I want to use one of the podcasts I’ve used a couple times in the past, Prefrontal Cortex Power, to talk today about creating a habit. On the theme of creating, this is a pretty important thing to understand how to create, right? It will change our life experience if we know how to create habits that serve us, and break habits that are just not serving us.

“That automatic part of our brain – the primal or monkey brain – is so efficient, it makes decisions and directs attention much more quickly than the upper brain or the prefrontal cortex, that deliberate, slow executive part of our brain.

How do we solve this problem? Because this clearly is an issue. So often we will make a decision that isn’t in our long-term best interest because that automatic consciousness lower part of our brain comes up with the answer before we’d had a chance to intervene.”

We can start by using our upper brain to really look at what automatic neural pathways we’ve already created in our automatic primal part of the brain. What neural pathways are already there? Are they serving us well?

These are just the habits that we already have, right? Maybe it’s nail biting. That might be a neural pathway that you decide is not serving you well. It could be feeling defensive every time your occupation comes up in conversation. Even feelings can be habit. If you are not intentionally choosing your thoughts every time the subject of your occupation comes up, your brain will take the most efficient neural pathway, and that may be defensiveness, if you haven’t managed your brain.

Brushing my teeth after I wash my face is a neural pathway that I chose to create back in DAY #239. I created this neural pathway intentionally because I saw that it would serve me very well to be in that habit. I used six steps offered by Brooke to actually create that wanted neural pathway.

And it worked! With more consciousness and a little extra effort, I created this pathway in my brain that has served me for several months now. Let’s look at those six steps again today:

  1. Determine what neural pathway is not serving me well.
  2. Decide what neural pathway I want instead, in detail.
  3. Record in journal.
  4. Practice that neural pathway, physically, one time every day.
  5. Practice that neural pathway, mentally, 10 times every day
  6. Record in journal.

I am really excited about this! I started small – flossing teeth. And I want to try something new this week. I’ve been dehydrated lately. It could be the heat. We are up to 100 degrees most days. It’s a desert we are now living in. Or maybe it could be what I am eating. Or maybe I’m just out of the habit of drinking water when it’s not a explicit item on my daily checklist.

I want to habit of drinking water, whether or not it is on some daily checklist. I want it to be a neural pathway: I’m at the fridge, I want a cup of water.

So, let’s try these same six steps:

  1. I pass through the kitchen for whatever reason, but always end up looking in the fridge. It is an automatic response to being in the kitchen. And maybe I can, rather than changing that neural pathway all together, manipulate it to serve me better.
  2. I would like to create the automatic response, I’m in front the the fridge, I want a glass of water. I always keep a glass next to the fridge, and the fridge has the best drinking water in the house, anyway.
  3. I will record on a daily checklist for the next two weeks my efforts to recreate this neural pathway.
  4. Every day, for the next two weeks, I’ll physically drink water from the fridge every time I find myself standing in front of the fridge.
  5. I will make a reminder in my phone, to also mentally rehearse, ten times a day, standing in front of the fridge and drinking a cup of water.
  6. I will report back to the blog in two weeks on my progress.

Okay. I’ll follow up tomorrow on SO WHAT SATURDAY! Good night!

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