The method is simple. First you select the part of life in which you want to detect your patterns. It could be relationships, writing, exercising, or anything else.
Let's take the example of deciding to write a novel and use a hypothetical friend named Ralph. We ask Ralph to think back to all the times that he has started a writing project but not finished it and list the steps he goes through. They might be:
1. Decide to write a novel.
2. Look through old ideas, brainstorm new ones, pick one.
3. Write for an hour a day for two weeks.
4. Cut back to 3 times a week for two weeks.
5. Start to write irregularly.
6. By March, stop writing. Put manuscript in drawer.
The next step is to see what beliefs are attached to each step. These might be:
1. I am creative and could write a good novel.
2. I have lots of ideas.
3. I can find an hour a day to write.
4. I was overly ambitious but I can write three times a week and still get the novel done.
5. I have too much to do to stick to a regular schedule but I can fit in writing the novel from time to time.
6. I feel overwhelmed and will take a break from writing for a while.
For others, the belief that stops them may be "this particular idea isn't really as good as I thought, but I have a better one and will move on to that one!" Those people keep writing but they also keep switching to new ideas and never finish anything.
For yet others, completing the project isn't the problem, it's sending it out to agents and publishers. Their belief may be "this isn't as good as I'd hoped and I'm sure it would be rejected, so I'm not even going to try."
There are many other patterns related to writing but these are the most common. Do these ring a bell for you? (The impulse to go on to new, more exciting projects is one I relate to.)
How do we change the patterns that are not serving us well? This is where Fritz is a bit vague, but my feeling is that we do it by changing the conditions in a way that also is compatible with better beliefs. That's different from just saying "change your beliefs!"--as Fritz points out, that's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do instantly.
Going back to Ralph, his problem starts with step 3. If he's got a lot of responsibilities, it may be unrealistic to find an hour every single day for writing. If I were mentoring him I would suggest he be realistic about how much time he will have, and also that he be specific about what he will stop doing in order to have time to start writing. That adds two new steps to his pattern:
3a: Analyze realistically how much time I have.
3b: Specify what I will stop doing in order to have time to write (e.g., "I will stop watching Big Brother on television and that will give me five hours per week to write," or "I will stop going to ball games on Saturday and spend those four hours writing").
That adjustment may be enough to change the outcome. That's the next part of the process: identify at which step things start to go wrong. Then come up with an alternative that will change the direction toward a positive outcome.
I will be adapting this method and integrating it into my Breakthrough Strategy Program, my online mentoring program to help people set and achieve their goals--get more information about how this program can point you toward success, at www.BreakthroughStrategyOnline.com).