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candy-heartsNo, I haven’t completely lost my mind. I know Valentines Day is over, that’s actually the point of this post.. The flowers are starting to fade and wither and the cards and gifts are already becoming a distant memory. So what are you doing to keep the Valentines Day mindset?

For one day of the year, as a nation, we focus on our loved ones. Everywhere you turn there is an abundance of hearts and flowers, candy, cards, and gifts of every kind. All attention is focused on the special person in your life. The next day we wake up and perhaps start to fall back into old habits. The “I love you’s” and sugar coated sentiments are behind us and “real life” comes back into motion. Why?

Our relationships like anything else in our lives are victims of habit, good and bad. Habits are much like an addiction – defined as something we can’t stop doing. All of the days, months and years we spend thinking and acting in a certain way eventually get programmed into our brain – literally. We create neural pathways that can lead to habitual negative views and reactions to our loved ones. Ever have the same old arguments with the same old results? You feel yourself falling into it, your head tells you to stop yet you can’t, you get sucked into the energy of the moment and go down that well traveled path to nowhere.

Is it possible to stop? Yes, most definitely. You will have to work at it though. Just like that well worn path, it took a long time to become that way and it will take focused effort to move it in a new direction. It may sound cheesy to some, but visualization – also known as “mental rehearsal” can work miracles. It’s a well documented tool used in training athletes for peak performance. That peak performance isn’t limited to sports or physical activity; it can be anything you want to achieve – including a better relationship.

Try visualizing the desired outcome to your age old argument. What is it that you would love to say (that’s positive) if you weren’t caught up in the moment of the argument? How would you like to see your partner respond? What would you say in turn? See it in your mind, and let yourself feel the emotion as if it were really happening.

Keep repeating this process every chance you get. You are literally changing the neural pathways of your brain. Practiced consistently, the next time you start to engage in that same old argument, you will have developed new patterns of thinking and a new response. Done faithfully, you will end up with your desired result.

Remember, you need to change the way you are feeling, thinking and responding. The goal is NOT to change your partner. The change will occur when you change YOUR pattern of thinking and reacting. It’s a great way to keep the Valentines Day mentality going all year long. Reprogram the bad habits with good ones, your relationship could depend on it.