I want to follow up on DAY #300, creating a habit. And I already know what habit I want to create: drinking water. Remember that?

And now, having determined what habit I want to create, Brooke teaches these six steps to creating a neural pathway for that habit:

  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 want to be in the habit of drinking water, whether or not it is on my 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.

Now, some last words of counsel, as I embark on this challenge – to create a new neural pathway:

“I want to leave you with this: You cannot rely on yourself in the future to do what you are planning without using your prefrontal cortex planning mode, in detail.

First, you say to yourself, “I’m going to drink a glass of water every time I am standing in front of the fridge.

Second, you say, “I’m going to walk into the kitchen. I am going to want to go to the fridge – that’s already a neural pathway. Then, once in front of the fridge, I am going to reach my left hand out and find the glass I keep next to the fridge. Instead of opening the fridge, I will fill the glass with water from the door, drink, return my glass to its spot, then leave the kitchen.” Details, right?

Third, you plan on what your (lower brain) is going to say and do in that moment. In that moment, again, your brain will want to be efficient, and your prefrontal cortex will give up very easily. But if you’ve created a non-negotiable situation and anticipated what will happen with your (lower brain), then you will have an answer for what your brain is saying, and you will (grab that glass).

The way that you do this is you think about what will the neural pathways be firing at that moment? “I’m not thirsty. It feels important to look in the fridge.” Anticipate those automatic familiar thoughts.

Then use your highest executive brain functioning to design your life instead of letting your automatic lower brain functioning decide for you in the moment.”
Next DAY #302 HELAMAN 13-16

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