Everyone I meet wants to be “more healthy”. We all have some area of our lives we know needs to change. Most of us want to give up something we know we should be doing more or less of in order to become healthier or better. Many people I meet, struggle to give up behaviours that do not work for them. So what is the path to being better and how do we become “more healthy” without having to change who we are? Well there is no simple answer to that question. I know this as I am one of those people who has struggled with habits that did not work for me, and yet I found it really difficult to change. By following these steps though, I have managed to become healthier, and achieve my goal.
We develop behaviour over time and groove a neural pathway into our brains, which causes us to be creatures of habit. Like any habit, it is formed through repetitive behaviour over years. This becomes our character, who we are. With this in mind, think of some habits you may want to give up. It may be eating the wrong foods, it may be to do with alcohol or not exercising. It may be something to do with a relationship. It doesn’t matter which area of life it is you want to change, the process, according to neuroscience, remains the same. This means there are two things to focus on. One is your will to change and the other is how to program your brain. Yes, our brains change as we learn a new skill or habit. That is the good news. You can become the kind of person you want to be.
So what will it take to become more healthy, a better person in the area of life you want to improve? You have to really want to change something and make a choice to be different. Imagine yourself in a new way. Imagine achieving your goal. Imagine how it feels to be fitter, leaner, healthier or however it is you want to be. The next step is to commit to a new pattern of behaviour. Make a promise to yourself. This is where most people fail. The New Year’s resolution is not a real commitment, or a real promise. It is a good idea. There needs to be a time limit, a very specific measurable goal. As in, “I will exercise for three hours every week for the next 12 weeks!” That way, you can see the finish line and it doesn’t seem so daunting.
Practice Practice Practice….and keep going until you have a new groove, a new habit, a new neural pathway and the old habit has become a distant memory. This is the vital step. When it is cold, or you are tired, or you want to provide yourself with excuses, this is when it all comes together and you test yourself as to how much you really want the new you. You can do it, it is simply a matter of following the laws of nature.