Six Powerful Steps To Help You Create Habits
What is the difference between a master and a dabbler? Repetition. A person who does something over and over has changed their brain in a magnificent way, a permanent way.
Repetition also helps in making you better at keeping up with your success. You can’t do everything in your life once and expect for it to stick. You have to repeat it over and over.
Gurus, Scientist, High Achievers all have know that through a series of repetitive actions or thinking style you can change your whole world. The good part of repetition just like bad habits are hard to break, good habits once established are also harder to break. That is the power of repetition.
If you have tried meditation, math, cleaning a house, or even going to bed early and have failed or don’t see permanent results then you might just lack repetition. Things don’t change your mind or body by doing them once. You have to repeat them every day.
This is the classic Tortoise and the Hare story. The Hare will get moving faster, but lose vision, while the tortoise perseveres day in and day out, and reaches her goal. I had always been the Hare and lost every time. Now I move with intentionally and remind myself of my goals.
At a cellular level
Our brains habits and non-habit (goal oriented) actions are constantly competing for control over our orbitofrontal cortex (where our brain makes decisions). It is here that neurochemicals called endocannabinoids allow for habits to take over. It basically halts our non-habit actions (goals).
Endocannabinoids produced naturally in our brains are found all over our bodies. They are responsible for our pain perception, appetite stimulation, mood/memory correlation (yes it also regulates how you react to weed).
Habits form in the Straitum, Cannabinoid Type 1 chemical is the chemical responsible for enhancing our Fast Spiking interneuron or FSI. These long neuro cells are either enhanced or quieted, its our stop and go system for habits.
If the potential habit is pleasurable this action potential is enhanced and thus the habit is solidified. If the potential habit is non-rewarding then the habit never forms or breaks.
This is why its important to add a pleasure point after the potential habit to help those FSI’s take hold. Why is this? I figured that a habit is often completed with angst and even our bodies tend to fight them so adding a bit of an incentive helps.
No matter which way you swing, the more you perform a goal or habit the more familiar your brain is with it, or the more neural pathways your brain has formed. This translates to you being able to form a solid neural pathway or habit.
Here is a quick view at how a habit loop forms:
A habit requires a cue, a push from your Straitum to go into autopilot (it’s a useful mechanism that saves energy, this is why we have it).
Routine, the routine gets triggered by the cue and your body goes into autopilot (again if you have a large number of neural connectivity, such as people with Autism) this is dis-regulated and you either form hard clad habits (obsessiveness) or you can just lack the ability to form some habits easier.
Reward, your body’s payment system to help it adhere to the new habit. Some types of rewards work better for some people, such as smells, increase in sugar level, or increase in endorphins such as from exercise. I find smells very rewarding, so for any home cleaning habit (or goal for me) I find very nice smelling cleaners, a shower with a fantastic shampoo works for me instead of a sugar spike after exercise, find what works for you.
Now that we have visited how you form habits or non-habits. Here are six steps to help you begin a new habit or routine.
Go slow, but keep steady
Working small and increasing your goals gives you a bit of hope. When you see that you are capable of reaching a small attainment, you will wish for more.
But be warned, you will still need to push yourself to reach your goals. I kept looking for the magic pill for twenty years, that pill that will keep me motivated. I never found it, I still have to GET UP and GET MOVING. There is no way around it.
Some of the methods I have acquired to help me get up and move are watching motivational you tube videos, getting sleep, letting someone know so they can help push me, or listening to upbeat pop.
Don’t stop yourself from accomplishing everything you ever wanted,
get up and live! What is your dream, comment down below? Put it out into the universe.
Want more change? Check out my Meditation article. All the benefits of Meditation that you don’t want to miss.
…and 5 steps to make sure habits stick.
Duhigg, C. (2012, March 5). Habits: How They Form and How to Break Them. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them
University of California – San Diego. “How the brain makes, and breaks, a habit: Neuroscience study identifies brain chemicals, neural pathway involved in switching between habitual behavior, deliberate decision-making.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160526185419.htm
Duke University. “One powerful cell makes or breaks your habits: Researchers pinpoint the neurons responsible for orchestrating habitual behavior.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170906135549.htm
Rugnetta, M. (2017, June 15). Neuroplasticity. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/neuroplasticity
Ferebee, A. (2018, February 13). The Science Behind Adopting New Habits (And Making Them Stick). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/02/13/the-science-behind-adopting-new-habits-and-making-them-stick/#6fa2e34643c7
Latest posts by Lucia Stakkestad (see all)
- The Number One Reason You Should (Do) Journaling for Mental Health - August 26, 2021
- How Trauma Affects You: The Costs of Ignoring Trauma - August 18, 2021
- 6 Real-Life Examples That You Are Prepared To Change - June 17, 2021