Most New Years resolutions die a sudden death within 30 days of their birth. Year after year, many of us attempt to shift the course of our life in January, only to fail. We thus give up and declare that “resolutions” don’t work. Why is it so hard to change? Why are my “bad habits” so hard to dislodge? The key reason is that we are “hard-wired” to repeat our past behaviors.
Let’s use a road analogy to explain. Our brain has an incalculable number of neuropathways that carry information from one neuro connection to another. When a new behavior manifests, a new neuro connection is created. The chemicals that create the new pathways are dopamine, serotonin and nor epinephrine. The more a behavior is repeated, the more the pathway opens up and soon a real “road” is paved to ensure that regular “neuro-traffic” can flow. The more “neuro-traffic”, the more “lanes” open up to accommodate the demand. It is generally accepted that it takes 21 days of repeated behavior to establish a new “road” or habit. With long repeated behavior, soon you have an 8-lane neuropathway! Another factor that leads to large neuropathways is pleasure. When you experience extreme pleasure, the “road building” is accelerated and more permanent.
Most of us need some major “roadwork”. Roads leading to addictions, anger, self-defamation, and many other destructive outcomes need to be replaced with pathways leading to better outcomes. You are the architect of your brain and you have the ability to create new pathways (roads) leading to the behaviors you want to manifest. There are 4 steps to this new “road building”:
1. Put a blockade on the destructive road: (Make it difficult, if not impossible to access the offending behavior).
2. Have “police” survey your “driving habits”: (Have someone hold you accountable for staying away from the destructive habit)
3. Create a “new road” that leads to a more empowering destination: (Intentionally repeat the positive habit daily for at least 21 days)
4. Survey the results of your road building regularly and continue to eliminate the destructive roads, while laying down new empowering pathways: (Make sure that your pathways lead you toward the life you want to live)
New connections or “roads” are continually being created within our brains, whether we are actively involved or not. The key is to be intentional and take control of our own “road building”.
As we create the new neuropathways, we need to remember that we are also driving on these “roads”. The key to staying out of a “wreck” is to remain conscience as we travel along the many pathways of our mind. Most problems occur when we go on “auto-pilot” and allow the force of habit to determine our attitudes and outcome. To better control the journey within our own mind, there are 5 steps to ensure that we become more conscience and intentional in our thinking behavior (driving).
1. Stop!!! (Pull off the road):
- Take a “time out” & stop what you are doing!!!
- Breath, relax & connect to your “higher self”
2. See where you are going (Look down the road):
- Evaluate where your current path (thought) will lead you
- Feel the pain you might feel if you were to continue
3. Choose a more empowering path (Pull out the map)
- Think of a better path to follow
- If lost, seek a “map” or wisdom from a secondary source
- Feel the new thoughts taking place and the new empowerment they bring
- See yourself traveling along the new path and arriving at a better destination
4. Act (Get going in your new direction)
- Move in your new direction, act in harmony of your new vision
- Focus on your desired outcome (You will go where you are focused)
5. Evaluate your progress (Are you moving closer to your chosen destination?)
- Check your progress. How do you feel? What is the outcome?
- Make the changes necessary to move you closer to your desired destination.
The key here is to stop when stopping is necessary. You might place imaginary “stop signs” in places where you know you may travel down a destructive pathway. Like in real life, accidents can occur when a stop sign is not observed.
Remember, you are the creator of your own neuropathways, the roads that govern your mind-traffic. Be intentional about the roadways you create and don’t let the media, popular thought or anything else outside your consciousness create their devious work within your mind.