When we mention habits we usually refer to bad habits such as smoking, sitting too much or eating unhealthy food. It is easy to fall into bad habits and hard to build good habits, sometimes it is hard to make those changes we feel are needed to become better, stronger versions of ourselves. It can feel as though we are fixed in our ways and cannot change. But new research suggests that we can change and the habits you build can build a new you in no time.
The buzzword in neuroscience right now is neuroplasticity, which states that your brain is always changing and that throughout your life you are building new neural pathways that dictate who you are and who you can be.
Just the same as any other organ or muscle in your body your brain is made up of cells.
The science bit
The brain cell or neuron allows signals to come from your body, be processed, and be sent out again as you respond to an external stimulus. Neurons adapt to decisions that you make right now and can change in response to what is going on around you.
If you repeatedly think about or do something, your neurons will form a stronger pathway and form a habit. Most of you know that this is the fundamental process behind addiction.
What many of you might not know is that this is also the case with forming habits. If you find that writing down all of your daily tasks helps you get everything done, then as you do this more often, your body will form a habit because your brain is used to firing off that pathway. Your brain realises this, so if you write down everything as part of your routine for long enough, the connections in your brain will become strong and the habit will have more power.
Creating Good habits
To start a good habit, you have to get through a test stage after which you emerge with an increased ability to get to the gym, or go for a run when you previously wouldn’t have gone. Eventually, as you regularly attend the gym, it will become unusual to not go to the gym,
A simple action done enough times can become a habit. For example, bodybuilders have made exercise a habit which makes them feel good and shows results which reinforce those good habits.
If you are able to put in some time and get past the first few months of exercise, you’ll form good habits. If you keep it up you’ll get fitter and feel good about that too. We know that working out can be tough when you are busy but remember that if you can get through your test stage you will start to form a habit that will change your life. There will always be excuses but that is why you have habits. Eventually, when you have formed a habit to work out daily the excuses will fade away and you’ll be able to rely on your good habits to get you through.