“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.”―Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
The mind is the tool we must use to negotiate our existence in this day-to-day reality. Today, you are the product of the choices you’ve made and the habits you have built. What hurts most of us is our inability to see how we create our own habits.
Imagine using a chisel to carve out a groove in a piece of wood. When you do something new, your brain creates a neural pathway to execute the steps needed to do that new thing. The brain is the chisel and your neurons are the piece of wood. Each time you do that act the neural pathway you created becomes stronger. It’s like taking your chisel and carving out a deeper groove in the wood. Do something enough and you’ll have a very deep groove. When this neural pathway becomes strong enough, your brain packs it away in your subconscious and it becomes automatic. Your brain is exceedingly good at this.
Your brain works through this process with everything. It builds neural pathways for muscular movements and it builds neural pathways for thoughts. When you think a certain way about a certain topic, your brain packs that away just like it does a physical movement like opening a door. Once you realize this process is taking place you can purposefully create your own habits and routines. It just takes consistent action.
If you take consistent action daily, let’s say exercising, your brain will begin creating a neural pathway that it can use to be better prepared for that exercise the next day. Each day you exercise, the brain fires the neural pathways related to the movements your body takes and the stresses your body feels. Each day you exercise your mind and body the exercise gets easier. It gets easier because the brain is strengthening all the neural pathways you use during exercise.
This same process of building neural pathways works for everything you do. If you want to build a habit, do it consistently each day (at the same time if possible). If you want to get rid of a habit, stop feeding it. The brain is efficient. It automates things to reduce the processing power required to do something over and over. Those things in your mind that are already automated begin to dissipate when the brain recognizes you are not doing them anymore.
To create a new habit, start small and do it consistently each day at the same time. Your brain will automatically begin building the neural pathways that support this habit and before you know it, you’ll be doing it automatically. You’ll know when you have established the habit. You’ll know because you will feel a little discomfort if you stop doing it. If you have an established exercise habit and get sick, you will miss a day of your exercise. Watch what happens internally. You will feel discomfort when you cannot exercise. When you feel this, you know that you have an established neural pathway supporting your exercise habit.
I hope all of you have a terrific Monday!
Until next time…