If you’re like most people, you may have slipped up with your nutrition or fitness over the weekend.
It’s normal. It happens.
But if this is a recurring pattern for you -- enough that you’re troubled by it -- then I’d like to share a short but effective exercise you can try to help get to the bottom of it.
You see, overindulging on the weekend -- or any time, really -- doesn’t happen randomly or by accident, nor sleeping until 3 PM and then watching a whole season of a TV show for a single day.
There’s always a reason for our behaviour, and there are usually circumstances that lead to it.
Let's go for example with overeating, there’s also a cycle related to this behaviour, and it goes something like this:
You’re feeling stressed, anxious or upset.
You feel guilty or ashamed for overeating.
You vow to do better.
You go all-in with an overly restrictive routine that isn’t sustainable.
You start feeling stressed, anxious or upset again ...
Yep, you got it right... the cycle repeats itself over and over again.
So here’s a little exercise you can do. I call it “Breaking The Cycle.”
The next time you have an episode of overeating (or overdrinking, oversleeping or over stagnancy), follow these steps:
1. Write down everything that was happening around you right before the episode happened. Where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing/thinking/feeling?
2. Now, go back in time for a few hours and go through the same exercise. Write down as much detail as possible.
3. Look for patterns … and be curious about them.
If nothing jumps off the page, no worries. It took a long time to develop this behaviour, and you’re not going to magically fix it in one day.
Repeat this exercise a few times until you notice some common themes.
You know, in the beginning, it can be hard to build that habit of Pattern Recognition but once you master it, it will happen automatically and yes - you are going to be superhuman! Let me throw at you some examples:
“Every time I have a work deadline, I reach for the wine …”
“Hmmm, every time my mom calls, I go straight for the ice cream …”
“I do great from Monday-Thursday, but as soon as Friday hits, watch out …”
Once you identify your triggers, you can brainstorm some strategies for addressing them.
Don’t be frustrated if it takes some time to identify your triggers and come up with some solutions.
But once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that breaking the overeating cycle is simpler than you think.
Now let's go for some facts!
What is Patterns Recognition
Recognizing patterns allows us to predict and expect what is coming.
The process of pattern recognition involves matching the information received with the information already stored in the brain.
Making the connection between memories and information perceived is a step of pattern recognition called identification.
How to develop your pattern recognition skills
Chess masters become masters through hours of rigorous practice. Regular consistent practice is the only way to develop your pattern recognition skills to a high level.
The way you practice is similarly important, it needs to be deliberate and challenging.
Practice just outside of your comfort zone and force yourself to learn from experts, masters and novices, this way you’ll see patterns emerging and develop a keener eye for patterns.