Do you remember seeing the movie Groundhog Day?
It about the story of a man who gets trapped in a time loop and keeps repeating the same day over and over again. With each day that passes, he knows exactly what will happen when and with what result. NOTHING changes, no matter how much he tries to influence it.
He experiences myriad feelings including denial, anger, boredom, frustration and even a little hysteria! Then he reaches resigned acceptance – though that’s not the end of the story.
Our very own Groundhog Day
Because of that movie, the phrase ‘Groundhog Day’ has come to signify something that repeats again and again.
For some of us that might make us think of our situation, where due to current restrictions every day can feel the same. You’ve probably experienced multitude emotions and may once again be on an emotional rollercoaster ride. It can feel like this situation will never end and easily fall into resigned acceptance, yet is that really the best thing?
Every day feels the same or very similar doing the same activities, following virtually the same routine, moving in a world that has shrunk to less than a few miles. Though we might not know exactly what will happen each day, it often feels like we’re playing out the same old scenes.
Just as restrictions have cycled from tight, to relaxed and tight again, perhaps you’ve noticed your emotions have cycled too. You may have rotated through anger, calm, boredom, happiness, hysteria, acceptance, irritation and more over the weeks and perhaps even experienced them all in just a day!
Though Groundhog Day was billed as a comedy, there are also deeper philosophical aspects to it and it carries an important lesson too.
The movie takes a darker turn when the man realises that in the time loop, there are no consequences for his actions. So he starts indulging in binge eating and one-night stands and gets involved in crime and other dangerous activities. When that doesn’t bring him any sense of fulfilment or real fun, he becomes depressed while his day continues to repeat over and over.
Eventually, he has a bit of an epiphany and decides to use the time loop in more positive ways. He learns to play the piano and sculpt ice and he becomes fluent in French. He also uses his knowledge of the day’s events to save others from misfortune.
A tale of two paths
Groundhog Day gave him a choice. He could allow the negative emotions keep their hold or direct himself towards learning and helping others so bringing him a more positive vibe. The latter choice is what ultimately brings him out of the time loop.
At this point you might be thinking this all sounds a little bit cheesy.
And yet, the parallels between Groundhog Day and our current situation are actually pretty striking.
If you look around and listen, can you identify people whose negative emotions are taking hold of them? Are they over-eating, drinking, hardly moving and seem like they’re getting more and more down. Are they in resigned acceptance believing there’s nothing else they can do until restrictions are lifted?
The movie shows us it doesn’t have to be that way at all. We do have the power within us to make a positive impact on ourselves and others. It shows us that our days will remain the same as long as we stay the same. Though if we change our thinking, so we can change our days and ultimately, the outcome.
Seven ways to break out of a time loop
If you feel stuck in a time loop, I here are 7 ways that will help you break out of it:
Be curious and keep learning
Humans are actually learning machines! The more we learn the more we grow and the more motivated, resourceful and resilient we become. Try out some of these for motivation and to keep expanding your mind:
- read or listen to books
- tune in to podcastsand webinars
- do anonline course or challenge
- talk to other people, attend networks and have 1:1s to build business relationships
Reframe your thinking
If you find yourself falling into negative or unhelpful thinking, pay attention to your thoughts. Ask yourself, what evidence do you have for and against them. Challenge your habitual thinking and come up with a more balanced realistic and helpful view.
Spend time with others
Social contact is extremely important for us. It’s great to be able to have fun and laugh with others, so arrange a social catch up by zoom or give someone a call. Step away from the work and commit yourself to some down time too. I know this can feel less attractive if you spend your day in front of a screen, so choose quality over quantity!
Check in on your friends and neighbours, ask how they are and ask again. If you have time and space in your life, get involved and offer help where you can with shopping or supporting charities. Helping others creates a sense of wellbeing in ourselves.
Mix things up
Even if you’re a creature of habit, mix up your day and do something different from time to time. Be spontaneous! In NLP this is known as a pattern interrupt because it interrupts automatic habitual patterns of behaviour.
Enjoy the present
Make the most of each day by taking time to appreciate what’s around you, getting outside when you can. Everyone can find 15 minutes to bring their mind to the present and notice the little things.
Though it can be difficult to plan ahead, do still look to the future, have hope and create dreams. You may not be able to set firm dates but can still set goals and make loose plans. Where attention goes, energy flows. Viewing a positive future, makes it much more likely that that is what you’ll achieve.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending time loop, please get in touch to see how NLP can break that cycle and have you create one that’s much more positively focus, joyful and fulfilled.