Avoid Repeating the Old Same Mistakes All over Again

Everyone has some old habits that they might want to change. It's part of human psychology to tend towards repeating the same behaviors.[1] Changing those old behaviors can be difficult and take time. However, it is possible to do with some proper planning and by staying positive while you work towards you goal of avoiding making the same mistakes.


Noticing Mistakes and Understanding Them

  1. Acknowledge a Mistake. Unless you fully appreciate what has happened wrong, you cannot avoid doing it again. Some people have a very hard admitting failure, but that does not help a person re-examine what happened to do better next time. Everyone makes mistakes.
    • Most failures are temporary setbacks, rather than absolute disasters.
    • People who make great achievements typically also have great failures as well. Without trying and making mistakes or not getting 1st place, they would not get anywhere.
    • Being over confident can also lead you to miss information and make a mistake.
    • Many conditions or situations can cause a mistake, from being tired to having a bad habit.
  2. Do not fear mistakes, because you cannot avoid making mistakes. This can actually cause you to keep making them, and won't let you learn from your mistakes. Your brain actually helps you to avoid mistakes. A study has shown that the brain reacts in 0.1 seconds to things that have resulted in past errors by sending out a warning signal to prevent us from repeating the same mistake.[2]Making mistakes can be a good thing. The key to making mistakes into something valuable is to learn from them. Carefully examine a mistake that you made and look for the reasons why you may have made it. In this way, mistakes can actually help lead you to success.[3]
  3. Focus on what you are doing right. While learning from your mistakes is valuable, you should also focus on what went right. By focusing on what you are doing well, you can help feel great about your efforts as you work to improve and avoid mistakes.
    • Make a list of everything you've overcome and all your successes.
    • Write down qualities about yourself that you value.
    • Review these lists often for motivation and reminders of your progress.
  4. Start correcting mistakes. Once you notice some mistakes you may have made, you can start correcting them. The method you use to correct them will vary in relation to the mistake you are trying to correct. Review the following examples to get an idea of some corrections you can start to make:[4]
    • If you regularly miss the due date of a bill, try making highly visible reminders for yourself.
    • Don't be afraid to ask for help. For example, if you're trying to make your grandmother's recipe for soup but it's not coming out right, try asking her for some advice.
  5. Stay focused on improving. It might be tempting to have your goals set high, trying to be the best at whatever your goal may be. However, it can be easier to find success if you focus on steadily improving over time, rather than the end result.[5]
    • Perfectionism can lead to anxiety about your goals and your progress.
  6. Practice every day. Part of improving, finding success and avoiding past mistakes is getting enough practice. Getting daily practice is key as it can help you keep your skills sharp and allow you to slowly but consistently improve over time.[6] For example, you could try making your grandmother's soup recipe regularly to improve.
    • Set aside time each day to practice.
    • Keep a log of how long you practice each day.
    • If possible, try to slowly increase the amount of time you practice each day.
    • If you can't practice certain things daily, a visualization exercise could help. For example, if you find yourself without your guitar, you can imagine playing the chords of a song you are practicing.

Getting Ready For Change

  1. Find which behaviors you want to change. Before you can avoid making the same mistakes or repeating the same behaviors, you will have to identify the behaviors you want to change. Examine your life for any behaviors that you want to work on.[7]
    • Try finding the habits and old behaviors that you think are the most important to work on first.
    • Don't take on too much at once. Focus on a select few issues that you feel deserve the most attention.
  2. Discover what triggers your behavior. Examine what situations or events might be causing you to make the same mistakes or engage in the same unwanted behaviors. There are reasons behind the behavior you want to change. Once you find those reasons, you will be able to both change your response to that situation as well as avoid it in the future.
    • You might find that stress causes you crave a cigarette or an unhealthy snack.
    • If you are nervous in social settings, you might find that it causes you to drink when you otherwise would not.
  3. Find something to replace old behaviors with. When your goal is to stop repeating a certain behavior, you will need to replace that old behavior with a new one. Without implementing a new behavior, you are more likely to return to your original unwanted one.[7][8]
    • For example, you might replace eating potato chips with a celery snack or doing ten push ups.
    • If you find that you get angry easily, try making it your new habit to take deep breaths before you let anger get the best of you.
  4. Write your goals down. After you have thought about which behaviors you want to end and what you will replace them with, it can be useful to write them down. This will serve as a reminder of what you want to accomplish that you can check anytime.[7]
    • Try putting your written goals in a place you can see them often and with ease. For example, keep them posted at your work place or set a reminder on your phone.
  5. Don't be in a rush. Changing old habits can be difficult and take time. Being successful will take dedication as you work to replace your old habits with new ones that you have selected. Stick with your plan, stay positive, and meet your goals.[7]
    • Changing a habit can take anywhere from 15 to 254 days depending on motivation, replacement behavior, and amount of repetition.[9]
    • Remind yourself of your goals and the benefits that these changes will bring to stay motivated.
  6. Don't worry about setbacks. As you work towards you goals, replacing old behaviors with new ones, don't let any setbacks discourage you. Setbacks can happen; however, they don't mean that you have failed or that it's time to quit. Learn from these setbacks and keep working towards your goal.[7]
    • Setbacks can be positive, informing you of any conditions or events that push you back into your old habits.

Making the Changes

  1. Contemplate the change you want to make. The first stage of making any change to a behavior is to think carefully about those changes you are about to make. Think about the benefits of your changes and any difficulties that may present themselves.[10]
    • Make a detailed list of the benefits and positive aspects that your new behavior will bring.
    • Carefully list out any difficulties that you can think of. These might be things that cause you to return to your old behavior or prevent you from making your new behaviors habit.
    • For example, increasing exercise can make you more healthy but a lack of time might stand in your way.
  2. Prepare for obstacles. Before you start taking action and making changes, you will need to make preparations. The preparation phase involves planning to deal with any obstacles you can see that might prevent you from meeting your goals. By properly preparing, the changes that you want to make will be easier to obtain.[10]
    • The preparation phase gets you ready to deal with obstacles between you and your goals.
    • For example, if you think a lack of time might be a problem when trying to increase exercise, you will want to start scheduling your time or thinking of ways to exercise in spare moments.
  3. Start making the change. After you have thought about which new behaviors you want to work towards, and how to overcome obstacles, you can start to take action. During this step, your focus will be on tracking your progress, overcoming obstacles, and rewarding the new, desired behaviors.[10][11]
    • Track your progress carefully to keep motivated and catch slip-ups.
    • Think ahead to overcome obstacles. Avoid situations or events that would cause you to slip back into your old behavior.
    • As you meet your goals, you will want to reward yourself. Try watching one of your favorite films or taking a relaxing bath.
  4. Maintain the changes. Once you have replaced your old unwanted behavior with a new one you have selected, you will need to maintain that new behavior. Keep your new course of action going strong and continue enjoying this new way of acting.[10][11]
    • If possible, try to increase any original goals. For example, if you wanted to stop avoiding exercise and become more active, keep increasing those fitness goals.
    • Keep things interesting. As you work to maintain your new behavior, try doing it in different ways to stay engaged. For example, if you are trying to avoid junk food by eating healthy, keep learning new recipes.
    • Stay positive and don't let set-backs discourage you. If you do have a set-back, learn from it, and keep working towards your goals.


  • Be patient as you work towards your goals. Changing old behaviors can be difficult and take time.
  • Think of obstacles ahead of time to be prepared for them.
  • Don't let set-backs stop you. Learn from them and let them help you succeed.
  • Mind and body is key, only what you allow inside will reflect to what occurs on the outside.

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Sources and Citations