this repetitive behavior as an opportunity to purge the unprocessed emotions that are unknowingly dictating your actions and keeping you stuck.

My story…

At one point in my life I can honestly say I had a drinking problem. Although I’d say my alcohol consumption was on par with the majority of my peers, I knew it was too much and yet I couldn’t stop. Every attempt was met with a feeling of fear that screamed “I feel DEPRIVED!!”. Until I got to the root of this feeling I couldn’t muster the willpower to say no and tolerate feelings of deprivation. 

When you feel tempted to do the behavior or stop a thought ask yourself…

  • If I don’t indulge in this thought or behavior how will I feel? (i.e. angry, anxious, afraid)
  • If this feeling could talk what would it say? (i.e. I feel deprived)
  • When have I felt this before? (i.e. as a child there were many restrictions placed on me that left me feeling deprived)
  • Can I honor my experience right now by being present with this emotion?
  • What action/thought could I do/have that could truly give me what I need and deserve? (i.e. talk with a loved one, meditate, read a book, take a bath, go for a walk)

If you need help understanding and overcoming your repetitive thoughts and behaviors I am here to assist you in this process. Together we will free you from the chains that hold you back from living your most fulfilling life. 

“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.

When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.

It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”

~ Mark Nepo

Allow me to guide you through short and simple daily exercises in breath, energy, sound, mindfulness, and movement to enhance your pleasure, confidence, and connection.

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